Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi my name is David Rubie-Todd and I am one of the founders of Sticker it. We print custom stickers and labels for people and brands all over the world.
We use digital manufacturing to both widen the possibilities of what can be produced and lower set up costs to make it accessible for everyone. We’ve also created an intuitive front-end which makes getting a custom product as simple as possible, quick and easy.
What's your personal history and the inspiration for your business?
I started off by racing go-karts back in 1999. When I was 16 years old, my brother and I, launched Kartdavid which designs and manufactures graphics for the Motorsport industry. This business was our first venture into manufacturing and producing custom products.
Over about 10 years that business grew and expanded and we got pretty good at making custom stickers and looked at what we should be doing next. This is when we decided to launch Sticker it which eventually went live in 2018.
The problem we decided to solve was to bring beautiful product labels to small businesses.
Big brands that order 50,000 units can get beautiful labels using traditional printing methods. But there are large set up fees and so this is inaccessible to small businesses that may want 50 labels.
This is where digital manufacturing comes in. We can produce a wide range with very low set up costs and we now sell as little as one 4×4 cm sticker.
Describe the process of launching your remote business
We launched Sticker it following 10 years of success growing Kartdavid so we had a lot of domain knowledge in terms of manufacturing.
Because we are a manufacturing business we have a facility in Bristol, United Kingdom where everything is made and we ship from there. The team only started to go remote when we launch Sticker it.
We now have people in the Philippines, Taiwan, Argentina, Nigeria, Germany and of course in the UK. The amazing thing about hiring a remote team is that it opens up the talent pool massively. We go from being able to hire people within 15 miles of Bristol to opening up nearly the whole world. All we really need is a good Internet connection.
By hiring a remote team we can also cover different time zones much better than we can from just being in the UK. So we have designers and customer service people spread across nearly 24 hours/day without having to work night shifts.
What has worked to attract customers and earn their loyalty?
The most important thing by far is to consistently produce beautiful products.
Because everything is custom made to order it’s very difficult to scale this and make it repeatable. So we’ve invested a lot of money in systems and processes and manufacturing equipment to make sure we produce perfect stickers and labels every single time.
The other thing we focus on is the user experience. We put a lot of effort into improving the website and the ordering process. We also work on what happens after a customer places an order. Because we make everything to order, it takes about one week and therefore communication is vital during this time.
Knowing what you know now, are there things you would have done differently when first starting out?
Yes, 100%. There are so many things I would do differently knowing what I now know.
If you get the opportunity to hire somebody that’s built something very similar to what you’re trying to build, do it! If you can’t hire them, get advice from them because they can save you years of time and a lot of money.
The biggest change I would make is to the platform we chose for our website. We started off using Magento and spent thousands trying to make it work for us and over a year of effort. We should have simply started with Shopify and used its incredible ecosystem of applications to start quickly and build from there.
What has been the best part of starting a remote business?
The best part about starting a business is the freedom and the opportunities to work on what you’re passionate about. I think this goes for both remote and non-remote businesses.
The bit I really enjoy having a remote team is all the different people from different cultures and backgrounds bringing different ideas and perspectives on what we are doing.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We started off building our website using Magento, and as I mentioned earlier quickly realized this was a mistake. We decided to use BigCommerce next instead of Shopify because of some B2B features we wanted. This worked very very well for us.
As we’ve grown we have recently launched a website built on Gatsby and Dato CMS using Stripe checkout. This is more of a full custom stack that allows us to get incredible load speeds and full customization and internationalization. But I wouldn’t recommend it for starters.
Honestly, I would suggest you use Shopify and keep it as standard as possible to speed up launching because that’s when the real learning happens.
What have been the most influential books, networking groups, podcasts, or other resources you've found?
I‘m a big reader and have many favorite books. For some reason I’ve never gotten into podcasts. Here are my favorite books:
The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People
Good to Great
Principles, by Ray Dalio
The Score takes care of itself, by Bill Walsh.
Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight
Growth Hacker Marketing, by Ryan Holiday
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to build a remote business of their dreams?
Go for it! Unless you act, nothing will change.
Just understand the decisions you’re taking and the risk they carry.
Some decisions are easily reversible so try and take these quickly. Some decisions are very hard to reverse or have huge catastrophic risk so these decisions you take much slower.
So as long as you understand these different types of decisions you can move very quickly most of the time because there are very few decisions that aren’t easily reversible.
Challenge your thinking on which decisions are reversible and you’ll discover that most of them are.
Are there any positions or internships you're hiring for now?
We’re not actively hiring at this very moment (Feb 2023), however we are regularly hiring more people in graphic design, customer service and web development. So please check out our website to see if we have any positions available.
Even if we don’t have anything advertised, if you love what we do and feel you could really add value, please get in touch with us. We’re always looking for amazing people to join our team.