I’m currently putting together a master list of over 1000 profitable niche and micro-niche ideas for t-shirts and other merch style products. It’s going to take some time to do, so in the meantime, I’m going to share what is probably the most profitable niche for 2020 merch.
It’s a pretty obvious one, but I’m sure some of you haven’t been thinking about it or dismissed it thinking the market is overcrowded. There are ways that you can differentiate yourself and make a boatload of money this year.
The niche is politics. Now hear me out.
Best POD Niche for 2020!
If you use any merch research tool, you’ll see that some of the top-selling shirts are either related to reelecting Trump or voting for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. The same thing happened in 2016 with shirts selling non-stop for Hilary and Trump.
Take a look at what is up there right now. There are funny shirts. There are angry shirts. There are just basic “vote for Trump” or “Biden 2020” tee shirts. Hell, I’m still selling some Bernie Sanders 2020 shirts and he dropped out months ago!
For the most part, whatever you put on Merch by Amazon or an Amazon Merch alternative site related to the election, it will likely just sell this year. You’d seriously be surprised about what keeps selling after the election is over though. One of my most consistent selling designs right now is something I created around the last election.
Ideas for Selling Shirts during the 2020 Election
The big event is obviously Donald Trump vs Joe Biden for the presidency. Everyone is going after a piece of that prize, but think about how many local elections there are from Congressional seats to State and local elections.
You’ll probably have the best chances in elections that are important to voters this year for one reason or another. For example, Democrats are going to become adamant about voting for
Charles Booker or Amy McGrath^ to beat Mitch McConnell.
Let’s just say, in 2018 I made some embarrassingly low quality designs for Beto O’Rourke and it made me over $200. There are so many other candidates out there from both parties you can tap into.
At the time of this writing, Booker and McGrath were basically tied, and I’ll likely forget to update this after the primary votes are done being counted. McGrath won the primary
Anti-Trump or Anti-Biden
Sure, you can do TRUMP 2020 or BIDEN 2020, but I noticed in the last election a lot of the designs selling were throwing shade at one side or the other. How many anti-Hilary Clinton or anti-Trump shirts have you seen. There are still plenty of them on Amazon and other sites like Redbubble if you want to take a look.
Political Memes on Reddit
Sadly, a lot of the news I get is from this subreddit. There are some really funny people on there posting some hysterical memes. I’m not saying you should steal the ideas, but you’ll get a sense of what people are finding funny and trend-worthy. For example, a couple years ago I saw a lot of Trump vs Windmill memes popping up, so I made a couple of designs and they sold.
The majority of the memes on that page are definitely left-leaning. The closest thing to a right-wing version of that subreddit that I know of got “quarantined” for being too aggressive in the comments.
Trending on Twitter
Jump on Twitter and go to the trending pages. It’s constantly changing, because, it’s trending. So make sure to check it at least a couple of times a day.
You’ll see what the masses are tweeting about so you get an idea of what people are raving about heading into the election. There are also some witty hashtags that you can turn into a t-shirt design idea.
Make sure you’re following Donald Trump’s Twitter account too.
Catch-Phrase a Quote
I feel like Trump fans are going to get more of these than anyone else. President loves making up catch-phrases, whether on purpose or on accident. Keep an eye/ear out for anything a candidate says over the next few months that can become a term or phrase for their followers.
There can be a lot of angles to come at this with. Trump will say things like “Sleepy Joe” or “Grab them by the P….” and then you had Hilary in 2016 call Trump’s followers deplorables. I’m sure “Build the Wall” is going to catch some fire again over the next few months.
Biden will eventually drop something to quote. The debates will likely become a goldmine for anyone quick enough to make designs based off things Trump and Biden say at them.
Have a little fun with this one. There are obviously people that don’t like any candidate who would prefer to vote for a bottle of sour milk. We’ve all seen the Asteroid 2020 bumper sticker. Try and come up with some other ideas for fake “candidates” running for election. Beethoven/Mozart 2020. Putin for President. Buddha/Jesus 2020. You get the idea.
Be careful with this one though. Don’t use any real people’s names that aren’t actually running for something and don’t use any trademarked names. You’ll immediately get in trouble for Mickey Mouse 2020 shirts.
Just about as likely to win the election as one of those silly alternative ideas…third party candidates. The two most popular alternatives to Republicans and Democrats are the Green Party and Libertarians. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson both got some love in the last election. Obviously not enough to make a real dent in the race, but enough to sell some shirts.
This year Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party, presidential nominee. I’m writing this post at the end of June, and the Green Party won’t be announcing their candidate until sometime in July. If I forget to update this, you can find the Green Party nominee here.
Spoof a Campaign Slogan*
Make America Great Again was almost too easy to profit off of last election…and every day since. Make America Funny Again. Make America Smart Again. Make Florida Great Again. And so on.
As of this writing, Trump and Biden still haven’t chosen their official mottos/slogans for the 2020 election campaigns. If they still haven’t by the time you read this, MAGA type spoofs are still selling.
Think of Niche Groups and Demographics*
You can get a lot of different designs out of this idea. It’s going to be incredibly niche specific, which means you won’t have a lot of competition when you use some keywords. Take a group, hobbyist, race/ethnicity, occupation, etc. and plug it in. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- “Niche” for Trump/Biden
- Proud “niche” Democrat/Republican/Liberal/Conservative
- “Niche” Don’t Vote Blue/Red
- Third Party Votin’ “Niche”
Focus on Issues*
Well, the world seems to be on fire right now. Everyone is passionate about something whether it is Black Lives Matter, voter suppression, the 2nd amendment, immigration, health care, facemasks, and so much more. There are pro and anti sides to each of these issues.
Keep up to date one what seems to be a hot topic in this election to different people. You can also combine this with the niche groups. Think of Lunch Ladies for Border Control, Green New Deal Grandma, or Cashiers for Higher Minimum Wage.
Don’t Forget International
There are actually two parts to the international idea.
The first though is that for some reason, American politics still sell internationally. I’ve sold pro and anti Trump shirts on the Amazon Merch UK and German platform. Redbubble and Spreadshirt have made sales for a lot of my Bernie Sanders shirts, before and after he dropped out.
The second part is, the world is much bigger than America. There are other nations with their own elections happening. Merch and other POD platforms are open to most of Europe. America is full of immigrants who still want to support their home countries. There is plenty of space for you to hop onto an international election as well.
*Scale the Designs Like Crazy
All of the headings that I starred above can be scaled to make you hundreds or thousands of new designs in just a few days. I like to have an Adobe Illustrator or Canva template set up to easily just plug in new niches for different slogans or other shirt ideas mentioned above.
Let’s say you’re making your own version of MAGA. Create a nice Make America Great Again design to use as a template. Then just start spinning in words to use instead of “Great” until you’ve run out of ideas.
What to Avoid Creating
Check out the Amazon Merch content policies on their terms of service page. You should obviously be following these rules at all times, but below are a few that are easy to forget about or end up in a gray area for when making political shirts.
MAGA or Other Trademarks/Copyrights
I learned this one the hard way by mass-uploading a bunch of MAGA spoof shirts. My designs didn’t say MAGA or Make America Great Again, but my description did. Oops.
Campaign slogans are almost always trademarked, so tread lightly with that front.
There has been, and unfortunately, I think likely will be more tragedies over the next few months. Just don’t try and profit off of it. It is gross and also against the Merch rules.
There is definitely a lot of grey area here. My thought process is always to avoid anything that will be aggressive towards anyone. There are plenty of hateful designs on these sites, but morally I try to avoid adding to that. I also feel like you run the risk of getting caught up in any rule changes these platforms make later down the line. There already are rules against profanity and against promotion of hate or intolerance, but I recommend just staying away from that as much as possible.
I just spent an entire Saturday, the first Saturday not quarantined from COVID, writing this article hoping to help some people in the print on demand/online side business game try to figure out how to make more money.
I’ll never ask my readers for money, but if you haven’t yet signed up for any of the Merch resources below and plan to, please do so through my links where I’ll get either an affiliate commission or some other form of payment (ie free Etsy listings) from you signing up.
- Sign up for Printify
- Sign up for Printful
- Sign up for Etsy Sellers – Get your first 20 listings up for free
- Sign up for Orbitkit – Upload all of your merch designs to multiple POD sites all at once
- Sign up for Merch Informer – probably the best print on demand/Amazon Merch research tool available (Use coupon code 2NDSCREENS to save 20%)
Please feel free to start a discussion or ask some questions in the comments below. I’d be happy to elaborate on anything you might need more information on and would love any tips I might have missed.