Ever since I wrote a blog post on starting a sticker business I have been contacted by a number of people looking for guidance on how to turn their original artwork into a profitable sticker product. Their inquiries are usually along the lines of what John recently wrote…
“I’ve been doing research about turning my original art into stickers but the more time I spend online the more confused I get… I have the product and I believe in it but the business end of it isn’t typically my strong point. I have a niche market figured out but do I first take samples to potential stores/shops to get a feel for demand? Do I jump right in and create a website? I see that most professional printers charge a minimum run for the best prices but do I wait for the orders to come in before ordering?…..HELP!!!!!”
It is a good sign that he “has a niche market figured out”. The initial step in creating a profitable product (or business for that matter) is knowing who you are targeting and best ways (and locations) to get in front of them with your product or offering. I thought it might be helpful to others considering creating a sticker product with their artwork to share my reply to John. This might not be the best advice for everyone, or timing and steps might differ, but these were my thoughts for his current situation.
• Don’t initially jump in and create a website. It is very difficult to attract people to that site and you will probably be better off initially selling through e-bay, etsy, or another platform. Or, selling them in bulk through retail if possible. It’s always better to sell lots of 50, 100, 250, etc. at a time then to do the work to sell one at a time online.
Down the line when things get rolling, it is very easy these days to set up super simple (cheap) websites and use PayPal for sales transactions. Check out this sample site/page we’ve done to sell American Flag Stickers or this site for our Ned merch. The same thing can be done with any artistic sticker products.
• I would fine tune the design and make decisions on best size, shape, material, print method, etc. and get production pricing for 1000 on up to determine what price point and quantities you will need to focus in on in your plan. Websticker can help you with this next step at no charge. You would just need to send over artwork for review and we can make cost saving or product enhancing suggestions. If you have multiple designs (which is a good idea) you may want to initially focus on just the best designs or designs that can be grouped together in the same production run.
• I think it makes sense to take color mock-ups or samples to any potential stores, re-sellers, and potential buyers to get a feel for what they like (feedback) and if they would be willing to order some when they are made. What designs do they like best? Would they need a retail display of some type (or would they just put them out in a stack)? What price point do they think is best (this will help determine your initial order minimum). Can they commit to an order of 50, 100, or more? Don’t offer to sell on commission or take unsold returns.
• It probably won’t work or project strong commitment to take pre-orders. It really isn’t that much to invest in an order of high quality product after you have confirmed there will be some buyers. With inventory you have proper samples to assist with sales efforts and fulfill orders in a timely (immediate) manner.
Hopefully, these quick thoughts are helpful to anyone thinking about turning their original artwork into a profitable sticker product. As an artist or designer it is understandable to perhaps worry about the business side of the equation. The good news is that a sticker business can be started in a very small, grass roots manner. And, there is help available to make sure your art and product is presented in the most cool, desirable, profitable way possible.