The Ultimate Guide To Starting Your Own Sticker Shop

Ready to join the entrepreneurial world of selling custom stickers and decals? Look no further than our handy guide here. We are sharing everything you need to know to start and maintain a successful sticker shop. 

Firstly, let’s identify just some of the many benefits of owning a sticker shop. 

High in demand. Marketing isn’t going anywhere.  While social media has its own reputation, sticker marketing is an option that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, businesses will rely on word-of-mouth and real-time presence over the occasional and often nano-second impressions of passive online scrolling. 


Work remotely.  Sticker shops can easily be managed from virtually anywhere. Your inventory can be as diverse or as exclusive as you desire. That said, having the gear to fill orders can be simple, especially when you partner with a well-known and quality-driven company like Sira Print, where we print to-order and fulfill our orders quickly and professionally


Artistic freedom.  Imagine the freedom to imagine, create and distribute diverse projects you have manifested from thoughts to tangible profit. It is one of the most rewarding achievements possible.  Take your creations to the world and even take custom orders from clients that you can turn into real-life branding labels, stickers and decals. 


Below, we share our suggested steps for starting your own custom sticker printing shop. 

Picking your art

First and foremost, you’ll want to start with some artwork you can display that will help others get their gears turning and also bring in some initial income that will lead to continued business. You can choose from many different options including online/digital work, business logos like brand recognition, decals for everything from water bottles to windows, shop decals like pricing or ingredient labels, and so on. 

In fact, if you do not already have a general idea of which direction to go, we have another blog specifically slated to one of the more popular venues where folks set up their stickers shops- Etsy.  Our featured blog, What Stickers Sell best on Etsy

covers everything from which stickers are a hit at peak times of the year, as well as, timeless options that sell well no matter the season or size (think pets and classic custom needs).


When choosing your designs, we like to keep it as simple as trends and traditions. General art selection criteria like relatability, pop culture references, etc. will serve you well when setting up shop.  


Relatability would be what’s trending. Think political events, news, movements, pop culture references, etc. 


Traditional options would include more lasting and classic sticker items such as family images, pets, seasonal decor, and so on.

Make a Store

First and foremost, you’re going to want a storefront.  Fortunately, you can skip the overhead of a brick and mortar location and opt for an online presence that gets you access to virtually everyone - literally. The virtual/digital world is teeming with options for online (E-commerce) shops. You’ll want to create a store with at least one platform, and as you build your reputation and management of one, you can certainly expand your business to another site. 


Shopify

Shopify is a commerce platform that allows anyone to set up an online store and sell their products. Merchants can also sell their products in person with Shopify POS. 


Shopify offers three pricing plans: 

  • Shopify Basic costs $29 per month, with 2.9% + 30¢ per online transaction. 
  • The main Shopify plan costs $79 per month, with 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction.
  • Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month, with 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction. 

The benefits to Shopify are plenty. 


Shopify is great for stores that sell both physical and digital goods or services. The Shopify platform already has powerful built-in support, including the ability to link product options. Shopify is also great if you’re only selling a handful of products — or even just one. Using a theme with advanced Shopify options lets you sell products right from the homepage, making it easy to close sales. Talk about easy!  


Lastly, Shopify’s built in tools allow you to showcase sale prices or discounts on products, offer coupons to incentivize purchases or offer free shipping (or charge for shipping based on weight or other criteria). All of which can help make an indifferent on-looker a committed buyer! The Shopify platform also comes with flexible shipping, payment and inventory systems, with numerous other add-on options available.


Etsy


Etsy is a very popular platform for selling products that are handmade. With low fees, powerful tools, and support and education, Etsy helps creative entrepreneurs start, manage, and scale their sticker businesses in a way that makes E-commerce easy.  Even better? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make money! All it takes is 20 cents to get started. Here is a bit about their simple, transparent and secure benefits for the sticker seller in you! 


$0.20 Listing fee. Listings are active for four months, or until they sell. Talk about an inexpensive way to get your stickers and decals out there! 


5% Transaction fee, 3% + $0.25 payment processing fee - 

When you sell an item, there's a small commission and standard payment processing fee. These are comparable to other sites and can easily be worked into your pricing structures. 


15% Offsite Ads Fee*

Etsy pays to advertise your items across the web through Offsite Ads. You only pay a fee when you make a sale from one of those ads. This is a great way to take advantage of their marketing expertise while not risking the loss of funds trying to figure out what would work. 


Safety first with Etsy.  They know the importance of consumer privacy and protection when it comes to choosing an online store to buy stickers and decals from. Etsy processes payments on a secure, SSL-encrypted platform and offer fraud detection systems to protect you and your buyers 24/7. 



Big Cartel


Big Cartel is an easy-to-use online store platform that allows artists and makers to sell their products. Since 2005, over a million creators have sold their t-shirts, art, clothing, merch, prints, jewelry, and other  unique and wonderful stuff with Big Cartel.


What is super cool about Big Cartel is the plug-and-play type of configuration that allows you to customize one of their free themes to set the look and feel of your sticker and decal shop. 


Its many benefits include the ability to manage your store, fulfill orders, update products, check stats, and run promotions from any device at home or on the go. Being both computer and mobile-friendly, you can keep tabs on your shop while also maintaining quality customer service with your online visitors. 


Also, because Big Cartel is a tight-knit company, built to stay small and independent, they commit to do right by their team and artists for years to come. That said, you can count on them for quality customer service and tech support when setting up and growing your Big Cartel online sticker business.


The pricing structure is fairly straight-forward. You can sign up for free with your first 5 products and now the Sales Tax Autopilot makes the accounting legalities of online sticker selling easily.  You can then upgrade for just $9.99 a month to showcase as many as 50 products. For just $19.99 a month you can boost up to 250 stickers and decals and if you want to be even more ambitious, you can display up to 500 of your products for just $29.99 each month. 

Product Types

After you get your platform up and running, you’ll want to focus on offering various product types. There are MANY different sticker options to choose from or to offer up. Whether your visitors are looking to order sheet stickers, die cut stickers, bulk stickers, vinyl stickers, poly stickers, paper stickers or all of the above, you can share some or all to your growing customer base. 


Here, we break down the different stickers in hopes it makes it easier for you to choose what your sticker shop will specialize in delivering. 


Firstly, the difference between kiss cut and die cut stickers is something to consider. 

Kiss Cut Stickers are made from durable vinyl with an over laminate that is scratch resistant and protects the colours from fading. Kiss cut stickers are waterproof, weatherproof, and dishwasher safe. Kiss cut stickers are supplied on a rectangular backing sheet that is a little larger than the sticker itself. If you want the backing sheet cut to the same shape as the sticker, try our Die Cut Stickers instead!


Die-Cut Stickers are an awesome option to offer also. With our high level of precision, we can bring your exact design into a reality.  Our custom die cut vinyl stickers are made with a high-quality and durable vinyl. We add an overlaminate that is scratch-resistant and protects the artwork from fading.You want weatherproof, waterproof and bubble-free?  Opt for die-cut stickers that make it easy for your customers to apply without needing a professional installer.  Our custom die cut stickers are easy to apply to any flat surface. Plus, we cut your design all the way through the backing, which means your artwork really pops. 


Now, let’s talk about the difference between paper, polypropylene, and vinyl stickers. 


Paper stickers. Oftentimes, clients may be looking to save and order in bulk for fewer bucks.  That said, paper is oftentimes used when customers want quantity over quality. If you see a market for such, consider offering paper stickers as an option as well.  Keep in mind, however, that paper stickers do rip easily. This can, in turn, affect your reputation. Not because of anything you’ve failed to do, but because when people are buying stickers, they tend to want something durable that will showcase their favored designs for longevity. 


Polypropylene.  When some printers discuss vinyl stickers, they are actually referring to polypropylene. This has generally replaced PVC vinyl in the printing industry when it comes to product labels as it has many of the same beneficial properties, but at a lower manufacturing cost.

As a result, polypropylene is known for being a quality product label option because they are  scratch-resistant, and waterproof. Since they are also recyclable and safe for use on the outside of food packaging, you may find that these work well with clients in the food industry or outdoor adventurers. 

This is where the similarities end, however. One thing to keep in mind is that polypropylene stickers can tend to rip, which can really ruin a sticker shop’s reputation. Additionally, polypropylene is much stiffer than vinyl, and so it cannot be applied to curved surfaces effectively. Finally, polypropylene will turn yellow over time, especially with exposure to UV light, and all stickers will fade if produced using cheap inks or laminated with a laminate that doesn’t protect against UV. Another reason opening a sticker shop with us at Sira Print is a good idea - our stickers and decals are all made with an overlaminate that is scratch-resistant and UV resistant, and protects the artwork from losing its details. All of our Kiss Cut and Die Cut Stickers are produced using a high quality vinyl that will stand the test of time, and are much more durable than polypropylene.

Vinyl Stickers. 


Offerings vinyl decals is our suggested recommendation. We want to offer the best of the best so that your customers’ storefronts, windows, hydro flasks, laptops and more sport quality stickers that keep your business growing!  We have a high-quality decal for every type of application and use vinyl decals because they are ideal for even the most intricate of designs. From full-color stickers and static clings to wall and floor decals, Sira Print products are intentionally made with high-quality vinyl that resists damage from the elements and keep your clientele coming back for more! 


Set Pricing

When it comes to any online business, you’re only as successful as you are profitable.  That said, setting your pricing structure will be crucial.  The good news is that, over time, you can always change your pricing to better suit your demand and desired income. Let’s discuss some basics to your bottom line. 


Freelance rates


As stated above, when it comes to entrepreneurship, your sticker shop can be as big or as small as you deem appropriate. Plus, with the earlier-mentioned custom E-commerce websites, you can tailor your pricing and products as you desire and with the literal click of a button. Have a few stickers that are moving quickly off your digital shelves? Perhaps up the ante and have a higher price for higher-in-demand products. On the contrary, if you have some decals that are “stuck” in display mode, consider lowering the prices to encourage their introduction to the online shopping cart.  This is known as dynamic pricing and it definitely is a strategy that the greatest of E-commerce giants, Amazon, implements, changing their pricing every 10 minutes directly related to real-time supply and demand. 


Custom sticker price


If you prefer to keep things consistent, you can always set custom sticker prices. This allows you to maintain a steady income that offers predictability and profit-producing products. You’ll want to keep in mind the overhead cost of making custom stickers and base your pricing strategy on such. 


This is also known as value-based pricing and is rooted in what you believe is appropriate for the work involved in everything from the time you spend managing your site to the costs of promoting, packaging and product inventory. This pricing strategy allows you to set prices primarily, but not exclusively, according to the perceived or estimated value of your products. 


Let’s give an example from our own surplus of stickers and successful pricing. 


Price per sticker. Let’s say you opt to purchase 100 stickers of your latest creative design. Perhaps a funny saying, popular political motto or a trending phrase that people are eager to express via decal display. By navigating our easy-to-use site and opting for a common size, say 4” x 4”, you can get 100 of your quality stickers for just $96.11 (that’s less than $1 per sticker!)  Now, selling them online at $5 a pop, they pay for themselves after the first 20 are sold and the remaining 80 units you sell are a grand total profit of $400! Roll some of that dough into another order and keep your sticker shop open and thriving. Consider using some of your initial profits to purchase some higher quality sticker options that will bring in even more income per purchase. 


Pricing Per Sticker-pack. Want to get a whole sheet of stickers so you can offer more of a variety to your customers and drive up average conversion value. Let’s take a typical computer sheet at 8.5x11” filled with several of your designs or your customers’ creative requests.  Let’s say you sell the sheets a la carte at $15.00 per sheet. An initial investment of 50 sheets at $285.00 will pay for itself after just the first 19 are sold. That means that the following 31 sticker sheets are banking you a profit of $465! Additionally, you can have several of your own designs on one sticker sheet, and cut them out to sell individually at that same $5 a pop. So, say you design 10 logos on a typical 8.5”x11” sheet. If you select a custom quantity of 5 sheets at just under $60, you can sell your first sheet of decals individually at a profit and benefit from the additional 40 stickers each bringing in $5 at a total profit of $200 earnings! 

Marketing


Having an online store isn’t always enough.  While a platform is a great place to house your products, getting folks to visit your new online “address” takes a bit of marketing. You may find that social media is a great way to share your sticker shop with the rest of the world. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are the channels most artists use to share their sticker shops with online audiences. 


Guerrilla Marketing is a creative content marketing strategy that prides itself on being unconventional. In your daily life, you have likely experienced many examples of other business' guerilla marketing tactics, including the use of publicity stunts, viral videos, stencil graffiti. You can get super creative using social media as a way to launch your latest stickers and decal options. 



Conclusion

Ultimately, if you’re looking to set up a successful custom sticker and decal shop, you’re in for a fun and profitable freelance hobby that could very well turn into a lucrative career.  Your best bet is to take into consideration the above-mentioned points so you can not only meet, but exceed the goals of your sticker shop. Take advantage of the many benefits, pick out art that you feel would sell best on your platforms (trying new options too over time to see what “sticks”), set up an online platform that is known for a great aesthetic and user-friendly interface, commit to product types and pricing, then begin marketing via social media, word-of mouth and your own sticker showcasing preferences. Have questions?  Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in partnering with us as your trusted sticker and decal creation company.