Here on BandAids, we’ll explore ideas, innovations and inspirations in band promotion. Making killer tunes is only half the battle; in order to find and keep fans, you need to think of yourself as (cringe) a brand and put some thought into marketing yourself!
By day, twenty-something Bostonian Erica Truncale manages events at a university, but by night she masquerades as Boston Merch Girl, slinging swag for many local and national acts in clubs all over the city and beyond—and she has become the go-to girl for Boston acts who need a hand with sales at their shows. We hit her up for some insider tips on what works and what doesn’t behind the merch table. Read on!
OS: So how did you become Boston Merch Girl? What exactly is your role?
BMG: I started doing merch when I was asked/offered to do it for some friends’ local bands. My boyfriend had been doing it for a couple of bands, and I took over his role when he took on other responsibilites. It sort of snowballed from there. Other bands alongside our merch would ask if I would do theirs, and I decided this was definitely a niche that no one was filling. My role is to be the support a band needs so they can focus on what they’re really there to do—play music. I arrange/inventory/sell merch, circulate mailing lists, answer fan or venue staff questions…things the musicians shouldn’t have to worry about—they should be focused on their music and gear.
OS: What is it that you do so well that makes all the bands want you?
BMG: I strive to provide a peace of mind, and like to think that’s what has bands reaching out to me again. Merch/fan interactions/mailing lists are really important to bands creating and maintaining relationships with a fan base, but there’s not always time to dedicate to that. I do my best to represent the band during a live show while they’re soundchecking, playing, breaking down—you know, the stuff musicians are supposed to be doing.