Thank you for tuning in to episode 81!
Today’s episode will be short and sweet! I’ll be sharing Julia’s success story as a sticker maker. I first saw these adorable stickers on Etsy, and once I landed on the Cute ‘n Smol Etsy page, I just fell in love. I know Julia’s story and talent will inspire you.
Julia is a student from the Boston area.
Apart from being a student, playing the piano, running, and enjoying some tv time, Julia is also a small business owner. She has always liked art and design, and in early 2018 she got together with her friends, and they all decided they’d like to sell art online!
They picked stickers as their focus because of the low cost of entry. One of Julia’s friends was already selling on Etsy, so she figured this would be a great place to start. It seems that summer fun was a bit of a distraction and Julia and friends took a little break from sticker sales. A whole year after starting, Julia decided to focus on her shop once again. She bought out her friends, took down their designs, and has had a solo shop ever since.
When I asked Julia to tell me more about her small business, she said that she’s inspired by daily life and by the Asian foods that she is accustomed to and loves, like boba, dim sum, and ramen.
Her signature style is to add cute faces to the food, which makes everyone smile! At first, she was only offering paper stickers. These stickers are ideal for bullet journals or to decorate a weekly spread.
Since her designs were selling so well, she decided to outsource a few popular designs to create waterproof stickers. Her boba stickers are now an Etsy besteller! Just in case you’re wondering, the waterproof stickers are best used for things like water bottles and laptops.
As far as Julia’s process for her paper stickers, she is still hand-cutting her stickers because she feels it makes them unique. She uses an x-acto knife to cut around each design, and although it is a time-consuming process, like a true small business owner, she uses her cutting time to multi-task and watch tv to keep things more productive.
Julia said that the best part about owning her own business is seeing the orders come in and packaging them. She likes to include handwritten notes with her orders! Julia is most active on Instagram and has found a welcoming community of bullet journalists. She also finds inspiration from other sticker shops and finds it easy to promote her own business there.
In terms of advice for someone thinking of starting their own business, Julia recommends doing your research!
This will help you determine if people will buy your products. Discover what makes your products unique and different from your competitors. She suggests that you look for inspiration but don’t copy. Determine how you will ship your items, the cost to ship, and what fees you’ll incur as an online seller.
Most importantly, Julia said, “know that owning a small business takes a lot of work, and you cannot just expect sales to come rolling in. But in the end, it is very rewarding, and it will be well worth all your hard work :)”
Julia added a few words of encouragement too. She said, “don’t get discouraged, it can take a while to get the momentum going, but if your product is good, people will come. You just have to work for it and learn about ways to attract an audience and to improve your shop and products”.
With over 3000 sales in just a couple of years, I would say Julia is a true inspiration!