The truth is I do not know anyone personally who designs decals. I have not had even one face-to-face conversation with a vinyl designer or the like. No one ever directly taught me how to make decals. In fact, most of what I know, so far, I learned right off the Internet. The rest I have learned on my own while tending to my shop.
Well, after chatting it up on VinylForum.org the last couple of weeks and having excellent conversations with several new online friends, it dawned on me that I could maybe ask one of the forum members for an online interview in order to gain a little insight into their business.
Fortunate for me, I bump into a fellow Etsy shop owner on the forum that also sells decals. After several really good chats, I thought it would be great if I can ask her to introduce herself and her shop. I also asked if she would answer 10 questions for this interview. She was so kind to agree, so here goes…
Take it away, blakdogs!!
Introducing blakdogs designs
My name is Lori Coleman and I’m a full time Clay County Humane Society employee, Mom, and business owner. I design and create single color vinyl stickers through my etsy.com store: blakdogs designs. I started selling on etsy.com as an outlet for my sticker designs. I never really thought about it as a business until it took off last December (one of my designs started attracting attention). Since that time, I’ve been actively adding more designs, tried to post more often on Facebook and Pinterest, and paid more attention to my tags and titles to optimize my search-ability. My website is: www.theblakdogs.com
Ten Questions for blakdogs designs:
Q: How and/or why did you get into the vinyl sticker business?
@@@ Pure luck… I bought my machine as a hobbyist, it was purchased to cut paper for scrapbooking! (Guess how many scrapbook pages I’ve done with it!!! LOL!) I have a friend who owns a large sign business and he said, “Hey, I’ve got some scraps if you want to play with them on your cutter”. It was all over from then on!!
Q: How long have you been selling decals and what do you specialize in?
@@@ My shop opened July 19th, 2009, but I didn’t really start “working” and actively trying to grow the business until January of this year. I seem to have an odd mix of designs, most of which are dog related.
Q: Who are the customers that are buying your decals?
@@@ Seems to be a wide variety of clients, from what I can gather, it’s the 20-40yr old crowd. Definitely most are dog lovers, as those designs seem to be big sellers.
Q: How did you come up with your Etsy store name, blakdogs designs?
@@@ blakdogs has been my moniker for over 16 years. It’s been a handle on many forums, my user name when I go Geocaching, and my email address for as long as I can remember. I own Black Labradors, and when it was time to set up an email address, the host company would only accept 8 letters. So blackdogs became blakdogs… I named my store blakdogs designs because I didn’t want to limit the scope of the product I decided to sell…window vinyl, glass etched items, t-shirts, all could fall into that same store name.
Q: How much time do you spend minding the store?
@@@ Usually a couple of hours each day.
Q: What equipment and software do you use?
@@@ I use a 13″ Klik-N-Kut Groove, with the Klik-N-Kut Studio Maxx cutting software. Both are pretty obsolete at this point in time, I will be upgrading at some point in the near future.
Q: What vinyl do you use? How many colors do you offer?
@@@ Most of the colors I use are 651 Oracal, on occasion I use 631 but I don’t do much wall vinyl. The white that I use, and some of the colors are 3M electrocut…cuts like butter! I usually keep about 12-15 colors in stock…
Q: What do you like best about your business?
@@@ The flexibility… I could not have a second business if it wasn’t home based. I love the design aspect, and the rush I get when someone purchases that design for the first time…”Hey! They like it!”
Q: Where do you see your business in the future?
@@@ Funny you should ask that…I JUST purchased a heat press machine and am hoping to play around with it and see if I want to incorporate t-shirts into my etsy store.
Q: What is your best advice to a newbie getting into the business?
@@@ Read up on your options, do your research. Most of all, do something you love to do…if you spend your time hating what you’re doing, it will show in your work! Find your own road…don’t try to reinvent the wheel, start building something of your own.
A special thanks to Lori of blakdogs designs… Thank You!!