5 Elements of a Successful Clothing Merchandise Program

“What makes a successful Camp clothing & merchandise program,” you ask?

Well, thanks for asking. No, really! Thanks.

A lot of people assume they know what makes a good clothing program but they miss a few key elements.


First off, think about who are you selling the clothing to.A lot of camps tend to skip this step and go right to the clothing’s colour or price but you want to make sure you are offering a clothing and merchandise program that is geared to the right audience.

Defining your Audience

Things like the camper age, sex, and style, should all factor into what you are going to offer.Key Questions to Ask:

  • Are your campers more into skater style clothing like Billabong or Element or are they wearing more basic clothing like things found at GAP or American Eagle?

  • Are you offering pieces that both sexes would want to buy?

  • Do you have things for sale at various price points?

If the campers feel catered to then they will be more likely to check out what you’ve got for sale.


Design plays a big role in the success of camp clothing and merchandise program.

Are the designs that were created for your camp clothing original and created just for your camp or is there a chance that you’ll see the same design on a different camp’s clothing (the latter happens more than you’d like to know!)?

Insider Tip: Make sure you are getting unique designs for only your camp and the value of your clothing will increase.

If you don’t know what style your campers are going to like, ask them. Or recruit a few staff and campers to help pick the designs.

Purchaser Buy-In

If you do the purchasing for your camp, answer the following questions. (If you don't, get the person who does the buying to answer them.)

  1. Do you like camp clothing?

  2. Do you enjoy the process of picking out what items to sell each year, deciding on what designs to use, and choosing style elements like colour?

If you or your purchaser answered "no" to either of these questions, your campers can probably tell. And, um, not in a good way.

If your purchaser doesn't like your camp clothing or dreads going through the ordering process every year then someone else should be doing the ordering.

Involve someone who has a passion for camp clothing, design, and style and let them help. Your bottom line will be the better for it.


Make sure your campers have a way of seeing the clothing and merchandise and they will buy more from you.

We talk to at least a few camps each year that don’t understand why their campers don’t buy their camp clothing and when we get into the conversation, it turns out that they don’t have a tuck shop at camp, the clothing isn't on display, or they don’t show the parents what the clothing looks like in the registration materials.

Even if you don’t have a tuck shop at camp, display your clothing and merchandise somewhere on-site so the campers can see it.

Even better, get us to help you put together a flyer showing all of your camp clothing so you can send it out before camp season.

EVEN BETTER YET, let us open an on-line store for you so your campers can buy their camp clothing all year round.

Was that there last year?

If your camper clothing isn't unique each year, you are missing a large opportunity.

Make sure you are changing things up every year to create additional demand for your gear. If you did a zip-up last year try doing a pullover this year. If you did a baseball t-shirt last year then try a long-sleeve t-shirt this year.

Offering the same thing year after year means there is no reason for return campers to have the newest pieces (because they aren't new.)

There are a LOT of things to consider when creating a successful clothing and merchandise program for your camp (or school or business). You put a lot of thought into your marketing each year and your custom clothing should be no different.

A successful camp clothing and merchandise program means hundreds of walking endorsements for your camp in your city and beyond.

CampRightsleeve is the youth-focused division of Right Sleeve Marketing Inc. We are experts at helping camps and schools establish emotional connections to their brands through clothing & merchandise programs.