I was minding my own business one day looking on eBay to purchase a small peace sign for my pickup. I paid about $5 and when it arrived, I became interested in how it was made. It didn’t seem like you needed to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in machinery to make these things. So, I went on a quest to figure it all out for myself.
How Are Decals Made?
I immediately started to Google to learn all I can about making decals. Eventually, that led me to watching YouTube videos on how to use vinyl cutters and the assortment of vinyl material and substrates available in the market for an assortment of signs for both commercial and artistic uses.
I learned all I could. I read online reviews and took into account advice from folks sharing their experiences on forums such as T-ShirtForums.com .
Choosing a Market, a Marketplace and an Audience to Target
I learned that there were many uses for vinyl signs in which I could choose to make a buck. After some time I narrowed down my options as to what I wanted to do with in the vinyl sign industry. Initially, I thought I would sell decals for automobiles as well as for wall art. But I did not have a marketplace in which to sell in. My idea was to sell online and not directly to locals. I was not looking to replace my career, only to supplement with something of my own making – a small home-based, online business.
I once sold stuff on eBay a long time ago. But I had grown to dislike selling on eBay and really wasn’t sure where and how I would make sales. Would I have to create my own shopping cart website? And, if so, how would I draw in the crowds? It was all still a little vague to me at the time.
I also knew that I had to narrow down who I wanted to market to. I did not want to be all over the place. I wanted a theme and an audience that would appreciate it. For example, was I going to target folks looking to place business signs on their automobile or was I going to seek out customers looking to dress up the interior of their homes? This was not clear to me at the time and I did not want to try to take on too much trying to target everybody for everything conceivable in vinyl signs. I knew the things I liked about the business, but I still needed a clear understanding as to who my potential clients would be.
Ask and You Shall Receive
Here’s where I get a little off into the world of positive thinking: I really think that when you search for answers to something and you search real good, just the right things seems to show up, providing you with the clues and the directions you need to acquire your goals. Just thought I throw that at you.
You also tend to start talking more to people who will listen to your ideas and to people who may already be involved in the field. One of the things I did was to share my ideas with a few people, one being my good neighbor and friend. A few weeks later he tells me about this market place called Etsy. At first it sounded like a funny name for an online marketplace which I never heard of. When I finally took time to visit Etsy, I knew I had found the marketplace that I needed to sell decals online. I was really trying to avoid having to sell direct to locals. Etsy was my answer to getting stared in the business.
Etsy Market Place Research
Now, on what to sell and for how much? Actually, I already wrote an article which includes the details on how I did my Market Research on Etsy. You can read it when you get a chance. The point being that Online Market Research is a big word, but it really is just looking for clues available that tell you how well a store is fairing on Etsy or elsewhere. I kept it really simple because it is. Read it when you get a chance.
Cool Wall Stickers for Your Home
After careful consideration I finally determined that I wanted to sell wall art for mostly children’s bedrooms and playrooms. I thought I would create decals that would help to personalize their play area with something they can relate to: football, ballerinas, horses, etc.
I wanted to keep it family oriented and positive. I think many of my personal creative ideas can help to support that.
Time to Take the Plunge
Okay, it was decision time. I knew what I wanted to sell and to who I wanted to sell to – I had already figured that much of my future clientele would be women looking to dress up a child’s room, be it their child, their grandchild, their nieces their nephews, and on and on – I had a clear idea as to who my targeted audience was to become.
I knew the equipment that I needed to buy. I knew the materials that I was going to use. I knew the name for my decal shop. I was ready.
I knew that if I were to invest money in all this, it had to be money that I could afford to take a chance with. I also knew that if things didn’t go as planned, I was going to either sell off my $1600 Roland GX-24 cutter on Craigslist or I was going to acquire a really big piece of equipment that I had very little need for. I decided to go for it.
A Word of Advice
Every time you start something new, it feels unfamiliar and your comfort level is zero. That is how I felt when I first got started in wall vinyl stickers. I made mistakes after mistake during my first few months. And, although mistakes always cost, it was well worth the learning. I am glad I got started in this business. I have met a lot of folks online and on forums and I feel happy to feel I am a part of this vinyl sign industry. It is fun and it is creative – two ingredients I need to enjoy the things I do, especially while earning a little extra income.
Find your niche and just go for it!