Posted at 

April 10, 2018


Grâce Ouendo


You can always make a living out of your passion. Creativity  has a way of paying off when you persevere enough. There is a lot of potential in the stickers business as well.

It  might look insignificant as a business, but every business taken seriously has the tendency to be successful.

To start a custom decals business there are different aspects or angles you have to consider. Like every other business, starting and sustaining it will not be easy, but it will depend on your long-term goals and what you want to make out of it. First of all, do you want it to be a side work, a hobby or you want to make a living out of it? This questions will determine the approach towards achieving your goals.

Some call it custom vinyl lettering, vinyl decals, stickers or even custom letterings or signs. For the purpose of this article will be using the term “custom decals”. We will be looking at the different aspects to consider in starting a custom decals business.

What style of custom decals service do you want to offer?

There are 2 different types of services you can offer. Maybe you want to create and design letters and signs as ready-made designs to sell on your online shop, or you prefer receiving custom made designs by your customers or other businesses who want to purchase in bulk  and you just print and deliver. Maybe you would like to offer both options too.

That decision is yours to make, but note that for any business to grow it will require passion, hard work, professionalism, and perseverance for it to succeed!

One of the strategic ways to generate sales as you want, is to watchout for trending events on social media, or physical events like campaigns, movements, movies, trending messages for different niches and create decals in those directions. When you get the right message to the right people, you will definitely sell.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this business?

Every business has its good and bad side obviously, and starting a custom decals business  does not have less problems than others.

Some of the advantages  you will get are:

Start on a low budget: it is quiet inexpensive to start a vinyl decals business,you don’t really need much if you can start by printing the final product with external service providers. By the way every business grows gradually and not overnight.

Flexible time: you can choose to make it a part time business, or organize yourself to deliver your services at a time convenient for you.

Your work can easily speak for you online: if you have a strong online presence, your work can easily travel, and customers will tell others about your services and so on and forth. Without you physically moving from one place to another to market your craft.

Some of the disadvantages of starting a custom decals business include:

Many competitors: there are many people in the sticker business, therefore you have to bring out something different,bring your creativity on board, to level up on your competitors if you  want to mark your territory.

Lack of online presence: to really get your products or creative work out there and make it visible you need an online presence, limiting your sales to physical shop alone is restricting your audience.

Lack of quality image: images speak for a brand, your product images will attract people to order from you and not anyone else, if you neglect the visual aspect of your business, that will be the beginning of your failure.

How to source out tools you need to set-up an online decals business?

Ideally we would advise you to start your own online decals business on your own website, because you can easily manage all the parameters of the shop, without having to comply with  the rules of any external party.

Because creating a shop on the external existing platforms also comes with rules and regulations. But if you prefer this option for the early stages of your business, there are different e-commerce platforms that can host your shop. We have Woocommerce, Shopify, Prestashop, Etsy and Magento among many others and they all have their pros and cons that you can find out here.

If you prefer having your own platform, this is what you need to know:

You will need a domain name, it is your store’s unique address on the web. Something like “customdecals.com”. A web hosting, is basically a remote computer that stores your website and then serves it up to whoever wants to visit it.

You will need to pick a domain name for your new online store, that should be easy to remember and catchy.

But we prefer the Woocommerce / WordPress combination because it is feature-rich, simple to set up and most of all it’s free.

There are hundreds of extensions and themes available for WooCommerce, which makes it easy for you to add new features to your eCommerce site. It supports both Digital and Physical Goods. Using WooCommerce, you can add affiliate or external products to your site.

WooCommerce has built-in support for popular payment gateways and you can add many other payment and shipping options using extensions. These are few reasons why we prefer Woocommerce. So if you are with us, and you choose to go the Woocommerce way, what you need is:

  1. First of all Install WordPress and Woocommerce, for more details read more here.
  2. Next Choose a theme, you can go for a free or paid theme, it all depends on the final visual output you want for your site ( how you want your site to look like). You can get themes for free on wordpress.org, or you can purchase one from the biggest directory of premium wordpress themes on the web called Themeforest. Furthermore we have some best-selling themes Porto-Novo or Grand-Popo, which are good for large scale online stores and also for those building up their shop from scratch.

This is just the first step. Next step will be to display your designs on your shop, but if you also want to give your customers the ability to create custom letterings and signs before purchase you will need a plugin. The most important plugin needed on your shop for custom letterings and signs is the Lettering and Signs Designer plugin.

This plugin can enable you to set up fonts easily, in terms of heights and widths and also adding custom fonts.

As the shop manager you should be able to increase the base price by an amount using a pricing rule system based on the choice of font, number of characters and even canva size. There are many more features available for your customer to create the perfect design.

If you want to showcase your pre-designs, you can use adobe or illustrator to make your own unique designs, if you are a dummy in getting it all out, you can hire a graphist designer, if your budget allows you to do so.

The other aspect of material to consider are the physical equipments.

The machines you will need to produce the physical product and packaging and delivery. You can decide to buy your own machines to avoid external conflict with service providers  or work together with other service providers that have those machines.

The materials you will need imperatively are the popular Silhouette Cameo 3 or Cricut Explore Air 2 both boast a low price tag, or the KNK Zing Orbit or KNK Force

Which is a bit more expensive but cuts more accurately.

You will also need:

  • Vinyl rolls
  • Application tape
  • Weeding tools and blades
  • Cutting mat
  • A squeegee

You are all set to make your first sale!

What marketing strategies do you need to be successful?

Every business needs a marketing strategy to push sales up, some work has to be done for any new business to grow in visibility, notoriety and in sales.

Here are few marketing and communication  tips and tricks to optimize your online custom decals shop:

  • Upload beautiful images
  • Have social media profiles and presence on pinterest, instagram and facebook
  • Use relevant keywords for your websites SEO
  • Use dynamic discounts to attract people to your shop
  • Invest in adverts if possible
  • Try and offer products inline with trending topics

Finally, know that you have a very wide niche of people that will be interested in your services, since custom letterings and signs can be used on any surface, you have various options.

  • Event organisers
  • Party planners
  • Political organisations
  • Product owners needing labels
  • Small businesses needing signs
  • Interior designers
  • Wedding planners

And much more will need your services, so it’s up to you to hook in your audience.


1 comment

  1. Jay

    so far it all sounds very helpful. Now to put it to the test and see first hand.

    September 4, 2020 at 10:02 pm

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