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The Politics of Everything

Nov 16, 2021

I have to admit, I am a sucker for buying merchandise or ‘merch’ as we colloquially say in the land Down Under. Whether it be signed books by authors at their book launch or tea towels from a boutique vineyard on a regional holiday I am handing over that plastic card with joy!

Last year, according to  Intelligence Insider, the pandemic fueled rapid acceleration of online buying in several countries that were somewhat lagging—and some of those will continue to see major expansion in 2021. India, Brazil, Russia, and Argentina are all projected to post at least 26% growth in retail e-commerce sales this year. As in 2020, the Asia-Pacific – where Australia is - and North America will lead the regional rankings for retail e-commerce sales this year. China’s size population means that the Asia-Pacific will account for 60.8% of retail e-commerce sales worldwide in 2021. North America will claim a 20.3% share, and Western Europe 12.6%.

My guest today Gwen Blake has managed branding & design projects for some of Australia's best-known brands. She is an expert in branding and design and has a passion for product sales and entrepreneurism.

Today, she is managing director of award-winning Sydney-based branding and packaging design agency, Boxer & co., and the author of a book on packaging design, Packaging a Punch.

Gwen orchestrated the branding behind dynamic serious journalists turned podcaster duo Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales’ successful podcast Chat 10 Looks 3. If you listen to the podcast, like me, it is peppered with shout-outs to Gwen! She consults with them to develop and manage their merch business. At the time of the Australian Federal Government leadership spill in November 2018, Gwen created a meme of a canvas bag with the words ‘Ban the single-use prime minister’ – that was a big moment for her business. She gained quick and widespread media interest and sold thousands of these bags from a company that she literally started overnight at her kitchen table.

In this podcast, Gwen explains:

  1. In 2018, you were basically an internet sales sensation when I like many bought your ‘Ban the Single Use Prime Minister’ tote bags (and coffee cup) in the wake of former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull being sacked, after many years of a rotating door of leaders. Tell us how you came up with the idea and how it generated you $50K in a short time?
  2. How quickly does an idea need to turn into merchandise ready for sale to be relevant?
  3. Tell us how you came up with the branding for the popular podcast Chat 10 Looks 3?
  4. Is there a ‘secret sauce’ formula to market test before producing items en masse? Share your process!
  5. Take away: What is your final takeaway message for us on The Politics of Merchandise?

To connect with Gwen Blake:

LinkedIn: (13) Gwen Blake | LinkedIn

Website: Homepage - BOXER & CO (