There's a lot of competition in the sticker market nowadays, but everyone loves them. Plus – it looks so easy! Should you try your hand at selling stickers? Here are things to think about as you consider your new business.
Selling stickers can definitely be worth it – if you've got the time and patience to learn new skills in design, marketing, and production. Stickers don't have to be complicated – they just have to catch your buyer's eye.
But there are some other things to consider before you dive in to the sticker business, including whether or not this is a hobby or a serious business. How you approach your business will be different if it's a side hustle, or if you're trying to quit your day job. Here are some things to consider:
What are modern stickers?
Stickers used to just be for “good job” from a teacher, but now, it's cool to like stickers. From handmade to vinyl, stickers are all the rage among teens and anyone else who wants a fun way to decorate their life.
You'll find stickers plastered in bathrooms (ew) and subway stations, on laptops and cell phones, and everywhere in between. Bumper stickers aren't just for hippies anymore – everyone is decorating their vehicles with funny sayings and slogans. Bullet journalers and people who love organizing use stickers faster than I drink water. And they're everywhere on the street, too- check out Bus Stop Boxes and electrical poles.
Modern stickers come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. Vinyl stickers are the most common ones- they're perfect for indoor and outdoor use because they're durable and waterproof. They might not be as cute or customizable as buying handmade stickers , but who doesn't like convenience? Smaller vinyl stickers called “window clings” can even be removable, saving you the hassle of finding some “Goo Be Gone”. You don't want to ruin your drywall!
Keep in mind your end-user as you consider your own sticker business. Indoor-only stickers might be cheaper to make, but there's no sense in making them large sized, because your customers might try to use them outside. That will ruin the product and your reputation.
Why do people buy stickers?
People buy stickers for a variety of reasons. Stickers might be purchased to decorate journals or walls. They could be purchased as gifts for friends. Individuals may even buy stickers to decorate letters and send them through the mail.
Stickers are a great way to show your personality and beliefs. Many stickers on laptops, notebooks, and water bottles display a person's moral leanings: how they vote or what they believe about issues like abortion, religion, and gay rights. Other stickers are for individuals interested in specific bands, TV shows, or other pop culture objects.
People also buy stickers as items to trade or collect. Some stickers cost less than $5 and can be purchased at gas stations or other small shops. Pieces of sticker packs are easy to give away because they're just so affordable.
Other artists sell their work on Etsy for $10+ per item. These more expensive products may be limited: in selling length, in quantity sold, or may even be designed or hand painted by the seller.
Some people collect stickers around themes – they might have a water bottle plastered with ocean themed stickers, and a laptop with tech stickers. Using stickers for this purpose is a great way to spruce up objects that otherwise might look boring. The point is – people buy stickers for lots of reasons, and being a successful sticker seller is, at the heart, about knowing your audience.
How much does it cost to make a sticker?
Stickers are cheap to produce. The primary cost of a sticker is in the ink used, and any finishing materials (like lamination or holographics). Price depends on the size of the sticker, and how they're being produced.
Making a 3-inch sticker in your home can cost as little as a few cents – outsourcing the same sticker can cost you $1 or more per. But either way, you can usually sell a 3-inch sticker for $3 or more.
If you're just starting out as a sticker seller, you might not have the equipment you really need to produce high quality stickers. You'll need equipment like a printer, a cutter, and a computer to turn your digital artwork into stickers. This doesn't need to impede you too much, though: you can always rent or borrow equipment; or you can outsource your production.
Outsourcing your production can save you a whole lot of headache, and it doesn't come with the startup cost that owning equipment requires. For example, you can get sticker quotes for free on various sticker- related websites, and you can even rely on small shops like ours or one in your town to do the job. Small shops often have faster turnaround times, better customer service, and proofing available for you.
The pros and cons of selling stickers
Stickers are all around us, from our macbooks to our lockers. They're a simple way to decorate almost anything and anyone with a sense of style can appreciate their charm. Really, the issue here isn't about the stickers themselves, but where they come from and who is making them.
In the past few years, stickers have become increasingly popular for small businesses to produce and sell. They're relatively inexpensive to produce because they're just sticky paper. Just about anyone with a hobby cutting machine like a Cricut Explore Air or Cameo Silhouette can make them. And, they're easy to sell: most stickers cost less than a cup of Starbucks joe.
But the market for stickers is also saturated in many categories. Searching for planner stickers is like searching for a needle in a haystack. After all, designing stickers is no easy feat, either; if it's too simple, the sticker isn't impressive. If it's too detailed, it takes hours to design and might not even sell. With so many like-sticker competitors, how can you stand out?
The answer lies in the creative aspect of stickers. Anyone can stick a cute phrase on a stock image, but it takes knowing your audience and designing well to really stand out. If you're ready for an adventure – selling stickers is for you.
Do I think you should get into selling stickers or not?
I think anyone can try to sell stickers. You might even have success. But it takes a lot of hard work, trial and error, and patience to be a successful sticker seller in 2021 and beyond.
If you're willing to experiment with your art, your sense of design, and your social media presence, I think you're ready to start selling stickers. If you've got a couple hundred bucks set aside, you can even start producing stickers on your own. Whatever you do – Sticker Crypt is here as a resource.