One of my favorite businesses that I don’t run myself is a sticker business. I have multiple friends running full time sticker businesses that they began as a side hustle. In this article I want to share some of the behind-the-scenes secrets of a sticker business startup and specifically share what you need to start selling stickers online.

Sticker businesses are fun because it’s one you can start slow, brand easily, and grow massively. It’s equal parts creativity, business savvy, and technical knowledge.

However, all of that can feel overwhelming at first. If you are a beginner who wants to start a sticker business, then you are in the right place.

Let’s look at what you’ll need to figure out in your sticker business startup plan:

  • Choosing A Sticker Style
  • Creating A Sticker Shop
  • Branding The Business
  • Designing Stickers
  • Making Stickers
  • Selling & Shipping Stickers

All of these things are important to creating a sticker business so we will cover them all at least briefly.

Related posts:

Choosing Sticker Styles

The very first step of your sticker business will need to be deciding what type of stickers you will sell.

The sticker market is actually huge and there are many different types of stickers. You’ll want to evaluate the overall market against your personal interests and gaps that you could fill. You’ll want to focus on designing stickers for a smaller niche like planner stickers for moms or educational stickers for pre-school ages.

There are many types of stickers including:

  • Die Cut Stickers
  • Kiss Cut Stickers
  • Circle Stickers
  • Square Stickers
  • Sheet Stickers
  • Clear Stickers
  • Roll Stickers
  • Photo stickers

There are many options for sticker niches including:

  • Planner stickers
  • Budget stickers
  • Funny stickers
  • Inspirational quote stickers
  • Meme stickers
  • Location stickers
  • Spiritual stickers
  • Political stickers
  • Seasonal stickers
  • Labeling stickers
  • Pet portrait stickers
  • Family portrait stickers
  • Customized stickers

As you can see from these limited lists there are truly hundreds and thousands of options. Once you narrow down your type of sticker and niche then you get to create the sticker designs.

selling stickers

Creating A Sticker Shop

Creating the online shop for your sticker business is the next step.

This online shop will be the storefront for your sales and help you manage the backend of order fulfillment. It’s crucial you pick a platform that will be easy-to-use and provide everything you need.

Many sticker shops start out creating a shop on Etsy.

Etsy offers a great advantage in the fact that there is already an existing audience of sticker buyers on the platform. It’s also easy to set up and offers everything you need to sell stickers. This is a great way to get your sticker business up and running by using the existing audience in a marketplace.

Read How to Make Money Selling Stickers On Etsy for more details about selling stickers on Etsy.

After outgrowing Etsy most sticker shop owners I know have moved on to Shopify.

Shopify offers many sticker business owners the ability to scale and brand themselves better. Instead of showing up next to competitors on Etsy you will have more control with a Shopify e-commerce website.

With Shopify you’ll have more control over your website, branding, and ability to contact your customer base.

You can try creating a Shopify store for free here.

Read these articles to learn more about selling on Shopify:

You might also want to consider other e-commerce website builders or marketplaces to sell your stickers. Check out this guide to Etsy alternatives that will walk you through options for places to sell your stickers.

Branding The Sticker Business

Branding your sticker business startup probably doesn’t seem important. Many people think you need to just create sticker ideas and throw them out there to get sales as quickly as possible.

A better way is to create a strong brand for your business. Having a strong brand will help create repeat customers who remember your stickers and want more. Branding is incredibly important for long term success and building something sustainable.

Branding should accomplish a few things like capturing attention and creating a memorable experience for customers.

You can create cohesive branding for your sticker business in a number of elements:

  • logo for your business
  • brand colors used throughout your shop
  • website design and functionality
  • packaging for your stickers
  • the descriptions of your products

There are a number of ways to use branding elements to make your business stand out and become memorable to customers. Try to make your branding as unique as possible so your customers remember you and come back again and again.

When getting started you’ll want to focus on the basics and you can always come back and tweak your business branding over time.

Once you’ve created a shop and the branding for your business, the next step is to create your stickers!

using apple ipad and pencial to create designs for stickers

Designing Stickers

Making stickers generally falls into three steps: designing, printing, and cutting stickers. The first step is design which can often be the most fun.

You don’t have to be very creative to design stickers! You can actually make stickers out of many things you don’t design yourself:

You can create the sticker designs in an online design platform like Canva.

If you want to draw your own designs from scratch then you’ll need supplies like the Apple iPad and Apple Pencil and the design program ProCreate.

Once you’ve got a few designs you are ready to start building your sticker shop and creating the physical stickers you will be selling.

Printing Stickers

Printing your stickers is the next step after they have been designed. Again, this is a process you can do yourself or outsource.

You’ll want to be clear on what type of stickers you are creating because this will determine the type of paper used to print your stickers. You might be printing on paper or on vinyl. Paper won’t be waterproof and vinyl are thicker and shinier.

If you aren’t sure about which to use for your type of sticker then you should do some research before printing.

Printing Stickers Yourself

Printing stickers yourself will be all about the supplies you use. You will likely need to do some research and even some testing before you decide on your final product.

For this step you’ll need to get your paper, printer, and ink. Each of these has many different options available so you will pick the best option for the type of stickers you want to make.

Sticker Paper:

Printer:

  • Inkjet Printer – Cheaper and more accessible but not great for printing saturated images because they use lots of ink
  • Laserjet Printer – More expensive but better printing quality and less ink used for the quality level

Outsourcing Sticker Printing

You can also outsource the printing of your stickers by sending your sticker design to a company that prints and cuts your stickers.

These sticker printing services take your design and manufacture a bulk order of your stickers. They specialize in printing stickers so you will have guaranteed quality and consistency among your printed stickers.

Here are some of the companies that will print stickers for you:

  • Sticker Ninja (Example offer: printing on durable vinyl for $86 plus shipping for 100pcs of 3” round stickers)
  • Sticker Mule (Example offer: printing on durable vinyl for $83 plus shipping for 100pcs of 3” round stickers)
  • GotPrint (Example offer: printing on 60lb paper and gloss labels with UV coating for $41.90 plus shipping for 100pcs of 3” round stickers)

You can also print directly from some design programs like Canva. Just remember this is a more expensive option.

Cutting Stickers

The next step is cutting out your stickers so they can be used as stickers.

Cutting Stickers Yourself

There are many different cutting tools available and you can even do it by hand with scissors if you wanted to (you don’t).

The two most popular cutting machines for stickers are:

These are commonly used by sticker sellers. I’ve found most professional sticker shop sellers use Silohouette machines but Cricut works just as well.

There are thousands of useful tutorials online to help you learn how to use either machine or troubleshoot when something goes wrong.

Outsourcing Sticker Cutting

This step of outsourcing is generally the same step as printing your stickers because these companies both print and cut the stickers to send the final product to you for selling.

Here are some of the companies that will cut stickers for you:

  • Sticker Ninja (Example offer: printing on durable vinyl for $86 plus shipping for 100pcs of 3” round stickers)
  • Sticker Mule (Example offer: printing on durable vinyl for $83 plus shipping for 100pcs of 3” round stickers)
  • GotPrint (Example offer: printing on 60lb paper and gloss labels with UV coating for $41.90 plus shipping for 100pcs of 3” round stickers)

You can also have stickers printed and cut directly from some design programs like Canva.

Selling & Shipping Stickers

You’ve got the stickers, the shop, and finally a sale! Now it’s time package your stickers to send our to customers.

Packaging and shipping your stickers is an incredibly important part of your business. Many new stickers overlook this fact and end up with less than stellar reviews early on. This can destroy all the work you’ve done to get your sticker business startup going.

The right packaging will accomplish many things:

  • branding your business
  • protecting your stickers from damage
  • delighting your customers with the experience

Everyone has had the experience of receiving a damaged order. It’s not fun and negatively reflects on the business. That’s why you should aim to provide good packaging that protects your stickers.

Packaging Basics

You have a few options to send out your stickers safely:

  • rigid mailers
  • bubble mailers
  • tissue paper (extra protection)
  • cello bags (extra protection)

You can opt to use a regular envelope but will risk having damaged items. It’s better to provide customer service upfront by sending items in the best packaging available. It might cost a bit more but you can raise prices and avoid bad reviews.

Remember that sometimes spending a little more upfront to create consistently positive customer experience is one way to set yourself apart.

Packaging Extras

You might want to include little extras with orders to create a good relationship and encourage repeat buyers.

Here are some of the extras you can include:

  • business cards with your shop name and a discount code
  • extra stickers as a bonus
  • little positive message or affirmation
  • free download of a digital product (or digital sticker set)

All of those will delight customers and make them more likely to come back for future purchases.

creating stickers on an ipad to sell online

Sticker Business Startup Costs

You might be wondering, how much will this all cost?

Your sticker business startup costs will depend on which items you already have and what you need to purchase.

Here’s a short list of the items you might need to purchase:

Depending on what you already have you might spend a couple hundred dollars up to $2,000 – $3,000 if you are buying everything including the cutting machine and iPad.

Sticker Business Startup Tips

If you plan to start a business selling stickers here are a few tips for you to succeed:

  • Be willing to test things. Don’t get so committed to one style or idea that you can’t see what the market actually wants. Start small and try out different designs. Print in small batches to test in case things don’t sell and you need to create new sticker products.
  • Research sticker markets. Like we discussed in the beginning – the sticker market overall is HUGE! Spend time researching and getting to know a small niche part of the sticker market that you want to create stickers for. Join the Facebook groups they are in, follow the hashtags they create with, and participate to learn what might sell.
  • Be unique. Standing out in a large, saturated market is difficult. It’s tempting to copy designs that are already successful but that just makes your brand look bad instead of being memorable. It takes longer to build a reputation and style of your own but it also gives your business longevity.
  • Focus on customer service. Customer service is crucial for sticker shops. Your reviews will make or break your ability to sell and scale. If you continue to send out poorly cut stickers or stickers arrive damaged due to packaging your reputation will suffer. Focus on providing excellent service before the customer receives their stickers and after as well. Refunds and replacements are something you should be willing to provide rather than fighting your customers who will ultimately leave you negative reviews.

Those are just a few of the tips I’ve picked up while watching my friends build their sticker business startups to major businesses over a couple of years. It’s an incredible business to run and there is plenty of room for new sellers to succeed!