New Bellingham sticker shop gets noticed with bold branding

By Emily Hamann
The Bellingham Business Journal

One of the major challenges of starting a new business is getting your name out there. A 3-foot tall, more than 30-foot long sign on the front of your business on a high-traffic road in Bellingham might do the trick.

That’s what Carlos Olvera, 35, and Andrew Howard, 28, were counting on when they started their company Stickers for Days at 2110 James St. in Bellingham. Their building is hard to miss.

“The sign has already paid for itself,” Howard said. Even though they haven’t been in business very long, they get new customers every day, including many who just come in from the sidewalk.

They opened in May.

Stickers in general have become a popular way for businesses to market themselves.

Bellingham’s Kombucha Town is launching some new marketing efforts. Those efforts included using Stickers for Days to print stickers with the company logo on them.

“It’s a cool way to get cheap marketing” Kyle Petershagen, content manager for Kombucha Town, said. “A good way to get brand recognition in a small town.” The store gives out the stickers for free, and hope that customers will stick them somewhere visible to other people. The Kombucha Town sticker includes the logo, the business name and the Instagram icon.

“It would be a way for [people] to see our logo and connect with our brand on social media,” Petershagen said.

Of course, Stickers for Days makes stickers. But they also offer a variety of other print services, from vinyl banners, yard signs, storefront signs or stickers, to vehicle wraps. They can also offer graphic design services.

Howard is the graphic designer, while Olvera specializes in vinyl. Olvera grew up in Indiana, and some of his first jobs were wrapping cars for the Nascar and F-1 races.

Howard and Olvera met while working together at another local print shop, and stayed friends after they both left that job.

The idea to go into business came about when they were talking over beers one night.

“I didn’t even know if we were serious about it,” Howard said.

They were brainstorming names for their business, and eventually one of them threw out Stickers for Days.

“It just brought a smile every time we said it,” Olvera said.

The URL was available, so they grabbed it.

“Pretty quickly it was apparent that this was going to happen,” Olvera said. “I was going to make it happen.”

Olvera had recently left his job at another shop in Bellingham.

“I had the decision to make if I was going to start at the bottom someplace else, or do something for myself,” he said.

He chose to do something for himself.

“It just seemed like it was the next step for me,” he said. “I wanted to take that risk for myself.”

Their major investment was a commercial printer, which can handle a number of different mediums, and print and cut stickers all on the same machine, which allows for more intricate shapes.

Stickers that are cut to the shape of the words or graphic — as opposed to just being printed on a white square or circle — are especially popular these days.

They made their sign so big because, well, because they could.

“We had the space,” Olvera said. “The owner said to use the whole thing.”

A lot of the their branding decisions happened because of their sign.

They chose a gray background, and mint green text, and designed their logo to fill the space on their building.

The mint was inspired by Olveras truck, which he had recently wrapped to be the same color.

“Mint brings a smile to people,” Olvera said.

Hanging on the fence outside is an example of their sign-making handiwork. “A savage journey awaits”, a Hunter S. Thompson reference, is printed in white against a jungle-plant background.

The key to their branding is not taking themselves too seriously. Their Instagram page includes video of the printer at work, construction progress photos, and the office dog Boris.

“We like to be fun with it,” Howard said.


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