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Anyone here doing the same business model as www.stickermule.com?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by StickerBee, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. StickerBee

    StickerBee Member

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    Hi all,

    Im starting my business similar to Sticker Mule but, I will only focus on my local market and not doing online as I can't leave my government day job that is paying my mortgage. I would like to hear the pros and cons of this type of model. I will also be doing domed stickers.

    Your insight is very much appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
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  2. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    I know a little about doming. How will you be doming? Dedicated doming machine or binary cartridges? I do limited runs here and the doming liquid isn't cheap. Price for the cartridge is spread out over the total number of units. Also need a climate controlled, dust free environment for best results.
    BTW I use an outdoor durable non-yellowing epoxy.
     
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  3. StickerBee

    StickerBee Member

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    I will be doing just short runs doming stickers using Clear Polyester Casting Resin and doing it manually using syringe. :)
     
  4. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Sounds good. Something I learned doming. Start about 1/8" in from the edge of the decal and let it flow out before filling the center. When filling the center I make concentric rings and watch the flow. After you ruin a few you quickly develop a feel for how much to dispense. I pop bubbles with a butane torch. Some have to be coaxed out with a needle.

    I do my doming on a piece of plate glass that I level with an electronic level. You need to not only have a dead flat surface, but it needs to be level side to side and front to back or you'll have trouble. Ask me how I know..:rolleyes:
     
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  5. Brandon708

    Brandon708 Very Active Member

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    I'm not sure how much business you will get locally just doing stickers. It seems like how they have their website set up is the way to go. They have a much much wider net selling online. Decals are also great for shipping because they are mostly small or can be rolled up. As for my business I couldn't just rely on doing stickers to turn a profit. When customers ask for decals I actually cringe a little now a days.
     
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  6. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Great suggestions RJ
     
  7. StickerBee

    StickerBee Member

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    Thank you Brandon! Maybe not just locally then but Province-wide and ship it to them. I have Roland BN20 sitting around which I think a good machine for a start. I have much success doing custom license plate, print it on vinyl and mount it on 4mil aluminium plate and people love it. I have hundreds of them running around the city. :) I laminate plates volume runs like Canada and Nova Scotia plates.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  8. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

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    Ahhh one of the lucky provinces that doesn't need front/back plates eh!

    Regarding your questions, we've done some doming over the years and it CAN be very profitable. The thing that can quickly kill your potential profits are using specialty materials (think chrome/brushed silver) and ordering more resin than you need. I believe ND Graphics used to carry/sell the kits and tubes but we found a much cheaper source in the states, even with the crappy exchange rate, brokerage fees and shipping.
    No idea if it's still a good deal but I can get you the contact if you like.

    Regarding the printing, your BN-20 would be perfect for those shorter runs geared towards domed decals. We usually run them on our Gerber Edge if a simple 1 color job, otherwise we run them on our Rolands, usually printing on 3M IJ180cv3 or 3M reflective. RJ gave some great tips - you definitely need a nice level glass surface for doming and curing, and ALWAYS cover your jobs while they cure/set, only once you've hit them with a torch and gotten rid of the bubbles.

    Now that I'm talking about it I kinda miss doming, once you get in the zone it's almost therapeutic.
    Unless, of course, you're doming brushed silver label stock....and you have an order for a couple hundred decals. Ouch.

    Let me know if you need any more info, I would be happy to help out a fellow Canadian eh.

    Cheers,

    Pat
     
    • I Appreciate You I Appreciate You x 1
  9. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

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    What advantage does a customer have ordering from you that they can't get from an online site like Sticker Mule? Will you be less expensive? Offer faster delivery? Broader range of products? Donating part of profits to charity? Do you have a reputation and a portfolio of distinctive art? Whatever your market edge is, capitalize on that in your advertising. People will need a reason to order from you instead of from a reliable and established company like Sticker Mule.

    If you are going to set up a shopping cart site, why would you limit yourself to just local customers? You will be spending $10k plus for even a meager shopping cart site, and monthly maintenance could cost $100 – $200 and more. You will have to figure in merchant fees and duty if shipping outside Canada.

    If this is just a hobby, and all you want to do is meet people and have something to do in your spare time, you can do whatever you want to do. If you are trying to make money, you are going to have to stand out from the crowd and sell a boat-load of stickers!

    Note: when people ask me for stickers, I refer them to Sticker Mule. There is no way I can compete with them with my modest production capabilities. Where I make my money is by designing original art that the customer can send to the printer (and for that I charge fairly, but handsomely).
     
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  10. Mascitti Bro

    Mascitti Bro Member

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    Could someone post a photo of this "domed" product? (Btw- We used to farm-out our small decal printing to a local guy before we got our own equipment to do them. He would tell me to use the stickermule site to figure out cost, and we'd just mark up from there. It honestly worked great, but just like anything you sub-out, you're at their mercy on the crucial things like turn-around time, job quality,(had to refuse one or two of their products) etc. so we can do our own now.Getting it local was key, otherwise we coulda used- and have before, stickermule)
     
  11. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

  12. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Check the cost of shipping 100 labels from ns to say bc. It's not worth it.. Shipping in Canada sucks.

    I used to sell custom stickers on say etsy... One time the shipping was close to $45 for a large decal and I had 20% off shipping. I drove to America and shipped it from USA to Canada for something like $15... USA business mode works because shipping is cheap, the Canadian shipping prices across country are insane.
     
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  13. Mascitti Bro

    Mascitti Bro Member

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    Ah, ok-now I get it. Yeah, those are pretty cool. (may have to find a youtube video of that being done-bet it's fascinating to watch.
     
  14. StickerBee

    StickerBee Member

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    Thank you all guys! You are all very much helpful, something I like in this group. Im just learning the whole workflow especially the logistics. Yes! shipping in Canada sucks and thats the reason why I limit my area of coverage unless they will cover shipping. My advantage would be high quality and yet cheaper compared to StickerMule, faster turn around, free logo design with unlimited revision if the order is more than 500 stickers. I will be doing this on the side, its hard to give up the pension I am getting from working in the government. :)
     
  15. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Be careful with being cheaper, it's not a good business model. Most people are perfectly happy with comparable prices i.e. same or close enough. Many others will pay more to deal with a person rather than a website.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  16. StickerBee

    StickerBee Member

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    My approach is more personalized where we interact either face to face or call or text. They will deal directly to me and not somebody else or through the website. I wont have a website but an active presence on Fb and Instagram as I want them to reach me anytime they want to. I will run IG and FB targeted ads at least once a month. Cheaper because I dont have much overhead plus people to pay. I do most of the logo design using Illustrator plus I have a software that will redesign if the customer would like to have their logo be converted to vector.
     
  17. StickerBee

    StickerBee Member

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    I will reach to you Pat once I have my mind wrapped around to get this started very soon. Spring is coming and crafters are now scrambling to start selling their arts, jams and baked good. :) Thank you! This is what Canadian do! Help each other eh?! Take care!
     
  18. SlikGRFX

    SlikGRFX Member

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    So you are going to offer a personalised service, free design work, higher quality products and be cheaper and faster than the market leader?

    Sounds too good to be true.
     
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  19. StickerBee

    StickerBee Member

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    Too good to be true? I am doing it now on a smaller scale on license plates and tshirts. I just want to add stickers since I have the capability in doing them. I will not be doing in rolls just on sheets so it would be easy to put them in packaging. I dont need to compete with market leaders but our province loves to support local businesses.
     
  20. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    The best thing about owning a business is that you can do things how you want to, I was just trying to give you some advice that many of us have learned over time. I promise you that you are making a mistake for yourself by being cheaper than a company that is already cheap. I believe that you can do it, no reason to make it a challenge but why? There is no compelling argument for it.
    Lets say your boss offered you a promotion and said you currently make $50k a year and this new spot pays $100k. Would you say to him great, Ill take the promotion but keep paying me $50k because I don't have kids, my house is paid for and I can live just fine on that?
    Similarly, would you go spend $200k on a machine to make something twice as fast and then turn around and cut your prices in half?
     
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