I recently had the chance to review the Local Merch Course. It’s a relatively brief digital course that features an innovative idea.
The Local Merch Course is based on a simple concept. You basically pitch the idea of doing a t-shirt campaign to local businesses to help bring in customers. In return, the business compensates you with a one-time payment and royalties on sold t-shirts.
Of course, there’s more to it than just that. I’ll go into detail soon without giving too much away. I must admit that of all the ideas I’ve seen recently, this one is the most novel. It really piqued my interest, which is why I took the course.
The course’s creator, Mike Gual, claims to have made over a quarter million dollars selling to a single tire company using his Local Merch system. While he doesn’t elaborate further on the deal in the course, if he’s telling the truth, it shows how powerful this business model can be.
Who Are Mike Gual and Dave Espino?
Mike Gual spent 25 years in the window cleaning industry. He then discovered the power of Amazon and grew a successful business on it. Soon after he began using merch locally and created his powerful model in 2016.
In 2018, he felt confident enough to create a course to teach others how to copy his success.
Dave Espino is an online marketer and entrepreneur who has over 50 Udemy courses to his name. Dave also created a successful ebay course called “The Complete ebay Course”. It has sold over 300,000 times.
Additionally, Dave has written over a half-dozen books, which currently sell on Amazon.
What Is The Local Amazon Merch Model?
Although it’s a simple concept, it’s a little convoluted to lay out in text. I think if I put the concept into bullet form, it will be better and easier to understand. Here it goes.
- You email, call, or stop in to local businesses to pitch them on creating a weekly or monthly t-shirt marketing campaign.
- Once the business agrees, you basically create a t-shirt on Amazon merch with the logo of the business.
- The business then promotes the t-shirt (with their money) and provides the Amazon merch link to their customers.
- When the customers purchase the shirt, the business makes a profit on the shirt and you collect a royalty for every sale.
- The promotion by the business is basically to get the customer to wear the shirt and increase sales to the store. This is done by providing a discount or incentive to the customer for wearing the shirt to the business on a certain day – like a Tuesday.
- The shirt, therefore, acts as a coupon, providing a discount to the customer while serving as free promotion to the business. Both parties are happy and it’s a win-win for everyone (the business, the customer, and you).
The Course Contents
The course is broken into 37 lessons, 27 of which are video. All the videos feature Mike and are brief and to the point. Most of the videos range in length from a minute to three minutes.
The remaining 10 lessons are PDF files and text files that provide valuable information, such as which businesses to approach, what to bring to the sales call, examples of the promotion, etc.
Who This Course Is For
I believe any common sense adult can excel with the course. Mike has made it so simple and pragmatic that a high school student could do it. No special skills, talents, or training is required.
If you don’t have a budget to start a business, this one is perfect, as there are virtually no startup costs. There’s also not much to learn, which makes for a very fast learning curve. I like this a lot.
Even if you’re an introvert and don’t like talking with people, you can be successful with the Local Merch Course. If you’re concerned with making sales and putting yourself out there, you can hire a sales rep on commission and have him or her sell for you.
If you work a full-time job and want to make supplemental income, you can still be successful with Mike’s business model. You just work at your own convenience and contact businesses when you have free time.
Does This Business Model Really Work?
While I have yet to try it myself, I can see how businesses would be open to it. Mike claims to make over six figures a year using his system.
This is because businesses are always looking to attract more customers. For the small cost they pay you, the business has low risk and a high upside.
Most of these businesses are paying thousands of dollars per month on throwaway mailers anyway. My thinking is, why wouldn’t they pay a one-time fee of a few hundred dollars for a new and innovative marketing concept?
In fact, Mike said one salon he signed up was doing so well with the promotion, they couldn’t keep up all the new business. While this is not a typical example, Mike claims he helps generate a lot of new business for most of his clients.
For me personally, the jury is still out. I’m rather skeptical until I see proof or try it myself. If I do it, I’ll throw an update into this section letting you know my results.
What Is The Local Merch System’s Competitive Advantage?
The main advantage of Mike’s system is having no competition. Because the idea is so new and involves out-of-the-box thinking, nobody in your area is likely doing or offering it.
I like this part because having something unique to offer clients is a huge plus. Additionally, Mike’s system will help generate revenue for the business month-after-month.
From the business owner’s perspective, it’s a small one-time payment and a great idea. But the potential royalties on the shirts is the unknown. I said “potential” because some businesses will be fine with giving you royalties and others not.
This idea really couldn’t have been done until Amazon Merch came along. However, now with other sites like T-Spring and Printful, an Amazon Merch account is not needed or required to get started.
When Mike started in 2016, Amazon was one of the few companies offering this service. If you had an Amazon Merch account, you could offer to use your Amazon Merch account to create the shirts. Otherwise, there were no better options.
However, that’s no longer a selling point with all the other print-on-demand shirts out there. I think one of the keys to success with this business is getting the royalties from sold t-shirts. However, it seems less likely now than when Mike started in 2016.
What I Like About This Course
This is a user-friendly course that couldn’t be simpler. The videos are brief and the information in the PDF files are straight-forward.
Mike and Dave have a very simple speaking style. There’s no technical jargon or high-flown words used.
Mike doesn’t fashion himself a “course creator”. He appears to be a blue-collar guy talking in a very colloquial way about how to implement his idea.
The videos are all of Mike sitting in a chair with no special effects or bells and whistles. I’m sure you can go through all the videos and information in under two hours and understand most of it on the first pass.
I had to go back and watch some of the videos twice, as I originally didn’t understand the idea fully.
The main things I like about this course are its simplicity and brevity. I also like the concept a lot because it seems like something business owners would pay for – plus the idea is rather unique.
About a year ago, I took two other social media marketing online courses (by Tai Lopez and Ryan Hildreth). Those courses suggest charging businesses at least $1000 per month to run their social media marketing campaigns.
However, I found it extremely difficult to even get clients to sit down with me. Few businesses want to sign a contract for $1000 per month (or more) with an unproven small company like I had.
But the Local Merch system sounds much more reasonable. The business owner only pays a one-time fee of a few hundred dollars, which is a lot less risky. You can also show a proof of concept in the way of other t-shirts you created for past clients.
However, if you’re completely brand new, you can talk about Mike’s success. Or, you can offer to do your first several businesses free of charge and then use them as proof of success.
I also like that it requires very little work on your end once you sign up the client. You basically just make the t-shirt, place it on Amazon merch and then email the link to the client.
From that point, all you need do is pay the business their share of sold t-shirts every month. That is if it’s under your Amazon Merch account. If not, then there’s nothing else that needs to be done except find new clients.
What I Don’t Like About The Course
While there are a lot of things I like about the Local Merch Course, there are also things I don’t like. I will preface by saying these drawbacks are not enough to stop me from trying Mike’s idea, but I have some reservations.
First is the problem of finding clients willing to talk with you. Mike offers very vague suggestions on how to do this. He says just walk into the business and start talking with them.
If you don’t have time to walk in, you can email them. Mike has a 10-minute video on email prospecting that is pretty good. But I am always dubious of cold emails.
Again, if you are not good at sales, you may be able to find a salesperson who can do the selling for you. But, of course, you would need to pay a commission to that salesperson.
I liked the brevity and simplicity of the course, but I felt like Mike left out too many details. He should have included more information in each video. I believe this is information you will figure out once you start selling to businesses.
When I first stumbled upon the course, I watched the first 10 videos and still didn’t understand the concept fully. I don’t believe Mike makes it completely clear at the outset, which he should have done in the very first video.
It took me watching the videos twice to understand the whole concept. I’ve told it to you here in this review, so if you purchase the course, you’ll be way ahead of me.
Regarding Mike’s idea, I don’t like that businesses could take it upon themselves to do it. There’s nothing stopping them from using and implementing the idea.
With social media marketing services, it’s different. It takes a lot of work and specialized knowledge. But Mike’s idea is not difficult for anyone to execute, it’s just a great idea.
I don’t like that the merch idea can be done by the business rather simply, now that there are a lot of print-on-demand shirt companies out there. If the business owner is not tech savvy or doesn’t want to be bothered with creating a shirt, then I can see them paying you a few hundred dollars.
But really, this is just an idea with a simple service being offered. There’s nothing stopping the business from implementing the idea without you. I dislike this part of Mike’s idea the most. If only there was some way of patenting it!
The other thing I’m dubious about is collecting royalties. Mike says some companies allow you to take royalties and others don’t.
I’m not sure why any company would allow it when they can simply create their own free account on T-Spring and sell the shirts from there. For me, the royalties are really where the money is.
You might collect a few hundred dollars from a business for the idea. But the royalties on shirts sold over months and years really makes it worth it (at least for me).
With a new print-on-demand t-shirt company popping up all the time, it makes it even easier for the business to source the shirts and sell them on their own platform of choice.
Why Should I Buy The Local Merch Course?
You should buy this course if you are looking to start a business quickly with no money down (except for the price of the course). I believe anyone who has a brain and common sense can go through the course in a couple of hours.
You could literally take in all the materials in the morning and start selling in the afternoon. If you’re a good talker and feel confident chatting it up with people, then you’re perfect for this business.
Even if you have little technical knowledge with computers, you can do this business. If making a simple t-shirt scares you, there’s always Fiverr, where you can pay $10 to a freelancer to make the shirt for you.
Really, you can outsource nearly the entire business if you want. Hire a salesperson and outsource the t-shirt designs on Fiverr. Then all you would need to do is the billing, accounting, and a few administrative tasks, which can be done from anywhere.
For the price of the course, it’s a low investment to learn a proven and innovative system. In terms of online courses, the price of Mike’s course is relatively low – especially compared to those by Tai Lopez and Sam Ovens.
If you’ve been thinking of starting a profitable business with no money, I can’t think of a better one. And if you can collect royalties for all the t-shirts sold, then you’ll be collecting hundreds of dollars in passive income every month – maybe even more than a thousand if you keep at it.
If you wish to purchase the course, you can from here LINK. If you have any questions about the Local Merch Course, feel free to ask in the comment section below.