HOUSTON, TX -- A vending operator here has begun a side business to help big-name rap artists promote their brands by plastering their faces on vending machines and ATMs.
Andre Bramwell, who runs Houston's Candyman Vending Services, said he is off to a fast start in just a matter of months, working with high-profile hip hop artists Riff Raff and Krayzie Bone, among others.
"My vending network allows the artists to get their own customized vending machine and ATM to be placed in businesses -- where they get a commission and promote their brand -- or in their own home, to use on tour, or whatever they may like," Bramwell told VT.
Bramwell began his business in 2010 with a few gumball machines and quickly moved into full-line vending. He added ATMs to the mix this year and operates two routes in the Houston and Austin areas.
"The main reason I came up with this idea is because the market in Houston is very saturated and everyone is always fighting over locations, so I wanted to maximize my business potential and think outside the box to make vending profitable in a different way," the operator told VT.
Candyman Vending operates all of its rapper-branded machines in the Houston/Austin market. "Each artist will offer different options," explained Bramwell. "Some will offer advertising to their fans, either on the sides of the machines or by a small LCD screen on the snack machines. The artists get money from this, as do the business owners."
The machines are also available for sale to other vending operators, businesses and fans, giving the artists additional avenues for publicity and income.
What's sold in each machine is up to the location in which it's placed, or the artist or business owner who purchases it. Some are merchandised with snacks and candy while others feature clothing and other merchandise branded by the artist. The artists receive a portion from the proceeds from the sale of each machine and can also run promotions for locations for an additional one-time flat rate per promotion. If the location has a business tax ID, the artist can offer it more options in return for a commission percentage from sales.
"Locations also get the option to have the artist promote their business at additional fees as well," Bramwell explained. "Each artist has a different way in which they are willing to promote. Some do so via their concerts, while others incorporate advertising into their social media, videos or even clothing."
Bramwell provides hip hop artist-branded ATMs free of charge to businesses in his area, and gives both the location and the featured artist a portion of the surcharge for each transaction. Those who wish to purchase an ATM and service it themselves are eligible for the same promotional options available with the vending equipment.
The operator said he is working on a new website that will provide prospective customers with the background of each artist participating in his program, along with their social networking statistics, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter followers.
"The options are limitless with the partnerships with music artists, from selling merchandise, offering the custom machines, advertisements, sponsorships etc.," said Bramwell. "This way, I am not just limiting myself to the Houston/Austin market; I can go worldwide with my business since everyone listens to music."
He plans to expand the program into other genres of music and says he is already in contact with country and rock artists. Bramwell said he has also had several inquiries about franchise opportunities and is considering the possibilities.
"It's something new to the industry, and it makes vending even more fun," he said.