How to Start a Vinyl Business (if you own a Cricut or Silhouette) | Sarah Bradley | Skillshare

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How to Start a Vinyl Business (if you own a Cricut or Silhouette)

teacher avatar Sarah Bradley, Making & Selling Vinyl Decal Classes

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Intro to the Course

      1:51
    • 2. What you need before you start

      4:57
    • 3. How to choose your target audience

      2:45
    • 4. Decide on a business name

      1:38
    • 5. Choose a colour palette

      3:26
    • 6. How to create a logo

      6:04
    • 7. Set up social media accounts

      2:43
    • 8. Set up your business

      2:49
    • 9. Congratulations & What's Next

      0:30
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About This Class

This course is a beginner's guide to opening your own business in order to sell decals, but it is also suitable for someone who has already opened a vinyl business but would like to rebrand or niche down. 

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: 

  • How to choose a target audience
  • How to figure out a business name
  • The best (free) tools to use to design your branding and logo
  • The resources you need before you start selling

This course is perfect for complete beginners who are looking to start a business using their cutting machine, but who are already familiar with using it. It doesn't include any tutorials on how to make vinyl decals. 

It will go over the key things to think about when starting a business and will give you a very general overview of where to begin. I won’t be teaching where to sell your decals or how to get sales in this course.

You need a Cricut/Silhouette/other cutting machine, access to the internet and ideally a computer or laptop, but a tablet or smartphone will work too.

Once you're finished, take my next course, 'Create Vinyl Decals That Are Ready To Sell' for the next step of your journey. 

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Vinyl Decals are one of the easiest things to make on a Cricut or Silhouette and one of the best things to sell because of the following:

  • Low upfront costs (can usually start with what you already own)
  • Potential for big markups
  • Easy to ship and you can send them worldwide
  • Don't require much space to store and make
  • An experience for your customer, not just a finished product

Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Bradley

Making & Selling Vinyl Decal Classes

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Transcripts

1. Intro to the Course: Hi, welcome to vinyl decals school on Skillshare. I'm Sarah and I've been running a vinyl decal business, on Etsy for a few years now, as my main job, and main source of income, when I first started I had absolutely no clue what went into running a vinyl shop. And that it wasn't just as simple as cutting out pretty things with my Cricut machine and then sending them to customers. I learned a lot over the years and I've got some good processes in place. So I thought I would do a series of short courses to share everything I've learned with all of you lovely creative people on skill share. So this is where you should start. If you own a cutting machine, know the basics of using it and want to start making money with it. But you have never opened a business before. or don't know where to start. It might also be useful to you though, if you do already have a business, but you want to rebrand or get more specific with the audience that you're targeting. I'll walk you through how to choose a target audience. The basics of branding your business. The first steps you should take before you begin. I won't show you how to make or apply vinyl decals in this course though. If you want to tips for that, please check out my YouTube channel, Vinyl Decal School, and keep an eye on my teacher page for future courses along those lines. So if you own a cutting machine like a cricket or silhouette and would like to start making money with it. Please join me on this course and by the time you finish, you will have opened a brand new business and will know exactly who you're going to, start selling your decals to. 2. What you need before you start: So before we start, let me just go over a few things you need and might want to think about before you start your vinyl business. The first and most important one is a positive mindset. And the belief that you are capable of whatever you put your mind to. This is as wowoo is I will get. So don't worry if you're not in to that kind of thing. But before we go on this journey together, I want to make sure that you're going to succeed and are committed to starting a shiny new, vinyl business that will either give you more freedom, time, money, or whatever you desire. Please humor me and make a commitment in the comments by telling me why you want to start a vinyl business and what it could do for you, or maybe your family. It might just be an extra bit of pocket money, an extra holiday every year, the freedom of working for yourself or more time to spend with your loved ones. Whatever it is, I'd love to know. And I want you to write it down in the attached workbook too so you've got it as a reference to look back on whenever you feel like procrastinating or that you can't do it, remember your why and hopefully it will propel you forward. For me when I started, it was because I wanted to be my own boss and I didn't want to work the nine to six Monday to Friday anymore that I had been working. And that really was enough motivation for me to push through and really made my business succeed. So now that's out of the way, time for the more practical stuff. And so obviously to make decals, you need a cutting machine if you don't have one yet, but if you love to craft, you might want to have a look into them first and then come back to this course. Once you've mastered the basics of using one. I work with both a Cricut air and a Silhouette Cameo 4. But any kind of machine that cuts designs out of vinyl will work for starting a business as long as you are able to upload your designs digitally. I know some of the older models will only take cartridges, and I'm not really sure how that works commercially. And if you are able to sell designs on those or not, and so other than an Internet connection, that is all you really need to succeed in this course. I would probably say it's easier to do this course on a laptop or a computer, but if you only have a tablet or smartphone that is doable to. And so the rest of this stuff you won't actually need until you've set up your business and finish this course, but so you can start thinking about them now. I thought I'd just go over them quickly. So you may need some cutting mats if you don't have them already. With my Cameo four I mostly use the final role feeder that is included to cut my vinyl. But for my Cricut, I have a number of 12 by 12 inch and 12 by 24 inch matts. I have quite a few, but you don't need that many because you can just re-stick them as soon as they lose their stickiness. A separate design software like Illustrator, Photoshop or inkscape is good to have, but it's not a requirement if you are used to designing just straight into Cricut design space or silhouette studio, for example. Hold off on buying any new vinyl or transfer tape just yet until you've completed the course and you know what you need to buy. But for when you do that, I will add a list of vinyl suppliers from various different countries that I've found. Just so you can have a browse and hopefully find the best deals. And these things are not requirements, but they are quite useful to have. Some kind of weeding tool - people use like dental picks and stuff like this. I got this from a vinyl supplier and it just helps with weeding vinyl and getting between bits of letters. A vinyl cutter - That helps if you're putting vinyl on to matts and measures the rolls out. Some kind of squeegee - you can get bigger ones than this or you can just use a plastic store card for now. if you don't want to buy one, this is helpful for smoothing down transfer tape and stuff like that. A nail varnish holder, which is useful when you're weeding and you just put it on that on then put your vinyl scraps into there as you're working. Again, don't worry about these too much though until you finish the course, you might actually just be able to use some things you already have in your house for now. And it's not really worth buying things until you get your business up and running. For when you are thinking about it though, again, I have added a list of my favorite tools into the resources section for you to check out. And then the last thing is just a bit space. so you've got room to make your vinyls, package them up, and then store some vinyl rolls is well. When I first started, I had barely any space, so you can make it work no matter what your setup is. So now one of the pre-amble is done. Let's get to the main event. 3. How to choose your target audience: Before we create anything we need to know who we're creating it for. So in this lesson, we'll figure out who the target audience for your business is going to be. When I began, I started selling wedding decals because I was planning my own wedding at the time. And I was already a bit Pinterest wedding obsessed. So I knew what was trending and what was popular. And it was a bit of a no brainer for me to focus on those type of decals. Some sellers offer a huge range of decals, but for me personally, I found it a lot easier to target a specific group of people and then build up my customer base from that. So although I still mostly sell wedding decals, customers do return to me for Christmas gifts, birthday, books, signs for baby showers, home decoe, all that sort of thing. But that's usually because they found me through looking for wedding stuff. It's also a lot easier to start with a smaller range of designs rather than giving yourself hundreds of different things to try and juggle. In this section, we'll work to find your niche. And one of the simplest ways to do that is to think about something you would use yourself. Do you have kids? Perhaps you can make decals for children's toy boxes, bedroom walls, lunch boxes, Bottle stickers, and then a super easy way to market your product is to get your kids to show off what you've made at school, Do you like an organized home? Think bin stickers or pantry jar stickers, custom shampoo and conditioner bottles maybe. Do you work for a business that might need branded items or stickers in their window. Do you have a number of local businesses in your area that might be interested in these. There are obviously so many ideas that aren't specific to your situation as well, you could just do Christmas decals if you want to only work part of the year. Custom vinyl for sports teams and so much more. And so once you've decided on a category, The best way to really niche down is to think of a specific customer to target. So I put together this work page for you to fill in. And it's to help you really get specific with your target customer. And to think of one specific person. What they like, how old they are, why they need your decals. And then you're going to give them a name. And going forward, you'll be able to picture that specific person when you're creating your brand, creating designs, anything you're making, you can think, will this person like this. So now fill in the workbook page with your ideal customer and let me know their name in the comment section. 4. Decide on a business name: So once you have your target customer in mind, it's time to come up with a business name. This lesson is short and sweet because a business name is really something that should come from the heart. I think. There are some business name generators which I will link for you in the resources section, which could give you some inspiration, but really don't over-complicate it. You might not want to include vinyl decals in the name just in case later down the road you want to branch out and start selling finished products too. But you also don't wanna be too vague so that your customers know the type of thing they're getting from you. Although you could just open a second arm of your business down the road too. So for instance, if you start with Rosie's vinyls, but then decide you want to also sell printable designs. You could just open a second shop under Rosie's printables. Just keep them all under the same branding umbrella. So you might know exactly what you want to call it already or come up with a few ideas and ask someone else who you trust for some feedback. And then before you definitely decide on your name and fall in love with it, do a double-check on Google, Facebook, Etsy, Instagram. Anywhere you are going to be basically to check there isn't already a business with your name and especially not a vinyl Decals business with your name either. If there is, maybe you can just tweak it a bit so it's different or completely start all over again. Under no circumstances use the same name now as you may as well, just hand over your customers to them. Now, once you've decided on a name, feel free to let us all know in the comments. If you want to. 5. Choose a colour palette: So you've got your target audience in mind. You've got your business name. Now it's time for the fun part. Designing your brand. The colors you choose for your branding may be way more important than you think. But now you know what kind of audience you are trying to attract it should be easier to figure out what kind of vibe you wanna give off to. Any of these jump out to you? If you want some further reading on color theory, I'll add some links to the resources section two. And then once you've decided on one or two main colors that you want to go with, you can then use the site coolers.co. (I'm assuming that's how you say it anyway!) ...to put together a palette of colors that go well that you can use across all of your branding. So go to the site, start the generator, and it will take you to a page that looks like this. So if you've got a color code for one of the colours you want already providing. Otherwise, go to the picker and choose your favorite color. Or as close as you can get to what you're looking for, hit the Lock button. And then if you press space, it will change the colors to ones that much that face color you chose. So if there are any of those that you like, the lock button on those again and keep hitting the space bar until you find a few different ones that you like. So in this one I'm gonna go with bright pallet. So yeah, I think I'll go with that yellow block, all of those in. There's lots of stuff you can do with this though, is you can drag that to see how the yellow looks beside the blue and pink. And if you weren't OK, you can change it again. And you can do different shades. So if you want a yellow but you just want to a bit lighter, click that button again and copy the codes once your happy with the colors you've got so that you can use them in your logo and rest of the branding. And you can also export various different file types. If you want to keep a record of it. You can make an account as well if you wanna do various different color palettes. There's also an option to just adjust the colors if you want to just bring them, make them a little bit brighter. Or putting the saturation or peak and play around with those. Just play around basically until you're happy with a set of colors that you think will fit your brand well. The other option you can do is if you found a color on a picture that you really like, you can add that with that camera button to highlight the color into the generator. And again, you just repeat the process. Once you've done that, make a note of the color code so you can refer back to them. And also take a screenshot of your color palette and add it to the comments so we can all see, as I would love to see what people come up with. 6. How to create a logo: Once you've chosen the colors, it's time to create a logo. Think about what will be easily readable, will stand the test of time. And will also look good, blown up, but also dialled down really small. The first logo I created was absolutely awful. I just threw it together on photoshop. It looked so unprofessional. The writing on it wasn't joined up properly and the spacing on it was all wrong. So less than a year after starting the business, I actually had to shut my Etsy shop for a week and completely redo all of my branding and design a new logo again. And it took so long. And so that's literally why I'm teaching you this so that you don't make the same mistake that I did. And so that you can do it well from the start. You might still want to rebrand later down the line, but hopefully it will be because your brand is growing rather than out of embarrassment like me. So you may already be an illustrated whizz in which case you probably don't need to watch this and you can just go off and create your own logo but if not, then canva is a great place to create your first logo. And as a bonus, it's free. You can either start on the templates page, as I've done here. Can browse by category to see what kind of template you need or go straight to create, to design. And click global via that, it'll give you a blank canvas to work with. But you can also use all of the pre-loaded templates they have. I think most of them are free. I'm just going to scroll down here just to try and find a nice simple one to a quiz, that wouldn't work well. So to edit the template, first click on the wording and type the name you want. Instead. I'm just going to make something up here. So I'm going to be as good as the name you come up with by now. I'm sure than to change the font, highlight it, and open that Fonts tab the funds with a little crumbs. They can only be used.com but pro, but there are quite a lot of other different ones to choose from. But if you do get calm approach, you can get a 30 day free trial and then you can upload your own funds if you do that as well. So it might be worth if you've got specific fonts in mind. I'm just choosing some quiet, quite basic one for the main title and I'm more pretty alarming for me underneath. You wanna change sign again, highlight the word. Nice drop-down tab. You're gonna make sure it's centered. You can move it around until you see the cross. They'll tell you it's in the middle. So crowded that circle. So I think I'll keep it. Keep that and just change the color. You should have your color codes by now so you can copy. Tap into the code section. I'm just going to pick a random one. Mistake of the tutorial. That pink. I'm gonna get rid of the slide here. Just delete because there's quite a lot of other elements you can use. You probably want to keep it quite simple for a logo because so you are going to be duplicating it alot. So nothing too complicated, but just some simple line drawings of flowers or something like that usually works quite well. Highlight those line elements. I'm going to just use that to go around, drag to change size. And again, make sure it's centered. . Just changing the transparency here so it doesn't take away from the wording too much. And I think I'll change those as well and make the background of the circle a bit darker so you can see everything. Don't be afraid to play around a lot until you get something that you like. And there's lots of different things you can move around and try. It works for you. And if you need to send an item behind some finales in news position and then various features could lock at birth so it doesn't move around. You can now add all different types of photo combinations on a foe in that upload your own files. And there you have it. This could be a lot better, but this is just kind of quick demonstration. Once you've done you download it, you can change the file type. I usually tend to download logos as PNG files. And there you have it. That's my very quick tutorial on her crate, a logo in Canva. But if you don't want to use Canva, there are also a ton of logo templates on places like Creative Market. Or you could pay someone else to create one for you by going to sites like five or Upwork. And there are a ton of logo designers on there that can create a one for not too high the price. Once you've created it, attach a picture if you want to show off what you've made. 7. Set up social media accounts: This is a pretty straightforward step, but it's still an important one. Social media is often a place that customers go first to check the you're the real deal and you may even want to use it as one of your sales channels. So it's important to set them up properly. You don't need to try and juggle all of the different social media accounts for your business. I'd actually advise you just to focus on one or two and build those up before you think about any others. Just think about the ones where your customers are most likely to hang out, even so, I do think it's better to just set up all of the accounts when you start. And then maybe if you want to dabble with them down the line than they are waiting for you. And it also means nobody else can knick them in the meantime. So before you set up all of your social media accounts, a is best to have a dedicated email address. You could have a dedicated company one, but that usually costs money. So I usually just start with a free Gmail account. And that is probably the easiest and quickest way to do it. For most niches, I'd say a Facebook page is a must-have, as there are still so many users on Facebook, it is a good opportunity for selling and it's really easy to do. Instagram is a great way to find potential customers. However, with a vinyl business, it can be tricky to generate enough pictures if you're not directly making finished products, but if you're prepared to share behind the scenes picture and really let your customers get to know you that this could be the one for you. I personally don't use Twitter for businesses. That's not really where my customers tend to hang out, but it could be very useful for you, especially if you're targeting businesses or people with really specific hobbies. Pinterest doesn't technically belong here, as it is actually more of a search engine option, but it's definitely a very useful tool to promote your business and can lead to huge traffic numbers when it's used right. Then of course, there are various other mediums you can use like YouTube, LinkedIn, tick tok, and new ones coming out all the time. It goes without saying that social media should be kept. Business focused. Yes, share funny gifs that are relevant to your niche. Engage with visitors, use it to connect to other businesses in your industry and talk about your family and the behind the scenes stuff. But don't share every little thing like what you had for lunch, don't post negative comments about Tricky customers, and definitely don't use it as a place to vent your personal issues. 8. Set up your business: Before you start selling anything, you need to make sure that you are legally ready to make money and have a plan in place to keep a record of your expenses for tax purposes. You will need to check your country or state specific guidelines on how to start a business and the steps that you need to take. You may be able to just register self-employed, or you might need to register as a business. The best thing to do is to call your local tax office for assistance. I'll add as many links as I can find in the Resources page for you to take a look at and have a read, it may seem daunting and I can't legally advise anyone what the best route to take is. But it's usually a very simple process once you get started and once it's set up, that's it done. Unless you want to be in a blind panic before your tax deadline every year then keeping a record of all of your incomes and outgoings as the year progresses is a must. If you want to take the free no-frills route then you can just start an Excel spreadsheet and keep a note of everything on there. However, there are so many good and easy accountancy softwares out there now that I think that's the best way to go. I personally use Wave. They're free and they're very easy to use. They let you add everything under specific categories, generate branded invoices and they show you your profit and loss and expenses and breakdowns in really easy to use diagrams. So that's why I've stuck with them. However, in certain places they don't let you sync your bank account up with their software, so you have to manually add everything that comes into your bank. And that does take a bit of time. If you'd rather something quick and to just sync up with your bank, then consider a paid version like FreshBooks or Zero, or something like that. I link a few options in the resources sections. You can have a look anyway. And then speaking of bank accounts, I again, I don't have the training to advise anyone in this but you may not necessarily need a business account. I'm a sole trader rather than a limited company. And I get paid twice monthly from Etsy rather than in small increments. I just use a standard account for my business expenses, but I make sure it is only used for that specific purpose. You could also have a dedicated business PayPal account. But this may be tricky if you're dealing with businesses who don't use paypal. If you're unsure, speak to your bank. They might try and sell you a fancy business account that you have to pay for. But hopefully if you explain your situation and that you are just starting out. There'll be able to tell you the best thing to do. Either way, make sure you have an account by a solely for business use. 9. Congratulations & What's Next: And just like that. You've opened a brand new business. Congratulations on completing the course and thank you so much for joining me on this journey. Are you excited, you should be. This is just the beginning. There's a lot that goes into actually running a successful Vinyl business. This is literally just the introduction to opening one. So for more tips please follow me on YouTube, at Vinyl Decal School, and follow my teacher page on skill share to keep an eye out for other courses that will help you grow your Vinyl business.