By Melissa Donovan
Any print service provider (PSP) thriving in today’s market knows that offering a range of products and services means eliminating reasons for customers to take their business elsewhere. Where most shops have a bread and butter application that makes them known in competitor circles, it can’t hurt to offer complementary applications.
Some of these complementary applications may not be as jazzy or showy as the latest and greatest trends like floor graphics or wallcoverings and instead might be as simple as yard signs. However, just because they are common, doesn’t mean there isn’t an ever-present need for them.
Yard signs are an excellent example of an application that is perhaps taken for granted but is still very popular. With the influx of non-profit walks and runs, local elections, and reminders for local hazardous waste drop offs, yard signs are still one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to spread a message.
StickyLife celebrates over ten years in business, with humble beginnings in the back of a snow cone syrup manufacturer’s warehouse. One employee and a Gerber Technology EDGE thermal printer was the impetus to create an online system that allowed customers to design their own custom printed decals, car magnets, and dog tags.
Today the company has its own space in Clayton, NC of about 4,800 square feet. It ships thousands of orders all over the U.S. and Canada regularly. Five employees are the backbone of the business and Natalee Fisher, co-founder/CEO, StickyLife, reports that the company is close to breaking the $1 million mark in sales.
StickyLife covers a niche market for small quantity runs of vinyl decals, car magnets, static cling, temporary tattoos, dog tags, key chains, license plates, license plate frames, vinyl banners, pin backed buttons, aluminum signs, corrugated signs, yard signs, and signage accessories.
According to Fisher, a large portion of StickyLife’s customer base are homeowners, small business, or non-profits. She notes that a substantial part of the business comes from churches and schools looking for easy self-promotional items.
This is where StickyLife’s intuitive storefront comes in, making it easy for customers to design their products online and then even place test orders before ordering a larger quantity of product.
While customers provide the initial design, the StickyLife ordering portal offers over 800 different fonts and over 30 colors. Also accessible is more than 35,000 high-quality vector-based images that can be colorized in the program.
Recently, large format decals used in room décor, or in business and corporate office spaces are popular requests.
The staff at StickyLife is well versed in adhesive-backed vinyl products and the applications they are commonly used for.
Presently, Fisher says its favorite product is ORAFOL America’s ORACAL 651 Intermediate Cal for its print-to-cut solutions. This is for two reasons—the colored liner and the solvent-based adhesive.
“We gang up most of our job runs that can include intricate designs like vinyl lettering or basic shapes like circles. Having the colored liner allows our workers to better see what remains to be weeded. We like the solvent-based adhesive because we are not the installer and instead instruct our customers on how to install their printed graphics. Therefore, we suggest using the wet application method for the most professional results,” explains Fisher.
In addition to vinyl, StickyLife also works with magnetic material from Arnold Magnetic Technologies, specifically Flexmag.
Work with What You Know
While StickyLife’s bread and butter is in the adhesive-backed vinyl field, this hasn’t prevented the company from offering applications that don’t generally come under that heading.
For yard signs, StickyLife does not offer direct-to-print capabilities, and instead sticks with its expertise in adhesive-backed products. It prints using HP Inc. Latex 360 and 560 printers and then transfers the print onto coroplast. The coroplast is cut by hand, in either a square or rectangle shape.
The current setup for yard signs works, but Fisher admits she hopes to reach beyond vinyl application onto corrugated material and move over to direct printing. She also foresees owning a Zünd cutter or something similar to cut out custom-shaped corrugated signs.
Yard signs are a very small portion of StickyLife’s product portfolio, but the company leverages its knowledge and success in adhesive-backed vinyl to offer this add-on service. It helps that the online ordering portal also offers an easy way for customers to design and submit yard sign orders.
Jan2020, Digital Output