Garrison and Base Merchandise
Any active member can create garrison or base merchandise as long as you follow the proper procedure and get the required approvals for your design.
Guide for Creating Garrison and Base Merchandise
This guide is meant to help you create SWAG for our garrison and base. Please follow these steps and suggestions.
Not everyone is cut out to run a merchandise project. It takes time (and lots of it), excellent communication skills, patience, good organization skills, operating capital and most importantly – permission!
Rule #1 – Items must be sold at cost. You are not allowed to mark up products. This is a LucasFilm rule. The exception to this rule is if the item(s) are being sold/auctioned for charity and have been formally approved as such by the legion MBO.
Rule #2 – Items can ONLY be sold to active 501st and Rebel Legion members. This is a LucasFilm rule.
Rule #3 – Small cost items must be archived. For items that cost less than $25, samples must be set aside and sent to Albin Johnson (for 501st items) and the RL Archives (for RL items). You can also send items to Steve Sansweet.
Rule #4 – You cannot charge for your time, gas, or other miscellaneous costs. You are doing this project to help your garrison or legion mates at your own cost.
Rule #5 – If there is a cash surplus once the project/run is over, it must be turned over to the admin team.
Pitching, Making, and Selling Merchandise
Have an idea? Talk to your fellow members and see how many people actually want the item? You should know the approximate cost before seeking input and it has been done before.
Talk with the garrison/base MBO. Pitch your idea and get approval to move forward.
If you’re not making the item yourself, you need to get competitive bids from vendors. We want to pay a fair price for merchandise. Work out all the details from the artwork to product options (if applicable).
Once you know the exact manufacturing cost, the timeline and all the details of who/when/where/how. talk with the MBO again and seek final approval to officially start the project. Final approval may take several days as projects need to be approved at the Legion level as well. Never sign a contract with a vendor. Talk with the MBO first! Make sure to establish quality expectations with the vendor. If there’s a problem, we don’t want to be stuck with bad merchandise.
If you don’t want to run the project, ask the MBO for assistance. You may have a great idea but not the time to make it happen. It’s okay to kick off a project and then hand it off for execution/completion.
Communicate, communicate, communicate! Let the membership know what’s happening and when they should expect delivery etc. Post on the forum and/or send emails/PM’s.
Once the product arrives, ensure it meets your expectation. If it doesn’t, talk with the MBO and get assistance. Work with the vendor and always be polite!
Keep a record of how much money was collected, what fees were paid and know the total cost of doing the project. You may end up on the positive, or negative, side and good records will help you know if you made or lost money. This will help with future runs so the price can be adjusted.
Shipping may not be an issue for garrison/base-only merchandise, but if you’re doing a Legion-wide project, you’ll need to ship the product. There are many ways to price shipping, but remember that it must be fair and properly priced. Work with the MBO to set up a fair pricing model.
Please note that the guidelines do not include the MBO running all projects. The MBO and CO MUST be included in all projects, but it is expected those who are motivated will run the project.
These FAQs are based on what’s published on the 501st Forum, which you should reference for the latest information and any clarifications for 501st merchandise. Rebel Legion merchandise rules are covered in their charter (http://www.rebellegion.com/legion-charter/#10) and on their forum.
What Qualifies as Official Merchandise?
Any material item made with the 501st/Rebel Legion **OR** a sub group’s name, partial name, logo, partial logo, URL, or official event name. A sub group is a garrison, base, squad, squadron, outpost, or detachment. (Note that Star Wars Oregon is NOT an official sub group.)
I emphasize the sub group aspect because there is a misconception that only Legion-level material is 501st/RL merchandise. That is wrong. A garrison item is a 501st item. A base item is a Rebel Legion item. Same for other sub groups.
Can We Sell a 501st Item For More Than Cost?
Per LucasFilm, no. Their rule is that all merchandise is to be sold at cost, with nothing added to the price for other purposes. Period. They do not give any exceptions for this rule, so adding extra money to an item to raise money for charity or for a group expense (event table, web site, flyers, etc.) is NOT PERMITTED per LucasFilm. “Cost” is defined as all the costs associated with a production run, including the price of an item, packing material, shipping, and transaction fees. Adding extra money to the price of an item so that extra items in that run can be made for promotional purposes is okay, as that’s considered part of the project cost. So if you want to print extra t-shirts to give to honorary members or for contest prizes, that’s fine. “Time” is not considered part of the cost of an item. I’ve had people assume that their “time” can be compensated when they do a run. That is wrong. A person who handles a run is donating their time to the Legion.
Merchandise can be used in conjunction with a fundraising effort, however. We stay within LucasFilm’s rules by associating an optional donation alongside a merchandise purchase. People can still buy the item without making a donation (that’s what “optional” means). But most people will chip in a few bucks extra to help with the effort. The amount of the donation can be any amount, at the donor’s discretion.
Who Can Buy 501st and RL Merchandise?
Again, per LucasFilm, only active 501st and RL members are allowed to buy 501st and RL merchandise. That means friends, family, handlers, trading partners, groupies, or any other person who does not have an active 501st ID# or active Rebel Legion costume are NOT permitted to buy merchandise. Sorry…LucasFilm rules. You can give 501st/RL merchandise away to the public, though.
Please note: Trading is considered selling. It’s the same thing. Whether you get money or a material item in exchange for the item, it’s all the same.
Who Can Produce 501st/RL Merchandise?
Any Legion member in good standing can do a run. Sub groups may have certain rules and procedures for this, so please abide by those rules.
Who Must Approve an Item?
Legion (non-sub group) items must be approved by the Legion MBO. Sub group items must be approved by the sub group leader, then the Legion MBO. Squads must have their garrison/base COs approve the item. Too often I’ve had squads try to skirt around their CO, and this is not permitted. Get CO approval first, then go to the Legion MBO. To contact the 501st Legion MBOs, use the new approval form. I’ve created a merchandise approval and forum posting form to help with managing merchandise approvals and archiving what we’re doing. You can check out the form at the link below:
501st Approval Form: http://www.501st.com/merchandise
Site Password: (contact the garrison MBO, CO, or XO for the password)
Rebel Legion Approval Form: http://rlmerch.yolasite.com/request.php
ANY active member can create, lead, and manage a merchandise run. This is not an exclusive task for the MBO.
Can a 501st/RL Group Make a Non-501st/RL Item?
No. The Legions have LucasFilm approval to make Legion merchandise. The Legions do not have approval to make non-Legion items, be it merchandise, armor, or anything else. Such items would be considered bootleg material and in violation of LucasFilm’s copyright. As an organization, we want to stay away from such activity. If an individual makes a non-Legion item, that’s their business. But the Legion should not be creating non-Legion items for any reason, including charity purposes.
What Must Be Included On Merchandise?
In addition to the sub group name or event, 501st items should at least include “501st” on it, preferably “501st Legion”. Rebel Legion items should include “Rebel Legion”. If the medium permits, the LucasFilm copyright should be included as well. The copyright isn’t necessary on patches or coins due to medium limitations. It should work fine on t-shirts, though. The full copyright is “© 2018 & TM LucasFilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.”
Can Images from LucasFilm Books or Screen Captures Be Used in Merchandise?
LucasFilm has specifically asked that the material we make be original creations. This means we should not use photographs from LucasFilm sources in our material. However, if an image is heavily altered and/or manipulated so that it significantly appears different from the source material, this can be allowed in most cases. Less than obvious images, though, such as background photos for trading cards, are generally allowed.
Personal patches or unofficial groups are considered non-legion items and therefore should not include the 501st, RL, or a sub group name. ID#s are allowed, though. An unofficial group would be any member-created group that isn’t an officially recognized garrison, base, squad, squadron, outpost, or detachment. As unofficial merchandise, these items are technically made without LucasFilm authorization.
Reselling and Trading Legion, Base, or Garrison Merchandise
After you acquire an official merchandise item, you may decide to later sell or trade it.
- Trades with active legion members can be made at a 1 for 1 ratio only. Rarity of an item cannot be considered. For example, you cannot trade 1 rare patch for 2 more common patches.
- Items can be resold to active legion members at their original price. Generally, any shipping charges that were incurred to acquire an item cannot be passed on to the next buyer; shipping charges are something you pay to acquire an item but do not add any value to the item itself. If the original price is unknown, use legion standard pricing. Contact your local merchandise officer for assistance if needed.