James: Today on the show Joanna we are talking about church merch.

Joanna: There's a lot so we could say about merch for church, merchandise stuff to have your churches logos and emblems and stuff on it to represent yourself in the community and to maybe make some money but particularly today we wanted to talk about it really because, James you'd recently tried some stuff out for your company in terms of merch and just wanted to hear what your experience was with that and buying some stuff he go t these hats and stuff and what your thinking around that.

James: So I decided to get some custom hats done even for VMC and I mean I've had some mixed results. I did a couple test runs like you know just one off or two off products to see how it looked like testing the quality before I give them out to people or like longtime members and things like that I didn't want to get something and I realize I just ordered 100 hats that are really not very good quality. So I mean my so far it's been OK. Other than when you get custom work sometimes there can be a long delay depending on where it's made. And I'm not sure where the stuff I got was made but my first test run came within like two weeks I was really impressed. And so then I went ahead and ordered about 15 or 20 more. And that was like eight weeks ago and they haven't shown up yet. It's from the exact same company. So I'm not sure what the delay is. So so far it's been a mixed bag. Now the quality has been great but what I've been seeing is a lot more churches and a lot more companies start to do like branded gear for their church and like nice custom T-shirts and just things like to tell a story or signify an event or even let's say like baptism T-shirts. Right.

Joanna: Yeah definitely use those.

James: And they really pop. I noticed with our church the baptism shirts the "GET DUNKED" at C4 type shirts they look great like especially in the pictures I really kind of brands it and tells the story right away and it's really something for people as a keepsake when they do get baptized at a church they bring something not only spiritually away from it but they bring a t shirt to kind of remind them of it. And I know my wife like I've seen it in our drawers at home when she got baptized a few years ago. We have a "dunked at C4" shirt and it's a great shirt and she actually like it's a keepsake for her it's actually a really great memory to have that shirt.

Joanna: Yeah it's true. I mean we can veer towards with church merch stuff. I think of like the classic story of Jesus like overturning the tables in the temples and being really mad about people taking advantage of people who don't have a lot of money to profit off of them. So we're not talking about that. We're talking about with merchandising like Is there something that can help connect with people inspire people, people who are maybe going through something like baptism or a significant event. Is it something that you want to give to a new person as a guest. We hear we give out as a water bottle with you know the brand of our church on it. And yeah just things that can help connect people to the church actually build community not make somewhere division between people who like not the haves and the have nots. Yeah. And as you say now our shirts they say all in and not only does it help like we in the old days we used to be we would have used choir robes for baptism and like those things are so thick and heavy people would feel like they were drowning in them coming up out of the water like you're just like can barely move and moving to T-shirts meant that, Yeah exactly, People get something to bring away from the day and to keep as a keepsake. It does look great in the photos we take because everyone's wearing the same thing with this big message right now our shirts say "all in" in big letters but we've changed what they say.

James: And I love them for like the volunteers like greeting right, it instead of having a lanyard which someone has to kind of get out close to see oh this is a greeter there's someone who's on.

Joanna: Or a little name tag like at like over your, you know, your chest or something.

James: But what I've seen is people not only our church but wearing you know bright blue bright orange shirts that says "greeting team" or something that's very identifiable when you first especially the new person coming in like this isn't some weird person who's overly anxious he's trying to say hello to is a person who's meant it like greet people and say hi in the morning. And I really clearly identifies that and you don't want to necessarily just go to a store and buy 10 random orange T-shirts like it's good to have something custom printed with your church's logo and some some information on a maybe right like either a slogan or a logo. Things like that.

Joanna: And sometimes you know it's people want to wear this stuff is like a conversation starter when they're out in the world or it's you know the bumper sticker or whatever it may be it's stuff that can people might ask a question about it because like hey what is that phrase "we're all in this together". What does that what does that phrase or where's that come from and then they get to talk about the church that they go to and it's just a touchpoint for people in the community. Oh I'd love to know from you what kind of merch do you create. Do you do any of this are you trying to get your leadership to get on board with maybe taking a risk and doing something new with that. What companies have you had success with maybe you have some things that like you. I'd say we had a terrible experience stay away from this kind of company we'd love to know.