The ultimate guide for starting a sticker shop on Etsy

 The ultimate guide to opening and owning a sticker shop on Etsy

So you want to start an Etsy shop where you sell stickers? But you don’t really know if you know everything you need to know to get started. Well here is the list of all the things you need to begin! #woo_hoo

I just listed all the things before I wrote out this post, and trust me, there are many things to have down before you get going, but  before you get overwhelmed, let me say, many of these things can be added as you get into the business. These are just things that I have picked up that the bigger shops have, and that customers notices and appreciates.

So to make it easier to get through I have divided the tasks/items into categories. Also, I made an 8-page workbook that you can print out and check off, so you can keep track on your business and progress. download it right here – it is completely free.

Click here for your free how to start a sticker business on etsy workbook

Physical items that are absolutely essential

These are the things you cannot do without when you are starting a sticker business, where you sell physical stickers. If you have decided that you want to start out with selling printables, then you can go down to no 4 on the list.  

Grab a coffee and a snack, girl – and let’s get started! 🙂

1 A cutting machine

First of you need a machine to cut your stickers. There are many options on the market and more coming out every year. However, there are some more popular than others. The biggest players on the market are Silhouette, eClips, brother and Cricut (from what I gather)- and they are basically the ones I was choosing from when I was deciding.

The brands also have different machines that are good for different things. I would suggest you, to look into the groups on facebook, the videos on youtube and blog posts when you try to decide which one is the best fit for you.

Things you should look out for is the software and how user-friendly it is, and see whether or not you can navigate in them – both Cricut and silhouette have free options that you can try out before you buy the machines. You should also look into the size options – aka the cutting area and if it fits your needs.  

The one I went with is the silhouette cameo. I chose this one because the software is very similar to the one I know from adobe, so I could easily transfer to that software, without a steep learning curve. I also find that the community around the silhouette is amazing and people are good at helping each other out- both on facebook and with video content on youtube. The cameo has the largest cut area, which I chose because I also cut other things than stickers, so I needed the ability to do that.

From what I see the silhouettes are the most popular in the sticker community, but do your own research and figure out which one fits your needs the best.

2 Sticker paper

Sticker paper – another essential to your business, go figure 😀

Now there are some things that you should consider when you are picking your paper, like do you want to offer both matte and glossy? What are your own preferences on the sticker paper thickness? Maybe you want to print on matte vinyl like many shops have begun to do?

Also look into the papers and figure out if

  1. they have a printed logo on the back (cause that is not cute) 
  2. if they have pre-printed back slits
  3. how well they are drying and such.

Anyways, I think you should try more than one type of paper and cut and print on that, and even plan with the papers before you choose the one that is best for your business. Don’t just do what others are doing, but do your own research on the market and find one that you love. This is for some reason a super big secret from shop to shop and no one is talking about what paper they use – that and their printer.

Well, I am still doing some research because I see that many people are wondering, so in the future, I will make a post on what I think is the best, based on the preferences I have on the matter – right now I am testing a matte vinyl from a British supplier. 

3 Printer

You need a printer, to print your beautiful stickers, that’s a given. In order to pick the one that is right for you, I think you should go to a store, where you can ask all your questions. The printer is one of the most important things in your business. The print quality has a lot to say on the market and many customers will notice if your quality does not meet the industry standard.

Some of the things you should consider when you are deciding which printer you want are:

  • Does it have the capability to print on glossy paper – Some printers cannot feed thicker papers and some (like one of mine – my brother printer) will make indents in the paper, when it is feeding it through. That is a big problem because you don’t want holes in your stickers.
  • what does the ink cost? Some printers are quite cheap, but then when you go to buy new ink for it, you will be surprised by the price they are charging. If you are in the US/Canada you should look into instant ink, from HP.  
  • Can the printer print to the border of the paper? This might be a big issue if it can’t, since you will have problems with the registration marks, in silhouette anyway.
  • Is the software that comes with the printer easy to use and customize for your papers? Sometimes you will need to press more ink on the paper than others.
  • Does it have a scanner? I use mine all the time, when I design stickers, so that might be for you as well. Many printers come with a scanner today, so why not look into whether or not you are going to need one in your business, for any reason.

Hey, maybe you are starting by selling only printables and then all the above is nonrelevant for you. sorry 😀 – next one will be, though.

4 Products to list in your shop

Now, I think the first thing you need to decide when going into making the products is whether or not you are going to make your own stickers, you know make your own clipart and papers, or figures. Or maybe you don’t feel comfortable with that and want to buy your art from other people.

I think there are pros and cons with both of the options.

When you make your own artwork, you need to spend more time creating the stickers, and the whole process of designing, finding inspiration and more, can be a bit much when you are first starting out. However, it does give you unique stickers, that are exclusive to your shop. If you research the market you will see that more and more shops are releasing their own artwork or partnering with artists, that make artwork for them only.

There are many sticker shops on the market and more and more coming, so you need to think about how you can stand out. A great way to do so is making your own products, so your customers can only get your look, from you.

I am a firm believer that anybody can do designs. It is just a matter of the time you want to put into it because you will have somewhat of a learning curve if you haven’t worked with digital art before.

So for some the path of making their own artwork can be something that comes later. Also in addition to the time saved when buying from other artists is that you can get almost any look that you are going for. You are not limited by your own skills in the beginning.

So if you want to buy from other sellers, I think you should consider not buying the papers that everybody else is using. Again, because you want to be your own shop and not just a replica of another one. So take your time to source the papers you want to use and then look into the licensing, so you know you are not breaking any guidelines for the art you are buying and always ask if you have any doubts. You can get a pretty big fine if you break the license of the artwork, so it is super important that you know the rules.

Etsy is recommending that you start with 10 or more products when you open a shop, so you need to design a great collection of stickers before you open up – if you want to give your shop the best possible launch.

Color scheme in your listings/products

Another thing you could think about is to build a color palette that you use every time you make your functional stickers. Do this to give your listings some consistency and make it easier for your customers to match with your other stickers.

4.5 Freebie with orders

Many shops send a freebie with their orders to give the customers something extra. It could be a teaser for new releases or simply a sample of some of your stickers, to give customers a feel for some of your other products.

You don’t have to offer this, but it could give you a chance of selling to the same customer again because you have introduced something new to them – it is also just a nice feeling to receive something extra, that you didn’t pay for. It doesn’t have to be stickers – it could be something completely different, like a journaling card or the option to collect a discount at a later purchase.

I have also seen some printable shops offer a free printable via a dropbox link – physical shops have done this too, like scribble prints co did around new years 2015-16.

Again think about how you give your customers the best experience buying from you.

5 Packaging

Once you have all the things you need to actually make your stickers you also want something to send your stickers in. The packaging you choose needs to be safe for your stickers. Many shops choose to send in a hard mailer and many choose the bubble mailer.

I think the decision is totally up to the shop, just keep in mind that you might want a piece of sturdy cardboard if you choose the bubble mailer, to prevent the stickers from getting bend. The mailman can be rough with your product, so you need to think about how you as the shop owner can prevent that in the best way possible.

Extras:

Besides the mailer, you will also need something to protect the stickers from getting scratched within the mailer, like a cellophane bag, a piece of regular paper, or tissue paper.

You need to pick something that goes with your brand and your business as a whole. This is what your customers will tie to you as a business, so choose something that you really like.

It can also be a good idea to make a sticker with your logo on it, that you stick to your orders – outside on the mailer or on top of the cellophane/tissue paper packaging.

Want that FREE workbook to keep track on all of your research?

Click here for your free "how to start a sticker business on etsy" workbook

Your branding // Business

In addition to all the physical things you also need your branding. By branding I mean your logo, your style, your photos on your shop, your shop banner, business card, thank you card and more.

The reason this is not the very first thing on the list is mainly that this can be changed over time. I guess you could argue that the other things can be changed as well, and you are not wrong, but I think that you need to research and do some work on the physical things before you can open your shop, whereas your branding can come gradually. Sure, it would best if you have it all down before opening.

6 Business name

Before you can open your business you need to think about what you want to call it. You can change it at a later time if you aren’t happy with the one you chose, but if you want some tips to how I pick names for my businesses, you can check out this post, where I go over the process.

When choosing your name, try to search for them on Etsy, to see whether or not they are options you can choose from, or if another have already picked the one you are loving.

Take your time with this one and brainstorm a bunch of ideas. Open your mind and write every idea down. Then once your head is empty of business name ideas, you go over them and highlight the ones you like.

7 Logo

When you have your name down you want to make a logo that you can attach to your sticker sheets, so people can see and remember where they got their stickers from.

There are many ways to go about it. You could make it yourself, which I think many sticker shops are doing. Getting a logo made from a professional can be quite expensive, however, you will be able to see the quality behind it as well.

If you want to make your own I would suggest to you, to look up logos, or even go to pages that sell logo creators and see if there are combinations you like and would fit with your vision for your business, and then make it. Please don’t just pick a pretty font and write your business name.

If you don’t know how to use software that can create logo’s, like illustrator, you could draw your idea on paper and then outsource the designing to a person on Fiverr or the liking, where the payment is in the lower end.

8 Picture – profile and business banner

Then there are the pictures for your business. You need a picture for your Etsy profile. It does not have to be a portrait of you, but that might give your customers a better idea of who you are, and thereby who they are doing their business with.

You also need a banner and picture for your shop. The banner does not have to be anything than your logo and maybe your brand colors if you have those. Sometimes you can use the banner for sales or special occasions that you want your visitors in your shop to notice.

9 Mockups for your listings

Next thing you can consider getting for your little new business is some mockups for your listings. If you don’t know what I mean by a mockup – it is basically an editable photo where you can place an image of your stickers, so that your pictures all look the same, with the same lighting and give the look of your shop some consistency.

mockups can be bought online from photographers who have specialized in it, and thereby ensure some professional photos, or you can take the photos yourself and edit them in photoshop. If you would like a tutorial on how to do just that let me know and I will make a post about it.

Some of the places you can find some good mockups are: Creative market.com  and thehungryjpeg.com

10 Social media channels

Lastly, you need to check the social media channels that you wish to connect to your business. In order for you to open your business under the name that you have decided to go with you need the social handles for that name as well – so check up on the sites you wish to use and see whether or not you can get that name, or if it is taken.

If your handle is taken you can look into similar tags, or simply make an account in your name and write the name of your business in your description, so people are still able to find you at your business name when they search for that. Don’t give up if your handle is taken, be creative with your solution.

The actual Etsy page – what do you need

So now that you have your physical things for your business, and your branding down you are ready to open your shop. This section is what you need to fill out when you open up.

The first thing Etsy is asking you to do is name your new business.

Then you want to create your listings – each of these costs $0.20 and Etsy suggests to list at least 10 before opening up. For this part, it can be a good idea to write out a generic description to your different stickers and then add specific details when you make the actual individual listings. Look at other shops and see what you could write about your own stickers. Information like: glossy >< matte, the sticker sheet proportions and quantity of stickers are always great information to have on each listing.

Pricing is another huge part of making your listings. I suggest you look at your competitors’ prices and mix that with your own costs and make a price that matches your quality and business.

Then when you’ve listed your listings, you can add your branding that you have created. You want to upload the pictures you have for your business, like your banner and your business profile picture plus the owner picture. 

When you are still getting all of these things in order, you might want to have your business on holiday/closed, to prevent possible customers from getting to your page before it is done.

Policies:

You want to inform your customers when they can expect their stickers, where you send to, what your refund policy and so on is, so you need to write down what you think is important for your customers to know.

A good way to get an idea of what you have to think about is to look to some of your favorite sticker shops and see what they write in their policies. Draw some inspiration from them (DON*T COPY) and write down what you should form some text about for your future customers.

Shipping fees

Next, you need to figure out what the shipping fees are from your country to different places in the world and list that in your shop.

You need to consider whether or not you want to send your packages with tracking or without, and write this in your policies as well, so your customers are informed. Also, whether or not you want to include your costs to your mailer and your other packaging in the shipping fees.  

Also look into the rules and regulations in your country on exporting packages to the rest of the world, if you are going to sell internationally, you might need to be registered for it.

____________

That is actually it guys. All you need to do now is just to take action and go open your shop. Upload all your amazing listings and start creating your brand and business.

You will have a lot of work ahead of you, and opening the store is only the beginning. Then you need to reach out and grow your business through your social media channels and have patience. Work hard and you will surely succeed.

Now you should be good to open your own store on Etsy! Let me know if you have used this post to get you going – and don’t forget to get your awesome checklist before you leave, it will make it so much easier for you to keep track on your progress.

Click here for your free how to start a sticker business on etsy workbook

If there is anything that you think I missed in the post, please let me know, so I can add it and inform others of your awesome tips 🙂

Thank you for reading this massive post about opening your own sticker shop on Etsy. I really hope that you found it helpful.

Louise

6 thoughts on “The ultimate guide for starting a sticker shop on Etsy

  1. Louise,
    I have some confusion with the digital mockups. Do you have more information on where I can learn how to put my silhouette designs on a mockup? Is this done in Photoshop? Thank you for your time and help 🙂

    1. Hi! I have a blog post that goes a little more into mockups, which you can find here: Post about mockups

      The mockups I make are made in photoshop and illustrator, but so are all of my designs 🙂 – I only use Silhouette to actually cut the sheets I make.

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