Let’s be real: you were definitely that person in high school and college with dozens of stickers on their laptop and water bottle. What can you say? Every surface should be made more beautiful by stickers that spark joy every time you look at them!
Why Start a Sticker Business?
Whether you’re a content creator, an artist, or just artsy, it might be time for you to get into sticker-making. With a low startup cost, tons of flexibility, and tools everywhere to help you get started, it’d almost be crazy not to start!
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Sticker Business?
Stickers are one of the most affordable products you can sell— and with custom sticker-making tools to help you out, it won’t take hours of technical work to jumpstart your sticky business venture.
You can start your sticker business with free design programs and a touch of creativity.
What Type of Stickers Can You Sell?
The first question to ask is why do you want to sell your stickers? A few examples of successful ways small business owners can use stickers for fun and profit:
Content Creators — If you’re a YouTuber, blogger, or social media influencer, you can design your logo, phrases, jokes, and memes into audience-loved stickers.
Artists — If you sell art, but know that many of your fans can’t afford your full-price pieces, shrinking them down into smaller sticker-sized pieces is a great way for your community to get a little taste of your work.
Musicians, Comedians, and Performers— If you already have content that you’re touring or sharing digitally, why not create them into stickers? Band logos, funny punch lines, and other memorable moments from shows can easily be stuck onto audiences’ hearts.
Sticker types can include:
- Bumper stickers
- Roll stickers
- Kisscut stickers
- Sticker sheets
- Paper stickers
- Polyester stickers
- Vinyl stickers
11 Steps to Starting a Sticker Business
Now that you’re clear on your papery adventure, follow these steps to be the best sticker-preneur you can be.
1. Research the Sticker Market
Your sticker business can be looked at in two ways: your stickers promoting existing content (like for performers or influencers), or your stickers being content (like artwork).
If you’re using your stickers to promote content, then guiding your existing audience to your sticker sales can be as simple as a link in your bio or a link in your website’s footer.
If your stickers are helping you find the audience, then research the algorithms of sticker providers and marketplaces like StickerMule, RedBubble, and Etsy.
2. Source Vendors and Suppliers and Select Your Design and Print Method
You’re now faced with yet another option for your sticker business: do you want to make the stickers yourself, or use a sticker designer and supplier to generate the images just for you?
If you’re crafty enough, you can try your skills at creating your own stickers by buying supplies on StickersStickers or Amazon, but if you’d rather sacrifice a small marketplace fee for a plug-and-play sticker designer, then a site like UPrinting is your way to go. Your budget will also have something to do with this, as you’ll need to invest more in startup fees to create a bulk number of stickers, while sites like Sticker require as little as 10 units to start.
Designing your sticker can be simple: if you’re an artist, then simply export your own design as vector artwork or a high-res image. If you’re uploading your sticker design to a print-on-demand site the best image type formats will be AI, EPS, PDF, and SVG. If you’re designing your sticker, you can use a site like Canva to create the text, remove backgrounds, and edit it with a design template.
Consider what your audience might be using your stickers for. Sticker designers and distributors will give your audience multiple options and automatically use their own templates to create them; a car bumper sticker might not be the same as a computer sticker. Some might even be able to create buttons, t-shirts, and magnets, all without having to change anything around.
3. Establish a Pricing Structure and Secure Funding
Sticker pricing is simple: price per sticker. For those who might buy more than a few, you can discount your stickers based on how many are purchased. Funding-wise, the only start-up costs you might need are supplies if you plan to handmake your stickers.
4. Choose a Business Model
E-commerce is the most common business model for a sticker business. If you’re promoting existing content, there’s no reason to open up a storefront, especially if you’re getting stickers designed by a third party. But that doesn’t mean you need to completely stray away from local marketing. Get involved in your community and host pop-ups in crafty stores and cafes to bring about awareness for your stickers or the content that the sticker is promoting.
5. Write a Business Plan
Every business needs a business plan so you don’t end up in a sticky situation. What do you want your sticker business to do for you, or what do you want selling stickers to do for the greater business you’re promoting? Do you want to make stickers as a service to others, to make stickers around shows and niches, or simply use it as another way to promote your existing venture? Write this up and continually check in with it as your business grows.
6. Choose Your Business Structure
There are a few options to make your sticker business official. If you’re promoting a larger business, then consider establishing it if you haven’t already. You may be able to write off stickers as a promotional expense.
Sole Proprietorship and General Partnership
Unincorporated; they don’t require paperwork or forming, but also don’t protect your personal assets against legal issues that might come against your business. A sole prop is for a single owner, and a general partnership is for more than 1 business owner. You can start your sticker business out like this until you feel it’s necessary to make the move.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Incorporated; requires paperwork and filing but gives you an Employer Identification Number (EIN) that allows you to open a business bank account. It also protects your personal liabilities, creating a formal business structure to protect you from any liabilities. You can start your sticker business as this so you can track write-offs like materials and supplies.
Two or more entrepreneurs go into business together but are only held liable for the amount of money they invested in their business.
Incorporated; an S Corporation has fewer than 100 shareholders and a C Corporation, which is for larger organizations and is owned by stockholders. You probably won’t be filing as a C-corp, but might file your LLC as an S-corp in the future if that’s ever needed.
7. Register Your Business
Click over to your state’s Secretary of State Office website to officially register your business, or use a business formation company like doola.
8. Obtain Licenses and Permits and Get Business Insurance
Aside from your small business license— which is what happens when you register your small business, you don’t need any licenses, permits, or insurance to start your sticker business aside from any regulatory ones from having an e-commerce store in your state.
9. Open a Business Bank Account
Let those business expenses minimize your taxes by opening a business bank account and making it that much easier to separate your business purchases from your personal ones. doola has its own fee-free global Visa business account that’s perfect for any sticker-loving entrepreneur.
10. Hire and Train Employees
If your sticker shop starts expanding, you might need some employees to help with distribution— but only if you’re designing them yourself! Otherwise, many online marketplaces that design the stickers for you can create a set-it-and-forget-it system for you.
11. Market Your Sticker Business
Free Marketing Tactics — Create a social media account as a marketing tool if your sticker business is custom or handmade. If it’s a tack-on promoting your services, then take some Instagram stories and make some posts showing where people can buy them.
Paid Marketing Tactics — If your sticker business is growing, you can invest in pay-per-click advertising or search engine optimization (SEO) by creating a website.
Let doola Help You Stick Your Way to Success
Starting a sticker business is a great way to do what you love. Focus your creativity on creating new designs and leave your non-creative side of the business to us. Manage your sticker business finances with ease with doola’s bookkeeping services so you can grow to sticky success!
How much does it cost to start a sticker business?
Starting a sticker business can be totally free by creating a RedBubble or StickerMule account if you already have a design. If you’d like to sell your sticker on Etsy and handmake them, you can start out your business for under $100.
Is it profitable to sell stickers?
Sticker selling through e-commerce marketplaces can be a simple set-it-and-forget-it option for those wanting to promote their services but not having the time to manage another business. Hand-designing stickers can also be profitable if you utilize the power of Etsy, Shopify, and other online marketplaces to get your name out there.
What do you need for sticker business?
The simplest thing you need for a sticker business is the sticker design. Online designers can take it from there. If you’re making handmade stickers, then you’ll need sticker paper, a laminate machine, a printer, and a vinyl-cutting machine.
Is there a demand for stickers?
While there isn’t necessarily a demand for stickers— particularly decorative ones— you’ll see audiences and communities pay for stickers that reflect their likes and passions to design their cars, laptops, water bottles, and more.