How Loren Bouchard Built a ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Retail Empire

A central premise of “Bob’s Burgers” is that the Belcher family always needs money. The irony is that the show itself has become the center of its own merchandise empire.

Among the branded items currently available from the show are its own set of Funko Pop figurines, a line of apparel available at multiple major retailers, a “Bob’s Burgers” custom Igloo cooler and a New York Times bestselling cookbook.

The show’s merchandise business was started by the creators themselves, rather than studio 20th Television. According to 20th TV executive vice president of animation Marci Proietto, who helped shepherd “Bob’s Burgers” through the development process, the studio’s consumer productions division “didn’t really pay much attention to us,” which led series creator Loren Bouchard to strike out on his own.

“Loren had done things with a small little company where we printed out T-shirts and we gave them away for free at Comic-Con,” Proietto says. “Finally [20th TV] said, ‘OK, we’ll do some stuff.’ And then at Comic-Con, to see the line around the block for the merchandise was — I think everyone is still in shock that people want so much from the show.”

“Bob’s Burgers” has also branched out into other media. In addition to the film slated for 2021 release, “The Bob’s Burgers Music Album,” featuring original songs from the show, dropped in 2017 and sold nearly 25,000 copies in its first week. A second volume of the album will drop in the spring. Bouchard is nothing but grateful for the show’s success but says that sometimes it can be “terrifying.”

“I think all of us live in fear of that thing that happens with some shows where there’s just a bunch of crap out there that has their name on it, and you can kind of feel that something is too big or too spread out and no one cares about that particular T-shirt or that toy,” he says. “We desperately want to avoid that.”

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