Boosting Your Martial Arts School’s Income With Merchandise
By Christopher Caile
If you are running a martial arts school, you can boost your bottom
line by as much as twenty percent by selling merchandise to your students.
If you are currently selling merchandise to your students, there is probably
more that you can do.
If you are a large school with a desk that is staffed, your sales effort
can be coordinated through your staff personnel. Some larger schools
enjoy two, three or even four thousand dollars of extra sales monthly.
If you are small, however, sales might be much more personal – through
you. And of course, your extra income will be more modest.
What you sell, or can sell, of course is often closely bound to the
art you teach and style and/or its organization.
Let’s look at the range of possible sales merchandise.
Merchandise that is directly related to your school, organization and
Uniforms. Some schools standardize them and act as their students’ exclusive
supplier. This is often difficult to enforce or resented by
students, however, and in many schools students are encouraged to
the school, but are not required to do so.
School, organization or association patches – those
for uniforms, or others to be worn on blazers or suit jackets.
Belts or sashes, especially those embroidered with the school or
organization name, logos, characters, symbols or other identifying
School, style or organization syllabuses or manuals.
Protective equipment. Some schools have selected particular equipment
or a brand of equipment for their students. If you do this, it
is easier to promote sales of such products through your school. How
you sell this equipment depends, of course, on when your students
fighting. Even if free fighting is delayed until a specified belt
level, many schools sell the protective equipment progressively. That
selling gloves at a lower level (when, for example, they start
basic two person drills using their hands), foot protectors at another
and other equipment when the students are actually ready to start
their practice fighting. Special discounts may be offered to those
it all up front.
Additional promotional products or services:
Books or videos related to your students’ study. Also,
other books related to martial arts, your art, Zen, history
or your studies.
School or organization buttonhole pins.
Tee shirts, sweat suits, and other clothing bearing school
logos or designs. Special editions can be created to that commemorate
tournaments, special occasions and other events. Some schools
regularly produce these items and students collect them.
Special higher priced jewelry, key chains or insignia pins
that can be reproduced in various metals, including silver and
Bottled water, soft drinks, juices, power bars and snacks.
Special seminars, clinics, training practices, black belt
dinners, and other events. While these activities actually comprise
another area of generating school income, they can be sold and
you or the front desk.
Display And Merchandizing Of Your Product
The more students see and know about what is offered for sale, the more
likely they are to purchase. It’s up to you to let them know what
is available and make it attractive. Be creative. At a minimum, your
product should be promoted through one or more ways. Your merchandise
can be displayed through:
Wall mounts or displays
or even mini-catalogues given to students
e-mails, in school or organization newsletters, and tournament
or special event souvenir programs
These products can also be sold at
special events, seminars, or tournaments
Announcements in class
or after class
by teachers and staff. This especially pertains to tee shirts
and other wearable merchandize.
About the Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com.
He has been a student of the martial arts for over 43 years. He first
started in judo. Then he added karate as a student of Phil Koeppel in
1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and then hitch-hiked
eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama and later in the
US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed Kaicho Tadashi
Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th degree black belt
in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience includes judo, aikido,
diato-ryu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo, boxing and several
Chinese fighting arts including Praying mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow)
and shuai chiao. He is also a student of Zen. A long-term student of
one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, he is a personal
disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen
Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International Chi
Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from
American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled extensively through
South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to Japan and Okinawa
to continue his studies in the martial arts, their history and tradition.
In his professional life he has been a businessman, newspaper journalist,
inventor and entrepreneur.