If you’re looking for a new business, there might be no better option than starting a sticker shop.
One look on Google Trends reveals that stickers have become an increasingly popular search term over the last decade. While they might have mostly appealed mostly to children in the past, they’re now popular across a variety of communities—from organizational planners to merchandisers and the gifting industry, to name a few. Plenty of niches have found stickers to be a profitable product worth selling.
In this post, we’re covering everything you need to know about how to start a sticker business.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get it.
Starting a Sticker Shop: Why it’s a Good Idea
Launching a sticker business might be the perfect venture if you’ve been looking for an online business idea that:
- Requires low upfront investment
- Can be executed entirely from home
- Has the potential to develop into a passive stream of income
As we’ve already said, stickers are hugely popular across a wide variety of niches, making them the perfect addition if you already have an online store. Equally, if you’re starting a completely new business, they’re a popular enough niche in themselves that you can build an entire audience around them.
Either way, you’re bound to find demand for your stickers with some customer research and clever marketing.
In addition, stickers are easy to create yourself or source, especially if you opt to go down the dropshipping route. If you dropship your sticker products, all you have to do is launch your online store and set up a few automated workflows, then you could sell your products on autopilot! All you’d have to do to keep your store running is add new sticker designs, market your products, and keep a handle on your customer services.
On the flip side, if you’re looking to take a more hands-on approach, you can very feasibly handle everything yourself—designing, printing, and shipping from home. None of the equipment has to take up much space, so it could quickly become a venture you have 100% control over.
Plus, there’s lots of flexibility with this product idea. You can sell stickers on their own or in bundles, and easily create matching sets with attractive color schemes and seasonal appeal.
Does this all sound like the right business for you? Read more to find out exactly how to get your sticker shop started.
Find a Niche
As we’ve mentioned, there are plenty of different audience groups that love stickers and could become your new customer base.
When starting a sticker business, it’s essential to pick a specific niche and tailor your products, marketing, and branding to meet the needs of this audience. This massively increases the likelihood of attracting and engaging potential customers.
That said, below are some niche audiences that love stickers to get you on the right track.
The Planner Community
If you haven’t heard of this highly creative (and very organized) community before, you’re in for a treat. These hobbyists beautifully decorate their weekly, yearly, and even daily planners and calendars.
Often, they use stickers to remind them of important dates, spruce up their planner designs, commemorate celebrations, and even visually represent chores, to-dos, and responsibilities—among other things.
The planner community often collects stationery of all kinds to decorate their diaries and organizers. As such, stickers are in high demand.
If you’re thinking of targeting this niche, consider creating stickers that are both functional and decorative. Cute and pretty themes tend to work exceptionally well. Planner addicts want everything from cleaning-themed stickers to simple numbers and dates; pretty floral decor to inspirational quotes bursting with personality.
Small business owners are another niche that benefits from stickers. Just think of the vast range of functional stickers brands can use to enhance their unboxing experience! Thank-you stickers, sticker sheet freebies for customers, and stickers that can be used to seal tissue paper and product boxes are just a few examples.
“Sticker marketing” is actually a bit of a buzzword for business owners, with promotional stickers now recognized as an essential tool to have in the marketing mix—according to the marketing director at Websticker.
Sticker marketing for businesses is cost-effective, fun, and a great way to enforce your brand image and voice. Stickers are also an effective way to generate word-of-mouth marketing and communicate personality without focusing solely on language—making them a viable marketing option for businesses with international audiences.
If you have a great sense of humor and can think of quick quotes to turn into stickers, bumper stickers might be a good niche for you. These are displayed in the backs of people’s cars and often communicate a lot of personality. Bold, colorful, and daring stickers often do well in this niche.
Decorational Vinyl Stickers
With vinyl stickers, you can create designs that customers can stick onto their mugs, water bottles, backpacks, guitar bags, suitcases, etc.—you can plaster these types of stickers onto virtually anything! Like bumper stickers, stickers that are bursting with personality work well here.
Bands & Merchandising
And finally, stickers also make excellent merch to promote you or your brand! If you already have your own online community that loves your content, a sticker business is a great way to monetize your viewership.
In this scenario, your stickers should be themed around your content—whether it’s your podcast, music, videos, show, book, or anything else. Do you have a catchphrase? Does your branding use specific colors? Is there something your following resonates with? Consider things like this as you go about designing your merch stickers and they’re far more likely to appeal to your audience.
How to Make Stickers
There are no rules when it comes to sticker design. But, the easiest way to design these products from scratch is to use digital imaging software. There are plenty of tools to choose from on the market—some creators swear by Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator or you can also use free digital art tools like Krita. The most important thing is that you’re able to design high-quality art and save your files as JPEGs or PNGs.
Where to Sell Your Stickers
Once you’ve picked your audience and designed your products, it’s time to start selling. Fortunately, there are several platforms you can use to begin selling stickers online.
Sell Stickers on Etsy
Etsy is a digital marketplace for people who sell vintage, hand-crafted, and unique items. Plenty of small businesses and creative individuals sell on this platform.
To get going with Etsy, create an account and start listing your products. There are no up-front fees besides a 20-cent listing fee per item, which means you can get started with Etsy very easily.
That said, Etsy charges a transaction and processing fee on each item you sell, so be sure to factor that into your profit margins.
By selling on Etsy, you’ll benefit from its existing traffic and search function. Here, shoppers can search for exactly what they’re looking to buy—like stickers! So there’s a chance you’ll benefit from Etsy’s massive organic traffic stream of small-business-friendly customers as they search for the kinds of products you’re selling
The downside with Etsy, however, is that you will have a harder time building brand recognition and traction for your own website. Since you’re just one shop listing amongst a sea of others, it’s more difficult to stand out and make a name for your brand.
The great news is that you can sell on Etsy as well as your own independent online store, which can help you get the best of both worlds.
Sell Stickers on Shopify
If you want to launch your own sticker shop, start it with Shopify.
Shopify (Shopify Review) is one of the most popular and scalable ecommerce platforms. With it, you can create your own online store from scratch quickly and easily. Shopify comes with a wide range of features to manage your business and inventory, plus, you can extend its functionality further using the wide range of apps in the Shopify App Store.
The advantage of launching your own store on Shopify is that you have complete control over it. Your profits are your own (besides the transaction cut Shopify takes), you have complete control over your website’s look and branding, and you can drive traffic to your own platform. However, this also means that all of the marketing is your responsibility, and you also shoulder more of the costs.
Think of your Shopify store as being like an independent boutique while an Etsy store is like a store in a mall. A boutique gets to choose its own hours, how the store looks, how it drives foot traffic into the store, what it sells, etc. whereas a store in a mall has to abide by the mall’s rules but gets the benefits of all foot traffic coming to the mall already.
There are pros and cons to both, but ultimately having a Shopify store gives store owners more control to run things their way.
Sell Stickers on Redbubble
Redbubble is an online marketplace where illustrators and designers can upload their work, and Redbubble handles the production, shipping, and customer service!
It’s a fantastic option if you just want to sell sticker designs without getting involved in the other aspects of running a business like storing your own inventory, getting a sticker printer, or even interacting with dropshipping or printing companies.
Ultimately, however, Redbubble is best suited to merchants who are happy to keep their business as a side-hustle, or as an add-on to an Etsy or Shopify store. It’s not as easy to grow your brand with the Redbubble platform because you don’t have as much opportunity to build brand loyalty or nurture customer relationships.
Sell Your Sticker Designs on Creative Market
If you’re an illustrator, artist, designer, or digital creator in general, and you want to create sticker designs without printing them on any kind of product, there’s also an option to just sell your digital design files.
On marketplaces like Creative Market, you can sell sticker designs to other people or businesses who want to create and sell stickers. All you have to do is make the designs, upload a listing on Creative Market, and others can buy them! There’s no printing or product-making on your part—you simply create the designs.
Plus, with Creative Market’s licensing options, you’ll be able to earn more for each design if brands or businesses are buying them with the intention to sell.
This is a great option if you want to focus on the creative side of starting a sticker business, and not so much on the sales, inventory, and logistics side.
Starting a Sticker Business: How to Dropship Stickers
Dropshipping is the simplest way to start a sticker shop today.
Put simply, dropshipping is a business model where a third-party company takes care of the manufacturing, printing, and shipping of sticker products. Each time you sell a sticker, your dropshipping company will print, cut, and package the sticker, and then they’ll send the order straight off to the customer.
From the customer’s perspective, it’ll look like the product came straight from you, but all you have to do is design the sticker, sell the product, and handle any customer service inquiries along the way. The process is also entirely automated, so you don’t have to forward orders manually—making it even easier for you!
If you want to get started selling stickers as quickly and easily as possible, we recommend working with a dropshipper. They’re also printing experts, so your products will come out looking great!
Below are two of the top dropshippers that we recommend.
Printful’s stickers are made from a durable vinyl with a wide enough border for smooth and easy peeling. They can also be printed in any shape! To get started, submit your designs as PNGs or JPEGs and follow the on-screen instructions.
Printful (Printful Review) is one of the best dropshipping suppliers in the world, and they sell a lot more than just stickers, so you can also sell your designs on other products as well.
Printful also integrates with a wide range of ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, so you just have to connect it to your store and all your orders will automatically flow through seamlessly.
Gooten also sells kiss cut and die cut stickers in a broad range of sizes. They come with a matte finish and are weather-resistant and multi-purpose.
They’re another great dropshipper, and they also sell more products than just stickers, so they’re worth checking out.
How to Get Your Stickers Printed
Dropshipping is a great model if you’re just starting out. But at some point, you might want to have more control over your inventory (and a little more room in your profit margins).
This is where a printing partner is useful.
By working with a printer like Sticker Mule, you can get stickers printed in bulk and sent out to you. You can print anything from custom stickers, labels, mailers, and tape, so they’re kind of like a one-stop sticker shop. They also offer free worldwide shipping and free online proofs for a faster turnaround.
A printer partner like Sticker mule just prints your stickers though—you’ll have to handle all of your customers’ orders. This is great if you want to manage those parts of your business, but remember that you’ll have to be ordering inventory, packing orders, printing shipping labels, dealing with post offices or shipping couriers, managing returns, and so much more.
It’s great if you want to manage those parts of your business, but it also takes a lot of time and know-how so keep that in mind.
When you get stickers printed with a printer, you also have to order in bulk which takes time and upfront cash flow. When you work with a dropshipper like Printful, you’re able to print one sticker at a time and you don’t have to purchase it until a customer has made an order from you. So it’s much more agile to work with a dropshipper and makes it easier for new businesses to get started.
But, you get better prices if you bulk-buy stickers and store them in your home, ready to ship out when they’re ordered. For example, you can get 10,000 Sticker Mule kiss-cut stickers for $1,225.
Printing Your Own Stickers
As your brand grows, you might even want to start printing your own stickers for more control over profit margins, production, product quality, and turnaround times.
You don’t even need a particular sticker printer to create stickers at home. That said, a professional printer may ensure better quality.
To create homemade stickers, you’ll need inkjet paper or vinyl, and either pre-cut labels or whole sheets of sticker paper.
Pre-cut labels are great if you print stickers that share the same shape and are easy to cut. However, if you have more elaborate stickers with various sizes and shapes, you’ll just want to print the stickers on a sheet and cut them yourself.
You’ll need to look for matte label paper and use a printer with pigment ink if you need to produce weather-resistant stickers. This ink has more archival properties and sticks to paper better than dye-based ink.
Vinyl makes for the most durable option and is excellent for all types of stickers. In addition, they can be home-printed and made waterproof using laminate and clear coat spray.
To produce good-quality stickers at home, you may need to invest in a high-quality printer, ink, and paper. However, once you’ve invested in your preferred tools and are all set up, you’ll likely save money in the long run by handling everything from home. Remember, however, that printing stickers does tend to be a time-consuming process, so consider the fact that you’ll need to be overseeing the production process or you’ll need to hire employees to oversee the production process instead.
Tips & Sticker Business Best Practices
Now you know how to start selling stickers online but even once your shop is up and running, there are plenty of things to consider to ensure the best possible success.
These are a few tips to keep in mind.
Offer a Choice
Stickers are excellent collectible items. With so many available on the market, it’s easy for customers to keep browsing until they find exactly what they’re looking for. Sometimes you can secure a purchase just by offering a few variations of the stickers you’re selling—for example, different color sets with the same theme.
Not to mention, your store will look a lot better if it has a wide variety of stickers available.
Adopt Seasonal Trends
Don’t miss out on new sticker trends or seasonal events. Hitting occasions like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, Halloween, weddings, birthdays, and more will increase your chances of securing sales.
Understand Your Target Audience
Make sure that your products are actually what customers want to see. Once you’ve identified your sticker niche, spend some time in communities that use stickers like yours to find out what consumers want. You’ll more quickly be able to identify trends and best-sellers that could inspire your next product idea.
Invest in Marketing
To get your sticker shop off on the right foot, invest in the marketing process. That means learning how to optimize your product listing’s SEO to get more eyeballs on your stickers. It also means engaging on social media and actively promoting your products. You could even consider giving away the occasional freebie to start a mailing list. There are tons of ways to market yourself online, so do some research and throw yourself in!
The Pros & Cons of Selling Stickers
To help you decide whether starting a sticker business is the right path for you, below are some of the key advantages and disadvantages.
- Stickers are small and light, making them an easy product to store and ship from your own home
- It’s an ideal product idea for creatives wanting to design their own stickers. Illustrators, designers, artists, typographers, and photographers can all find a way to create an on-brand sticker collection
- There’s a wide range of communities and niches are interested in stickers, making it easier to target a profitable audience
- Stickers are easy to source from dropshippers like Printful and printers like Sticker Mule and are even an easy product to make from home
- You can quickly create or source lots of inventory to offer customers a wide selection of sticker products
- You only need to design a sticker once, then you can sell it over and over again
- You can even sell your sticker designs on marketplaces like Creative Market
- Stickers are easy to bundle to create enticing offers
- With stickers, the average order value is typically low. This means that you need to sell lots of units to generate a considerable profit
- The profit margins lower a little bit more if you’re dropshipping, so keep that in mind as you price your sticker products
- You’ll need to produce new products often to keep up with trends and respond to seasonal demands
- There’s a learning curve involved in educating yourself on how to make stickers. However, if you’re already a designer, artist, or illustrator, then you’re already one step ahead
- To succeed in this niche, you’ll need to spend lots of time marketing to get your products in front of the right people. Focus on building a core audience of consumers that repeatedly buy your new product drops so you don’t have to keep driving new traffic every single time
Are You Ready to Start a Sticker Business?
Stickers are some of the most fun, imaginative, and versatile products you can create from the comfort of your own home. With some creative design skills and a good sense of entrepreneurship, you could start your own sticker business in a matter of days.
Whichever way you decide to launch your sticker business, we hope this article has inspired you and you know how you can get up and running.