Every person that has told me “Get a real job” has never been able to visit every single state. Most of them have never even left the country. Yet 100% of them wishes they had a job touring!
We have a job that can be fun and not so fun. it can be easy and hard (like every other job). A job that…
iloveri0t said: Hey ! I really want a job as a merch girl/ roudie, but i don't even know where to start haha. Could help me out please ? :)
Volunteering with a local band!
Anonymous said: How old are you supposed to be to start volunteering at shows such as warped tour? I'm 15 and i've suddenly been very interested in becoming a merch girl. So I might be coming to you a lot. :)
I was 16 when I volunteered the first time. I’d say 16-18 :)
meganmariekraemersuniverse said: Hey! so I was wondering how I could get my foot in the door, like i'm graduating this year and I would like to be a tour manager, but it seems impossible in the area I live in.
Try volunteering at local venues, shows, festivals, or see if there are any labels looking for interns. Work your way up that way! Someone will know someone! :)
jennalarson said: Hey Linda I am currently working merch for a San Diego based band and I was wondering what are your top 10 dos and top 10 donts to being an amazing merch girl? I always bring sharpies for the band to use and make display boards and what not. I'm just always looking for ways to farther myself and ways to a better merch girl. Thank you :)
1. Have a tip jar.
2. Always look approachable. I don’t like going up to a merch table and the merch person looks so miserable… regardless of the people you have to deal with, always have a smile on your face!
3. Wear comfy shoes!
4. Offer credit payments. Paypal and other companies have that cool gadget to put in your phone/ipad. It’ll help the band sell more stuff to those who don’t bring much cash to the show. This is common with most bands.
5. Keep track of inventory.
6. Have picks available. For some reason, this has come in handy in the past. Guitarist is hanging out by you then realizes he’s going up on stage in like 2 minutes realizes he has no pick. Boom you have a stash hidden somewhere. Guitarists now a days should be well prepared though BUT JUST IN CASE!
7. First aid kit. Cause you never know.
8. Keep your sizes in order!!! During your down time it might be tempting to get a cold beer or look through your phone, but check to see if everything is in order. Some people hate just standing there while you’re looking for their size M in the size L bin.
9. Same as #8 just keep everything tidy. Make sure all shirts are displayed correctly with the prices, sizes available, and they’re on the display securely. I love going up to booths that everything is easy to see and easy to ask for.
10. know the band’s schedule. Sometimes fans will ask you a million times if the band is coming to the booth to meet the fans and what not. Just have little info like that in handy.
11. Be creative! The most important thing about being a merchie is that you have to catch the fan’s eye. Most bands rely on merch sales to make it through the tour. Weather it’s a game you came up with to give away something (make sure the bands is ok with this), auction off something, or just anything interactive…fans love it!
1. Leave your merch table for a very long time. If you need to go to the bathroom of course GO. Just make sure a next door merchie looks after your table or a band member does. Or make arrangements for someone in your crew to look over the table if you plan to leave for a while to check out a band side stage. But that beer can wait.
2. Flirt with dudes/girls. As fun as this job is, be professional. You can do this on your break or at the next speed dating event happening at your local coffee shop.
3. Be rude! Awful attitude = NO TIP/NO SALE
4. Tweet about how awful the tour/the opening band/boring/etc is. The business is a small world. Word gets around, and if you’re on a tour for a very long time and you’re talking crap about an opening band or a fellow mate, you never know who they are good friends with and that can ruin your rep or you can be going home early. I’ve seen it happen.
5. Be glued to your phone. Remember that down time I mentioned? You can look like you’re doing something and arrange things. And you can catch a possible sale…while looking down, you’ll miss that person who has been standing in front of the table for 5 minutes.
6. Get drunk on the job. Not all bands/tours are the same. Some tours allow you to have a beer or two in your hand, others don’t. Just don’t get drunk. It’ll look bad.
7. Put too much shit on your display. I hate bands who have a million t-shirts on sale. I get overwhelmed and I just walk away. Like I said before just kept everything neat and tasteful.
8. Leave money out in the open. It’s stupid but you’d be surprised how many rookies just leave a stash out and you’ll get that one stupid kid that will grab it and run with it.
9. Get overwhelmed. There will be that moment that you have a lot of people at your booth. Breathe and just get through it. You’re only one merchie. Do your best!
10. BE NEGATIVE! The more negative you are the more bad things happen. So what you had an off night with sales there’s always the next show and the one after that. You have an awesome job and there are a bunch of people who wish they were in your shoes!!
ssugarvenomm said: Hey Linda! I scored my first tour as a merch girl that will be starting in July, and I had a couple of questions regarding stuff to bring. Since this is my first tour, I have offered to do it for volunteer. They haven't said if they're paying me or not, so in case they don't, how much money should I bring along for a one month tour? (I currently work full time) Also, we will be in a van. What should I bring as far as toiletries/clothing, and also how much, considering it's only 4 weeks?
Sorry for the late response! and I hope tour went well!! It’s always tricky on knowing how much to bring on the road. For a 4 week tour, I usually like to take over 1,000 just to be safe. When you’re on the road you want to do so many cool things with your tour mates. But honestly it all depends on the person and how smart they are with theIr money. Hope you pulled through it and I hope they at least paid for your food/hotels!
Anonymous said: How much do merch people get paid in general, and like how do they get paid? Like do all the money from the merch they sell go straight to them, or is it like only 20% of makings.
Usually a percentage. Or a flat rate per day plus per diem. It all depends on who you’re working for.
captainkarina said: Hey linda soo my boyfriends band is playing a show on the 22nd and they wanted me to be their merch girl and im super excited but is there any tips you could give me?
Put a tip jar out. Know your prices. Be quick and FRIENDLY!
Anonymous said: Hi Linda, I actually got a job as a merch girl with your advice! Turns out a local band was in need of a merch girl (their previous one got a job elsewhere) and since I had a bit of background in marketing they gave me the position. I've never actually been on your though, and I kind of know what to expect. Do you have any advice on what to bring on tour?
First of all, CONGRATS! Secondly sorry for the late response. Third, bring flip flops in case you stop at a truck stop shower. Baby wipes or those wipes for girls are always good to have on days you’re not able to have a hotel room to shower. I’m guessing this is a van tour so bring a pillow if you’ll be doing most of your sleeping in the van! Of course bring the practical stuff you’d usually take when you go away. Tooth brush tooth paste etc etc. CLOSED shoes. You might not only be doing the heavy lifting for merch but you might also help loading in the band’s gear and you won’t want to wear flip flops (unless you want to come home with 9 toes). Try not to bring a huge bag. Space is limited!! Lastly bring some positive attitude on the road. Some days won’t be great and you’ll have to pull through It. Just remember, you’re doing what you love to do and you’re not home reading Tumblr ;)
Anonymous said: Hi! Really interesting blog :) I just started working as a merch girl (first tour going on now). It's a pretty short tour though, so I have to find work this fall as well. There's one band touring in November that I'd like to at least check for the position with. Or rather, their label. But who do I contact? Publicity? Management? European booking? (I'm from Sweden). And how do I not sound stupid haha. Many questions, hope you don't mind! Cheers
Go through management!