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17 Things To Know Before Starting An Etsy Sticker Business

  • Etsy

Stating a sticker business on Etsy can seem like a great way to become an online entrepreneur. I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to make it into the perfect start-up business idea.

Jana Lopez, Entrepreneur

Jana is a serial entrepreneur and copywriter. Having worked in start-ups, and on her own ventures over the last five years, she’s an expert in platforms like Etsy, Reddit and TikTok.

Having sold stickers of my artworks for a number of years, I’ll take you through everything you need to know, including:

  • The online tools and offline equipment you’ll need.
  • The decisions you’ll need to make (i.e designing your own stickers vs. buying someone else’s designs)
  • Product considerations, such as paper quality and ink costs
  • Other considerations, such as packaging, branding and shipping.

Let’s go.

How can I start a sticker business on Etsy?

Etsy is the chosen marketplace for most people selling creative, home made products because of its huge reach and built-in selling features. However, alongside an Etsy store you should also create your own website and brand, because you have more control over these assets and won’t have to pay Etsy seller fees through your own sales.

That said, before you even get as far as selling, there are a number of considerations. Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Decide who will design the stickers

You may be thinking of starting a sticker business precisely because you’re desperate to get into the designs. However, there are pros and cons to consider, and if the business side interests you more, you might choose to hire designers off websites like Fiverr, Upwork and Behance to do that side of the work for you.

The pros of self design

  • You may have dreamed of selling your own designs. Being in control of every piece of your sticker design is a positive and empowering experience. Plus, you might feel more motivated if the designs are your own.
  • You may also have a unique design angle in mind, and want to take that to market. Seeing other people buy your designs is a confirmation of your talent and skill as an artist.

The pros of getting a designer

  • If you want to scale up fast, there are hundreds of little things you can do, and removing yourself as a chief designer means you’ll be able to give more attention to other sides of the business, such as customer service and building your brand.
  • Not having to design all your products also means you’ll be able to build a larger inventory of designs, possibly featuring multiple designers. You’ll have far more at your disposal and a varied product base will help you earn revenue faster and easier.

Things to consider:

If you want to get a third party designer, you’ll need to find someone who fits your styles and is fun and professional to work with. You can try platforms such as:

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • Behance
  • Simply Hired

You should also check the legal and licensing arrangements to make sure that you own the property you’re selling.

2. Nail down your target audience

Hippie Van Aesthetic Travel Travelling Vinyl Glossy Sticker image 1
Pick an Etsy sticker audience

Deciding on who does the designs, or even your design style will probably come down to who you’re aiming at. You’ll want to be consistent with your brand, by picking a niche that you can master.

Different groups include:

  • Children – Kids LOVE stickers and there’s no limit to their imagination
  • Students / backpackers – If you’ve been backpacking, you’ll know that plenty of them have bags, books and laptops covered with personalised stickers. Students the same.
  • Companies – Corporate stickers are a massive sector. Every goodie bag, branding package and corporate get-together usually contains giveaways, and stickers are almost always included.
Different sticker business audiences on Etsy

3. Decide your business name

Your name is a huge part of your brand, and also something you’ll have to live with as long as you’re selling stickers. To pick a business name, you’ll want to have your audience considerations in mind, but also a vision about what you’re trying to build.

Once you decide your name, you’ll want to secure the domain so you can start building a brand.

Make sure you also check:

  • That your name is available through Etsy and any other platforms you want to sell on
  • That the social handles are available. The last thing you’ll want to do is build a brand on a name that’s already taken.

Here’s a free name generator for your sticker business to help you out. Just put in two words to get started. If a name stands out then click it and you’ll be able to see its availability.

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4. Select a sticker cutter

Sticker cutters sound like a small niche, but you’d be amazed at how many incredible options there are on the market. This is one of your most important early investments.

Here are three of the best:

Silhouette Cameo | Etsy sticker business cutter

Silhouette Cameo 4

  • The Silhouette Cameo 4 is a vinyl cutter that can do more than just stickers.
  • It works seamlessly with a variety of materials, such as vinyl, paper, and fabric. It can also handle stickers that are up to 12 inches wide.
  • This product comes with a variety of tools that help you create beautiful stickers.

Find out more

Portrait 3

  • The Portrait is a great machine for vinyl sticker production, but it isn’t as flexible with cut sizes as the other machines.
  • The Portrait 3 is a great addition due to its portability and compactness. It’s also smaller and lighter than the previous model.

Find out more

Etsy sticker cutters | Cricut Explore Air

Cricut Explore Air 2

  • Explore 2 is a versatile cutter that can handle a wide variety of printed materials, such as paper, vinyl, and poster board.
  • The Cricut Explore Air 2 can be used with Bluetooth for wireless cutting. This makes it a perfect flexible option for a wide range of projects.

5. Choose the right digital software

If you have a design background you’ll probably be familiar with the Adobe suite, from Photoshop, to Lightroom, to Illustrator.

However, you need to do your research around the best design software for your sticker business, because you’ll want to be able to seamlessly print out your designs onto your machine.

Silhouette cameo is easy to use and has good customer support, but depending on the types of stickers your business is selling, you’ll need to make the right choice for you.

6. Decide on materials

Before you buy a printer, it’s good to try different types of paper and materials. You’ll need to do plenty of research around decisions like:

  • Glossy or Matte
  • Paper thickness
  • Adhesive quality
  • Size that will fit in the printer
  • Materials (vinayl, cardboard, paper)

You should visit a local printing shop and ask plenty of questions. If you can, it’s always good to see if you can get some samples so you can feel the quality. Printed samples would be even better!

7. Work out your costs

Before making a penny, you will have some basic overheads to cover. As soon as you start printing, you’ll also be factoring in things like ink costs, so it’s worth adding everything up at the start, so you can work out what margins you need to make your sticker business profitable.

Here are some of the costs:

  • Domain & hosting
  • Cutting machine
  • Printer
  • Packaging
  • Materials & ink
  • Accounting software
  • Business insurance
  • Etsy seller fees (calculate those here)
  • Branding & logo design (if you don’t do it yourself)
  • Design software subscription

That might look like an intimidating list, but if you’re planning to sell stickers at any kind of scale then you could still make a very, very healthy profit.

Some of the costs on the list above are also minimal, such as Bluehost (domain hosting) for around $2.99 per month, and Adobe suite for less than $15.

You can also get a logo and brand made up for almost nothing on a site like Fiverr. However, it’s good to add everything up and be aware of your costs from day one.

8. Pick your packaging

Packaging for your sticker business will likely depend on other factors, such as the size of your stickers, how far you’re choosing to ship them, and the materials you use.

However, good packaging can make all the difference when it comes to professionalism, and you certainly won’t want your stickers getting damaged in transit and having to deal with returns or bad reviews from customers.

You’ll want packaging that can be:

  • Branded and customized with your logo.
  • Robust enough to protect your stickers
  • Cheap enough not to knock too much off your bottom line.

9. Choose your price point

As a new seller, you might want to price your stickers extremely competitively to get your business up and running.

You won’t be making tonnes straight away, but at the start it’s more important to:

  • Get your name and brand out there.
  • Build up some positive reviews on Etsy and external sites like Trustpilot.
  • Create sales through word of mouth.

Pricing your products competitively will help you achieve all of this, and then you can up prices as you become more skilled and established at running your store, and others start to recommend you to friends.

You might also want to consider some freebies at the start, or special edition releases to act as teasers to drive early sales. You’ll also likely offer bundles to bring the pricing down, such as a set amount for 10, 50 or 100 stickers. The image below is an example of this:

Image shows how to package your Etsy sticker business with pricing bundles
Source: awesomemerchandise.com/

Having good visibility of your costs will help you get your price point well – as will looking at competitors.

Which brings me neatly on to…

10. Do your research

There is so much you can learn from your established competitors when it comes to running your sticker business. From prices to audience profiles, and popular designs to branding, someone else will have already gone down the path you’re hoping to take.

From visiting someone else’s store you can find out so much information, including:

  • Pricing
  • Shipping
  • Product variety
  • Reviews
  • Return policy
  • Materials

11. Create a brand

To appear more like a brand, and less like a one-off product, you’ll want to start your Etsy show with at least 10 products. At the start, I recommend that these are all from the same niche.

To give users that feeling that they are buying your brand, you need to create a number of visual assets, including:

  • A logo
  • Cover photos for your social media
  • Taglines on your social profiles
  • A colour scheme for your home page
  • A website that reflects your personality across social channels and your Etsy shop.
  • Packaging colours and styles that match your product
  • Email signatures

If you are thinking of creating a logo for your own business, then do some research on websites that sell logos. You could also hire an illustrator for as little as $10 on a site like Fiverr. Alternatively, design your own!

When you first start a small business like a sticker business, you need to use a picture of yourself to build authenticity and give your customers someone to relate to.

You also need a banner and a picture for your shop, which should be professional with a great, impactful design.

12. Plan your photography

When you’re selling a visual product, you need to understand that people are going to buy it off the picture, not what it really looks like.

If you’re going to take your own photos, look at some free sites like Unsplash to see what makes their photography really pop. You’ll need a decent camera, great lighting and an eye for angles and photo composition. It’s key that your photos look like a suite, not just one-offs, as this will start building your brand.

Start a sticker business on Etsy

If you don’t have the skills or It’ll take you too long, reach out to professionals on the usual channels like Fiverr and Upwork.

13. Reach out to influencers

A sticker business is perfect for influencer marketing.

They are low cost to print and send, and highly visual. Plus, if you get your target audience right, you can make sales from day one with influencers.

Go to a platform like Instagram or TikTok and start contacting people who might be a good fit. For example, if you’re doing backpacker stickers, send them to those who have a moderate following in the same area.

14. Create Etsy listings.

Etsy is a simple, intuitive marketplace to use. You just need to be aware of the various listing fees. Use our Etsy calculator for the following countries:

  • USA
  • UK
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

15. Write creative descriptions

Price and visuals will do more than anything else to shift your stickers, but having a sticker business still means you should pay some attention to your copywriting.

Be creative in your descriptions and tell stories about your influences and inspiration. People like their products to feel human, and you’ll definitely boost your sales if you speak passionately about your stickers.

16. Create processes

Running an Etsy sticker business sounds simple, but there is so much that goes into it, from design to outreach and marketing to packaging. However, you’ll thank yourself if you get organized from day one.

Try creating actionable lists and building positive habits from the word go. Assign yourself time limits to do certain tasks and whatever you do – don’t only do the part of your business that you love! Do the tasks you dislike first thing and you’ll have a better day.

17. Ask for reviews

You might feel that it’s rude to ask, but your sticker business will thrive if you can get some positive testimonials and a high rating under your belt.

Try sending a few free stickers in your orders to convince people you’ve gone above and beyond, or include a little handwritten note asking for a review. Make it as easy as possible for people to do it, but giving them all the information they need.

You can also ask for reviews in order confirmations and during interactions with customers. On occasions you may like to send a message to your buyer through the platform, asking them what they thought of their order if and if they’d give you a review.

Etsy Review Card Instant Download Etsy Seller Thank You | Etsy
Get testimonials with cards in your sale

How to start a sticker business on Etsy: a conclusion

Starting a sticker business on Etsy is like any other great shop idea. It takes hard work, organization and creativity to turn it into a reality.

My biggest personal advice would be to delegate tasks that you can’t do straight away so you don’t waste time on them, and work on building a brand from day one. Make sure your product looks and feels consistent across different platforms and packaging, and don’t be afraid to ask people to comment and leave you reviews.

Building a business on Etsy is about being proactive – if you don’t ask, you won’t get! Good luck!