This article may contain affiliate links. See our full disclosure for more information.
This week I’ve been talking to Macy, a university student and blogger who makes money on the side by designing and selling stickers on Etsy. I asked her to share a little bit about what she does. We’ll also be looking at how to start a sticker business of your own using Etsy and what you might need to get started.
Here’s what Macy had to say:
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Macy, I am a junior at the University of Oregon majoring in Business and I also run my blog My Life As Macy, a blog all about my life and journey as a college student and small business owner. I love traveling, reading, writing, spending time with my friends and family, and dabble in a little bit of cooking and share my love of all of that through my blog. One of my other passions is also decorative planning and organization which is where the inspiration behind my small business came from.
What’s your ‘money maker’ and what does it involve?
My money maker is a small website, which started out as an Etsy shop, called Sunset Sticker Co.The names explains the basics of what it is, a shop where I make and sell stickers, specifically designed for planners, but I do create custom items for other things such as water bottles and laptops occasionally.
How long have you been doing it & why did you start?
I started my business soon after my high school graduation in August 2017 because I was spending so much money on stickers for my planner that I started wanting to make my own to save money. While I was at it, I figured I could probably sell some too!
How much money can you make selling stickers?
Different planner sticker shops make different amounts of money. I know a few shops who started the trend who make tens of thousand of dollars (or even more!), some shops like mine make enough to be able to live off of it, but for others, and most, it is just a hobby to help pay for college, like me, children’s dance classes or sports lessons, or just to have extra spending money for fun things!
What’s your favourite thing about designing and selling stickers?
My favourite thing about it, besides being able to make my own stickers, is getting to meet and interact with so many kindhearted, amazing people!
The planner community has such a wide variety of people from so many different backgrounds that I am always learning new things!
What’s been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge definitely has been trying to keep up with the change in trends and competing with other shops.
For the last 12 months or so, it was my only source of income and how I supported myself so for a while I was working constantly to put out new products, market and advertise those products and sales I was doing, and of course actually creating them.
Now that I am trying to buy a house I have since cut back on making it a full time job and am doing my best to put work into it when I have the time for it.
Is there any advice you’d give to someone wanting to try selling stickers?
Advice I would give to someone wanting to try this is do not start a sticker shop unless you 100% love everything about this community and do not dive into it expecting to make a living off of it.
If you are doing it for the sole purpose of wanting to make money, trust me, it will not be fun and you will not succeed – the people in the planning community can tell the difference and they of course are the ones who buy your products and give you that money.
Where can we find you?
I offer free planner sticker printables on my website, My Life As Macy, every Monday which are always awesome, but if you aren’t wanting to put in the work (trust me I know it can be a lot!) or want more variety, you can still find me on Etsy and my website.
I highly recommend you shop the website over Etsy though! Not all products are on both sites so if you see something on Etsy and want it on the website, just let me know, I would be more than happy to add it for you, but prices on the website are MUCH cheaper than Etsy and I also ship those orders prior to ones on Etsy!
If you do decide to shop with me feel free to use the code MISSMANYPENNIES for 20% off!
How to start a sticker business on Etsy – the basics
If you’re wanting to make money selling stickers, Etsy is the perfect place to start. Stickers are already a trending product and you gain access to a prebuilt market of customers already interested in what you have to offer.
There are 2 routes you can go down when it comes to selling stickers – you can make and ship physical products, or you can create and sell printable as digital products. Both are viable options when it comes to starting a sticker business, but vary greatly in what you’ll need to have to get started.
How to make stickers to sell – what you’ll need
First and foremost, you’ll need a cutting machine, such as a Cricut. This is a really popular brand of vinyl cutter, but there are lots of different brands (and different prices!) available. The Silhouette cameo is also another popular choice.
It’s worth doing your research when choosing what to buy. You can obviously look at reviews of specific products, but a good place to start is by joining Facebook communities of people working with the machines -there are lots out there – and these are also really good for finding ideas and inspiration as well as helpful advice for using your machine.
You’ll need to consider which software you’ll want to use while creating your designs too, and how compatible it is with the cutting machine you’ll be using.
There are lots of Youtube tutorials for creating designs and stickers so that’s another good resource to use while setting up or working your sticker business.
Next you’ll need a printer to print your stickers on. Make sure you consider what kind of paper you’ll be using and how thick it is – this will affect whether your printer is capable of printing on to it. Also consider the cost of ink.
You’ll also need your sticker paper or vinyl itself.
What kind of stickers will you sell?
While you’re deciding on which products you need to buy to start out, you’ll want to decide which kind of stickers you’ll sell and for what purpose. You could sell paper stickers, perhaps for kids reward charts. Paper stickers are a good way to keep costs down and be able to sell your products for a low cost.
Vinyl stickers are probably the most popular choice. These are a bit more expensive, but long-lasting and durable. You can use them on most surfaces, and they’ll even work on curved surfaces, such as water bottles.
Finding your niche
The sticker market may be popular, but there is a LOT of competition. You need to think about what is going to make you stand out. What makes your stickers better than your competitors?
Take a good look at what’s already out there and decide what direction you’re going to take. You want to find an area that’s popular with buyers, but where you can also put a unique spin and add something of your own.
If you love the designing but want to bypass all the expense and time creating the physical stickers you could try outsourcing your actual sticker printing to custom print services such as Sticker Mule. This way you can upload your designs and they will print and send you your stickers. Obviously this will cost you more than to make yourself and cut into your profits, but it’s also a good way to dip your toes in the water of sticker selling without the initial outlay of purchasing all the equipment needed.
Creating your Etsy sticker shop
It’s easy to sign up for an Etsy account and start creating your own Etsy shop. You’ll need to choose a name for your business and create your branding to look professional. You can upload your branding images to your profile.
It’s recommended that before you open your shop you have at least 10 products ready to sell. You’ll need to add each product in its own listing along with a description, making sure to target the keywords for what you’re selling. You’ll also need to set out your own policies, such as what delivery options and schedules you’ll offer and your refund policy.
Check out the pricing of your competitors to get an idea of what others are charging so you can make sure you’re in the right range when setting your own prices. Make sure to factor in shipping costs and whether you’ll include these or charge separately.
One thing to take note of is that because stickers can be a small and low profit margin item, you might want to consider selling your stickers in packs or bundles. This way you don’t lose out so much on the shipping of individual items.
Marketing your sticker shop
Once you’re all set up and running it’s time to start marketing yourself! Sending out free samples is a simple way to gain some extra advertising. Showcasing your products on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok is brilliant for getting more exposure to your business. People love to watch ‘in process’ videos too, so don’t forget to add in some content of you throughout the creative process!
How much can you make selling stickers on Etsy?
How much you can make selling stickers varies greatly depending on how much time you can dedicate to it and what niche you go into. Shay from Shay Budgets was able to make nearly $30,000 a year selling stickers for budget planners! Others, like Macy above do it more as a hobby and earn extra spending money.