Manly has long been renowned for its surf and fashion labels such as Billabong, Oakley, Tommy Bahama, Ghanda, and other brands.

Now, these clothing labels are also increasingly receiving competition from non-traditional retailers who have built popular local brands and a strong community following.

Manly favourites, Rollers, Butterboy, Lox in a Box, Pocket Pizza and Captain Sip Sops are a few such brands who have made a name for themselves as local fashion retailers.

In fact, it is not uncommon for people to enter these stores, or visit their websites, and purchase apparel but not the primary food or service they are famous for.

While you might not traditionally associate a gourmet croissant, cookie, or pizza with clothing – unless you have been indulging in too many of them and need the next size up – there is a growing global movement of brands using merchandise as a mechanism to connect with their tribes.

Pine Property takes a look at five of the key reasons you should consider merchandise as a strategy in your business.

Keep in mind, that simply printing off a few tees with your logo on them is unlikely to have the desired effect. You require strategy on how your merchandise will deliver on the below points.

Personify Your Brand: While branded merchandise is not a new concept, clothing is increasingly being used by brands as an extension and personification of their values and identity.

Because clothing and its associated styles and designs enable brands to tangibly represent what they stand for, and enable people to experience the brand outside of consuming its product or service,
merchandise is a powerful branding tool.

Connects Customers: As well as being a walking billboard for your business, branded clothing also reinforces the connectedness of your customers by giving them a mutual sense of belonging to a

Working with local artists and designers who also align with your brand values will further reinforce that community connection and “tribe”.

Digital and Content Marketing: Communicating and collaborating with your community around clothing designs and ideas is an excellent way to engage your social audiences.

Branded merch can also provide a steady stream of user generated content from customers wearing your designs, to help feed the insatiable appetite of digital audiences.

Gifting Strategies: Merchandise giveaways can be used as a strategy to engage with local micro-influencers and to stand out among a sea of competition on social or local media.

Additional Revenue Streams: With the right product, designs, and a loyal customer base, it is quite possible to generate a solid revenue stream from merchandise. While it might not pay the bills on its
own, it is likely to more than cover costs.