Merch Collab: What is Merch Collab and how to apply

Amazon really did it! They announced “Merch Collab” just a few hours ago at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas! You might wonder what is it and how to Apply to Merch Collab? I’m super exciting writing to show you more about it.

What is Merch Collab?

On May 22nd, Licensing Expo gathers thousands of brands and attendees from 65+ countries in Las Vegas, including Amazon. Surprisingly, they announced a new platform for brands and other businesses to work together, called “Merch Collab”. “Merch Collab” is a program which allows you to access and incorporate certain 3rd-party content from well-known brands and celebrities. You can use those contents to put in your designs and submit it to Amazon.

Currently, this program only works with Merch by Amazon (MBA). However, Amazon said they are “exploring other categories”. So at this time, we need to stick with MBA first. To be exact, Merch Collab is available for T-shirts, Hoodies and Sweatshirts.

In short:

  • Brands/Celebrities can apply on Merch Collab to allow others to use some of their contents
  • Designers can apply and get approved to use those allowed contents to create designs.
  • Manufacturers are currently not available for Merch by Amazon. But you still can apply for it and wait for Amazon to expand to your categories.
How Merch Collab Works

Applications of both Designers and Brands

Brands setup Dos and Don’t, upload their contents

Designers use those contents to design and submit to Brands

Brands review submissions and promote merchandises

Get Royalties from sales for Both sides

This program connects brands and pre-approved designers and manufacturers together. Designers now can touch on brands’ products and merchandise. Via that, both brands and designers can receive royalties from their merchandises sales.

At this time, Amazon is opening to accept applications from Brands, Designers and Manufacturers. You can apply it now right here:

According to Merch Collab landing pages: “We are interested in all brand types, including major entertainment brands, musicians, consumer products, and social influencers. Note that social influencers must have a minimum of 100,000 followers.”

Currently, there are some brands/influencers are working with Merch Collab. Those are Neil deGrasse TysonShane DawsonAnnoying OrangeRick and Morty, and Impractical Jokers.

Trademark and Copyright

The truth is, Amazon owns ALL of the Merch Collab designs, even the contents come from other brands. But, Brands can ask Amazon to purchase the design completely for a fee. I’ve heard the fee could be between $5,000 to $100,000.

Traditionally with Merch by Amazon, designers upload their designs to the platform and promote them to get sales. Nonetheless, you cannot use any 3rd-party intellectual properties in your design, that violated Trademark and Copyright policies. As a Merch seller, I know there are a lot of ideas cannot be turned into designs because of Trademark barrier. This holdback the potential of every designer in Merch by Amazon.

In general, designers have to contact the owner to receive a license or otherwise received permission to use 3rd-party intellectual properties. You can check out the FAQ section here about it. This seems to be impossible for small businesses or designers to contact such huge brands or celebrities.

Well no more, Merch Collab is here to save the day. This is an innovated step to help designers to create branded contents at ease. 

Royalties and Pricing

Merch Collab will have different royalties from Merch by Amazon:

merch collab royalties

The total royalties will be divided for both Brands and Designers. Brands take two-third and Designers take one-third.

You can apply for Merch Collab right now. Besides, remember you have to use the same email address as Merch by Amazon and Amazon Seller Central. However, many people reported minor issues and bugs. In fact, you could have the error with email verification. It said your Merch By Amazon and Amazon Seller Central emails don’t match (even if they do). You’ll have try again later then. When the emails match, you can complete your application.

Joining Merch Collab takes no fees, you’re free to join, but Seller Central does. Seller Central account has 2 packages, Professional ($40/month) and Individual ($0.99/sale). Both the packages have additional fees. Anyway, you will need a Seller Central account to control everything. This includes: review and approve designs, set up brand and manage storefront, run ads on Amazon and list your own products for sale. At last, it’s Amazon that controls the final price of the merchandises. The royalties are based on that final sale price.

Final Words on Merch Collab

Merch Collab opens a new opportunity for designers to touch on rich branded content materials that they always dreamt of. Brands can upload their contents and define the usage policies. Meanwhile, pre-approved Designers can use those to create their designs and submit it via Merch Collab. Both Designers and Brands will receive royalties.

At this stage, Merch Collab is only available for Merch by Amazon T-shirts, Hoodies and Sweatshirts. Amazon plans to expand this at a later time. Currently, they are accepting applications. you can apply now here.

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