This business model requires heavy networking, ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, and having your ears pinned to the ground at all times.
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Aside from your cutting materials, you’ll need a few more supplies to get your vinyl business off the ground:
Things may start slow, but with every client comes the opportunity to impress, build your portfolio, and add to your chain of contacts.
Copyright and trademark violations Having to buy commercial licences for any cut files you want to use Tax obligations Hiring staff Running a social media profile across multiple platforms Dealing with rude customers Expertly photographing your creations to show them in their best light Managing the logistics of receiving and completing orders
If you do this whilst leveraging the Internet to market to a global audience, we have no doubt whatsoever. Your passion will turn in to pennies, which will quickly snowball into an income that lets you do what you love every day.
If you don’t own the store/blog, then you are in debt to the platform that does The work can’t be appreciated first-hand (without good photography) We miss the human element of selling each piece
These are great places to network and find people who share the same passion, or need your expertise.
In fact, we think some of the smaller, desktop machines are the perfect springboard for making and selling vinyl crafts with.
Do you want to become the next vinyl decals ‘work from home’ success story?
The crafts economy is booming. Take, for example, the peer-to-peer handmade goods website Etsy.
CorelDraw is very similar and many people prefer that to Illustrator — if you can, try them both out to see which works best for you.
This can be anything you want — just make sure that there’s no trademark on that name already (you can search the US trademark database here) and that you can buy the matching url domain for a blog or online shop.
Plus, there are some issues that inevitably come with owning a vinyl decal business.
Spread word to your family and friends that you are launching a small decals business and would appreciate any recommendations.
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But that doesn’t mean that you have to rush out and spend big bucks on a huge Graphtec cutter, for instance.
Next you need to decide if you want to sell via a platform like Etsy, or direct through your own website. Or both!
Selling your vinyl crafts on Etsy is the best way to launch your vinyl decal business.
The marketplace is huge Your customer base is scalable It’s easy to find ‘true fans’ Your website (or store) can sell while you sleep
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Here we bring you our latest tips, tricks and guides for getting the most out of your craft cutter.
Many people prefer the more simplistic but easier to use design software like Make the Cut and Sure Cuts a Lot.
A commercial licence is usually more expensive than a personal one, although you can occasionally find them discounted or even free if you look hard enough.
If you’re more of a visual learner, take a look at this video about getting started with your Etsy home business:
Less than 1% of Esty sellers took out loans to finance their businesses. Source: Startup Smart
Note: We are big fans of Adobe Illustrator. It is available as part of a rolling cloud subscription fee of $19.99 per month. A good deal for some of the best software in the business.
To stand out, you must improve the quality of your designs. While you can design in programs like Silhouette Studio and Cricut Design Space, you don’t have as much creative freedom.
Adobe Illustrator’s Tutorial courses 100 Amazing Illustrator Tutorials Learn Illustrator From Scratch (Udemy video courses) CorelDraw Training Videos (Lynda video courses) CorelDrawTips.com
Remember, you must keep your business’ image consistent across all your social media profiles, Etsy store and website.
While the evidence suggests that setting up a small craft business to sell vinyl decals is quite cheap, there are a few costs that you should be aware of.
Once you’ve found an audience for your products, you’ll be more likely to find success when you branch out on your own.
Remember that you can use e-commerce platforms like Shopify and even Facebook to help you sell your product on your website.
That way, craft fans will know where to find you and will keep coming back to buy new products.
Of course, you’re not guaranteed success when you open an Etsy store for your home vinyl decals business.
If you have a passion for vinyl decals, you’ve probably thought once or twice about turning it in to a small business.
Packing and shipping supplies Computer Printer Camera Accounting software (we’d recommend something like Quickbooks where plans start from $10 a month)
If you don’t buy a commercial licence, but use these designs to sell your own products, you’re essentially stealing — and you can be sued for this.
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You’ll be able to design basic vectors, or load in templates that you can buy and download online, that your machine will cut.
Once you have your machine, your software, and a growing confidence in your ability to make awesome vinyl crafts… it’s time to get selling.
Recommended: Check out our complete guide to the best vinyl cutting machines in 2017, which we’ve split into commercial and hobbyist machines.
This is fine — especially when you’re just starting out — but you must ensure that you buy a commercial licence for the design if you intend to sell it online.
By creating the work first, then trying to sell it to people who like it. By finding what a client needs doing, then negotiating the job.
What are the advantages to running an offline vinyl decals business?
You can check domain name availability using a resource like this.
Vinyl Cutting Machines — Copyright © — Your guide to the best vinyl cutters.
The tools above will help you in the cutting process, but our view is this:
The learning curve to both Illustrator and CorelDraw is fairly steep, but this is a good thing.
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It’s a perfectly understandable concern that most of us would rather come up with new designs and work with our hands than study the logistics of turning our love in to money.
While the Internet has fuelled huge growth for small businesses, many of us have been selling our designs offline for much, much longer.
Even so, we’re not talking more than a $50 investment to have enough vinyl to get started.
If you’re not designing your own cutting creations, chances are that you’ll be downloading other people’s designs to use.
These apps work with vectors, which is essentially line art.
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What are the advantages to running an online vinyl decals business?
Unless you are truly a supremely talented designer, the best way of building a small business is to focus on the latter:
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All you need to do is set up your profile, make sure that it’s optimized, respond to queries and shipping the item promptly once it’s sold.
The good news is that making money from vinyl decals is easier than ever before.
You’ll find plenty of stories online from people whose stores tanked, usually because they didn’t put enough effort into optimizing their listings, or they weren’t well enough prepared to deal with orders and customers.
Certain platforms are well designed for setting up a small craft business. Pinterest is particularly excellent for vinyl crafts and the main platform for many of us crafters.
Other slightly more sophisticated machines to consider for your vinyl decals home business are those from Klic-N-Kut:
Create a page that advertises the various services you can offer, with a clear call-to-action so that anybody who is interested can get in touch.
When you buy a cutter, it will usually come with its own software.
Our view is that any startup business checklist which involves an investment in a squeegee… can’t be too bad!
1 Starting a Decal Business: Are You Ready?2 Setup Costs for a Vinyl Cutting Home Business2.1 What Machine is Best for a Vinyl Cutting Business?2.2 What About Materials?2.3 What Cutting Software Should I Use?2.
4 A Note About Licensing and Copycats3 The Selling Side of a Small Crafts Business3.1 Online vs. Offline3.2 Selling Vinyl Decals Online3.2.1 Selling Vinyl Decals on Etsy3.3 Selling Vinyl Decals on Your Own Website3.
4 Social Media and Your Vinyl Decal Business
While you do have an obligation to stay in line with Etsy’s policies, including prompt shipping, it’s generally a very easy and rewarding experience.
Make sure that your business name is available on Etsy and open your store Add a cover photo and your business logo, as well as an ‘About’ section Create an item listing, which should include a good description, photograph, price and shipping costs.
Make sure that your listing is populated with keywords that a buyer might use to search for that item. Be descriptive! Decide what payment types you are willing to accept Add your billing information securely Publish your store policies and your shipping timeline Add your location so local buyers can find you
It’s no cake walk — but it is a rewarding endeavour if you get it right.
If you are a heavy user, then yes, buying vinyl rolls in every color of the rainbow can get expensive.
You may want to register a trademark for your business name once you have your website in place.
But it’s something we must do if our small business is going to be successful.
So, you’re thinking about starting a vinyl cutting home business.
If somebody has a need for your work, they won’t automatically find you.
While for many people, owning their own vinyl cutting business is a dream come true, not everyone is cut out for it.
Regardless of whether you choose to sell on a platform like Etsy or on your own website, one of the best ways to drive traffic to your listings is by creating a social media profile.
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Of course, a vinyl cutting machine isn’t enough to get started. You need to actually cut material in order to sell it!
Take beautiful photos (hire a photographer if you can’t!) Optimize your listing with relevant keywords Respond to all queries ASAP Curate your store with similar listings — so it looks like a traditional shop, rather than a hodge podge of craft ideas Make sure your prices are reasonable but not too low — you want to start turning a profit quickly Consider your competitors — what’s working for them? How can you make it work for you? Monitor your stats to see what type of listing draws in the most buyers and interest Consider paying for advertising to get more eyes on your product Set up social media profiles to increase interest in your store (more on this later) Selling Vinyl Decals on Your Own Website
Vinyl rolls Application tape Weeding tools and blades Cutting mat A squeegee
Here’s a few tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years about how to run a successful Etsy store:
Many of the top cutters come with vinyl rolls included in ‘bundle’ deals.
Find people who need your services — because it is an expertise — and then give them what they need for a fair price.
Set up a blog and offer useful, practical advice for the type of people who could potentially become your clients.
Etsy was founded 10 years ago as a site where small craft makers could go to list their creations and connect with a marketplace.
It’s possible to build a small crafts business on a shoestring budget. Passion trumps Capital.
Phew! Now that’s everything you need to know about starting a vinyl cutting home business.
The bestselling Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Cricut Explore Air 2 both boast a low price tag, but their technology has launched many small businesses that are now worth considerably more.
It’s worth asking yourself if you could deal with the following:
You have to deal with driving traffic to your site, selling the product, taking payment and dealing with logistics. It’s a lot to get your head around — that’s why we recommend starting off your vinyl decals business on Etsy first while you find your feet.
Many of those 1.4 million sellers are thriving small businesses; run by individuals with a passion for crafts and — thanks to the new Internet age — a huge global market accessible from their home computers.
There are a couple of popular tools that will help you here:
Set up a profile, respond to questions where you can offer your two cents.
Chances are that if you’re considering home business ideas like selling vinyl decals online, you already own a vinyl cutting machine.
Now, you don’t have to invest in either CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator, but if you plan to sell your crafts online — as opposed to serving local clients — then you will be competing with lots of other talented designers.
Readers who are naturally extroverted may relish the chance to get involved with their local community.
None of these factors are deal breakers, which is why we generally recommend that anybody who wants to start a vinyl decal business should build an online presence — even if they only intend to sell to local clients.
These computerized craft cutters are more expensive than the Silhouette and Cricut ones, but are perfectly tuned to cut the most accurate vinyl decals in the fastest time — ideal for a successful home business.
Facebook and Instagram are also a good idea — just ensure that you take the time to capture excellent photos of your creations for the best results and user engagement.
At the very minimum, we would recommend that you’re passionate about vinyl cutting and know your way around a craft cutting machine already.
It can be hard running a business: you want to be sure that you’re able to produce quality products that will satisfy your customers and make money without causing you too much difficulty.
One way you can use social media to drive buyers to your site or Etsy listing is to stage a giveaway, or offer discounts — while these may not make you as much money in the short term, they’ll drive big numbers and create a ready-made audience for you.
An online presence — like a store, or a blog — means that your work can do the selling as people naturally stumble across it. You don’t have to be present.
So stick to the most common colors, or those that you will definitely use.
Be sure to visit the many small crafts forums around the web.
Two of the most popular blogging platforms where you can build your online presence:
It means there is plenty of reward for those who commit the time and energy in to getting better at them.
These are great programs and ideal for people trying to find their feet with design. Like we’ve already said, try as much as you can to work out which is best for your needs.
Note: Photoshop uses raster graphics, which is essentially… dot art. Pixels instead of lines. Unfortunately your machine cannot read dots. It uses a blade that can only follow lines (vectors).
At some point you may want to invest in marketing material, like business cards — especially if you plan on visiting craft shows and the like.
If you see anyone using your work without permission, you can request a lawyer send them a cease and desist letter. You may be able to pursue a legal case against them — remember to consult with a lawyer on whether this is worth your time and money.
But what’s perfect as a personal machine is not necessarily the best machine for running a commercial business.
But if you want to build a small business out of your passion, you have to double down on what will soon become one of your competitive advantages:
On the flip side, if you’re creating your own designs, you may want to consider creating your own commercial licences.
Once you’ve found your footing with Etsy, you may want to take more control over your sales (and avoid those pesky Etsy selling fees!).
It had collected over 55 million registered users by late 2014, boasting an audience of 19.8 million active buyers, and served by 1.4 million sellers.
Plus, you can put your store into Vacation Mode if you’re away, sick or simply can’t run your shop for a period of time — a luxury not afforded when you own your own store.
First things first, you need to come up with a name for your small craft business.
Obviously Etsy isn’t a charity and won’t handle everything for free, but fees are generally low and, we think, very reasonable. It’s free to open your store, ¢20 to list an item and they take 3.5% off the selling price once its sold.
Just make sure that you’re starting a decal business with your eyes open and your expectations not too high — at least at first.
The answer is to become proficient at using the software and design tools on the market.
From Cricut cartridge guides, to SVG freebies, to step-by-step walkthroughs on how to use your machine. We hope you find this section useful!