- Prominent YouTube merchandise company Mad Merch is changing strategy and cutting some influential customers.
- Mad Merch has worked with top influencers like James Charles, Liza Koshy and Emma Chamberlain to develop branded merchandise like t-shirts and other accessories.
- Business Insider spoke with Faizan Bakali, president and COO of Mad Merch’s parent company, Mad Engine, who confirmed the shift in strategy.
- In an emailed statement to Business Insider, Bakali said, “Mad Merch has decided to pivot and focus its attention on working with select mega-influencers on distinctive apparel and accessory collections for sale activations. retail in store.”
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Prominent YouTube merchandise company Mad Merch is changing strategy and cutting some influential customers.
Mad Merch has endeavored to develop branded merchandise – such as t-shirts, phone cases and plush toys – for top YouTube influencers such as James Charles, Liza Koshy and Emma Chamberlain.
The company won’t be renewing some of its influencer deals, according to Faizan Bakali, president and chief operating officer of Mad Merch’s parent company, Mad Engine. It will focus on working with “mega” influencers on retail lines, rather than selling products directly to consumers. Bakali declined to comment on which clients he would keep on his list.
Mad Engine is a leading provider of licensed apparel, and its licensing roster includes brands such as Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Disney. Mad Engine products appear at major retailers in the United States and Canada, such as Walmart, Target, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales.
“With massive interest from major retailers (globally) to work with the influencer community, Mad Merch decided to pivot and focus their attention on working with select mega-influencers on apparel and accessories collections. distinctive for in-store retail activations,” Bakali said. in an emailed statement. “With our experience, infrastructure and the incredible relationships we have built over the years, we hope to serve as a gateway connecting the influencer community with major retailers. We are excited about our new direction and look forward to bringing fans unforgettable experiences.”
In the past, Mad Merch has had success selling influencer products at stores like Target for clients like Chamberlain and JoJo Siwa, Bakali said — and the new direction and initiatives will continue under the Mad Merch banner.
“We are devoting even more resources (dollars and people) to our new initiative and direction,” Bakali said. “We still have our DTC infrastructure intact and have not made any final decisions to completely eliminate this opportunity.”
Mad Merch is home to Charles’ clothing and accessories line, Sisters Apparel, according to the Sisters Apparel contact page, which directs customer service questions to “[email protected]”
Sisters Apparel was previously distributed by Killer Merch (co-owned by prominent YouTube beauty influencer Jeffree Star), but after the beauty guru’s explosion last May (between Tati Westbrook, Star and Charles), the website of Sisters Apparel went offline. Two months later, Sisters Apparel relaunched with the Mad Merch-linked site.
It’s unclear if Charles’ brand will continue production with Mad Merch.
Some of Mad Merch’s current influencer clients will seek to produce their merchandise with other sellers, or stop production, according to two sources familiar with Mad Merch’s shift in strategy.
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