Today I want to talk about one of the most versatile handmade products you can make and sell online.
You can make a sticker for pretty much anything!
You can make motivational stickers for grade books or decal stickers for local businesses or stickers for people who love stationery or journaling.
There’s really so much you can do with stickers!
If you can design it, you can turn it into a sticker!
Not to mention, they’re great for all ages.
Who doesn’t love stickers?
Adults put them on laptops, cars, notebooks.
Kids can put them – everywhere! And as any parent will tell you, they really do.
But can you make a living starting a sticker business?
Or is the market already over saturated?
This post will go into everything you need to know about starting a sticker business of your very own.
Then you can decide if this is something you want to pursue.
Hi there! I’m Mei Pak. I help makers, artists, and designers make a living by selling their handmade products online.
The market for stickers is booming – and it’s not going anywhere.
Stickers are an excellent marketing tool for businesses, because they’re affordable, allow for creativity, and…they actually work!
Take the “I Voted” stickers.
All Americans have seen these stickers – they’re oval shaped with a little American flag and two simple words: “I Voted.”
Did you know that the “I Voted” stickers actually increase voter turnout?
According to a study at the University of California Berkeley, the stickers work because when people see that their friends or family members voted, they want to vote too.
That’s how marketing works.
The same is true for other types of stickers.
If you have a cool looking sticker of your favorite bike shop on your laptop, then your friend might see that sticker and go to that bike shop.
All this to say that stickers are an incredibly effective marketing tool that thousands upon thousands of companies use.
The demand is not going anywhere.
As long as businesses are marketing themselves, they’ll be buying stickers.
But it’s not just businesses that are in the market for stickers.
Parents love giving unique, fun stickers to their kids.
They’re an inexpensive and mess-free gift that can keep toddlers occupied and happy and keep kids’ imaginations running.
What kid doesn’t like to decorate their notebooks or binders with an array of cool stickers?
For kids and adults alike, a sticker is an identity stamp.
It’s a way to show off who you are to your friends and family.
When we decorate our laptops with stickers from all the places we’ve traveled to, or all of our favorite characters from a show, we are making a statement about who we are.
Whether you want to sell logo stickers for companies, activity stickers for kids, or unique niche stickers for fun, you’ll have a built-in market ready to buy.
We’re not reinventing the wheel here.
Now that you know how great the sticker industry works, let’s get into the steps you need to take to start your own sticker business.
1. Your Niche
Step one is to find your niche.
Because the market is so huge (and so versatile) it’s also really competitive.
If you go to Etsy and type “stickers” in the search bar, three million plus results come up.
No one wants to compete with over 3 million other products.
If you’re going to start a sticker business, you need to narrow down your focus.
Choose something specific that isn’t already oversaturated with competitors.
For instance, planner stickers are one of the most popular types of stickers sold on Etsy – so that market might be a little hard to tap into.
Other top sticker markets on Etsy are logo stickers and vinyl decal stickers.
That doesn’t mean you can’t sell these types of stickers, but it does mean you’ll want to find a way to make them stand out among the rest.
Maybe your planner stickers are marketed specifically to business owners.
But you also don’t want a niche that’s so unique that you have no market.
This means there’s no one who wants to buy your work.
If you do, you’ll have a hard time making a single sale because there’s just no demand.
You really need to find that sweet spot.
What’s a unique type of sticker that fits an interest that’s already popular, but doesn’t have a ton of competitors yet?
The ideas are pretty limitless.
- You could make custom paper stickers of people’s pets.
- Bumper stickers marketed toward teens who just got their first car.
- Or quote stickers or funny, comedic stickers.
The sticker industry may be tough because of how oversatured it is, but it’s versatility makes it a great choice.
With so many different types of stickers and different angles you can take, you should be able to find a niche that’s perfect for you.
It might take you some time and a lot of research, but that’s normal and worth it.
Especially, if it means you get to develop a business idea that will support you financially!
2. Sticker Material
Once you know what type of sticker you’ll be making, you can move on to step two.
You need to choose the type of sticker you’ll be making.
There are TONS of different types of stickers – from paper stickers to vinyl stickers and everything in between.
The type of sticker you choose will depend on what your customers are using them for.
You don’t want to make bumper stickers out of paper.
You’ll also need to buy different materials depending on what stickers you choose to make.
Here’s a breakdown of the different types.
Paper stickers are a little more cost effective, but they aren’t usually high quality.
After all, a person can accidentally rip a paper sticker just trying to get it off the sheet.
These are still a good option if you’re hoping to offer your customers something for a better price.
But it would be a good idea to have other, better quality options available as well.
Polypropylene stickers are a low cost way to make high quality stickers.
These are scratch proof, water proof, and recyclable.
You’ll most often see this type of sticker on food and beverage products.
Polypropylene stickers are not indestructible, though.
They can rip pretty easily – which could lead to a bad review for your shop.
They are also very stiff, so they can’t be placed on curved surfaces, like water bottles.
Finally, they’re not protected against UV light, which means that they’ll yellow over time.
This might not be a huge deal if you don’t see customers using your stickers long term – but if you’re selling logo stickers to businesses, you’ll want a material that will last.
Vinyl stickers are the most popular choice for sticker artists.
Vinyl is highly durable, weather-proof, and doesn’t discolor overtime.
Your customers won’t be limited when it comes to where they choose to place their stickers.
Whether on a curved water bottle, a flat laptop, or anything in between.
This is the material that I would recommend for anyone who wants to start a sticker shop.
Once you’ve narrowed down the material you want to use, and you know your niche, you can move on to step three!
Step three of owning a sticker shop is to shop for your supplies.
For the sake of this example, let’s say that you decided to make vinyl stickers.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Printable vinyl sticker sheets.
You’ll want to make sure the sheets of vinyl can easily fit in your printer and that you can print a lot at once.
These can range in price from $6 to $20, depending on the size of the pack and the brand.
A vinyl cutting machine.
Like the name implies, you’ll use this to cut your vinyl stickers.
You can get an excellent vinyl cutter for between $200 and $400.
There are some cheaper machines on Amazon, but the really inexpensive ones (I saw one for around $30) do not work well and will limit you in terms of what you can make.
The Cricut and Silhouette brands are the favorites among sticker makers.
The Cricut Blue Maker is $329 and the Silhouette Cameo 4 is $299.
You’ll be able to get a ton of use out of either of those machines.
To design really great stickers, you’ll need really great software.
Cricut and Silhouette both offer great design studios for all your design needs.
Cricut offers a free package with 1,000 different images and 15 different fonts, among other features.
For more freedom, you can purchase their standard package for $9.99 a month or $95.88 a year.
They also have a deluxe package for $119.88 a year.
If you already have something like Adobe Photoshop, you can use that too.
The next thing you’ll need is an inkjet photo printer.
Make sure that your printer can print in color, so you’re not limited to black and white designs.
Inkjet printers range in price from $100 to $400.
You’ll want to choose a reliable, sturdy printer that will last a long time.
The HP Envy Photo 7855 is the choice among sticker makers, and it’s also Amazon’s top selling inkjet photo printer.
It costs $230 on Amazon, as of this post.
Clear Vinyl Laminate
The laminate is extremely important – because it’s what keeps your stickers durable and weather-proof.
Vinyl laminate costs around $20 and there is specially made laminate for Cricut and Silhouette, so you can choose what to get depending on which cutting machine you choose.
This should come with your machine, but if it doesn’t, cutting mats are usually around $10.
You can purchase a more expensive mat if you want something more high-grade.
There are some professional non-slip mats for around $90 on Amazon, but you probably won’t need anything that elaborate.
Once you have your supplies, you can move onto the next step!
This is the fun part – building your inventory.
It’s time to start making stickers.
But first, practice makes perfect.
Practice making stickers until you feel confident that you know how to create a high quality, durable, and beautiful product that customers will love (and that you love).
When it comes to inventory, you’ll want to start with about 10-15 ready to sell designs.
You don’t want to make too much of any one style just in case it doesn’t sell.
Trust me when I say that your favorite product isn’t always the one that ends up selling the most.
You just never know what customers will go after.
Once you start selling, you can make more of the product that sells the most, and less of the ones that aren’t landing.
5. Your Shop
Step five is setting up your shop!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: it’s all about Shopify.
While you might be tempted to dive straight into Etsy, I highly recommend building a shop using Shopify as well.
I have a video you can watch here comparing Etsy and Shopify.
In a nutshell, Shopify is better if you want to build a long term business that lasts and that you have control over.
I understand the temptation to sell on Etsy or Amazon – it’s user friendly and there’s a built in customer base already searching and shopping for products.
But, you’re stuck following someone else’s rules and it’s super unstable.
If you do want to sell on Etsy or Amazon, I recommend keeping that as a side-business, with the majority of the traffic going to your Shopify store.
Once you have your product ready and your shop’s all set up, you get to start selling!
Once your shop is set up don’t forget to market your products!
Market your stickers through influencers and media marketing.
This is when you send free samples of your product to influencers.
Whether that’s on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, or you reach out to bloggers or editors for magazines that you see on the shelves of supermarkets.
The goal is to get them to share your products with their audience.
You can learn more about that in my how-to video here.
Are you interested in opening a sticker business or maybe you’ve already got one!
Let me know in the comments below!
I hope you found this post helpful and are ready to get your sticker business started.
Don’t forget to also check out my YouTube Channel for more great tips and tricks for handmade businesses.