advice for start up biz? [Archive] - Rubber Stamp Chat

View Full Version : advice for start up biz?

10-03-2008, 07:20 AM
Hi. I posted the following 'intro' just moments ago under welcome. I'm pasting it here:

I first began using rubber stamps only a few years ago when doing art with my little girl. Rubber stamps were a great way we could both do some art with the same materials. She is now 6.

Simultaneously, I began making boxes for gifts, and subsequently to sell. These boxes are made with book binding methods and generate loads of beautiful scraps of paper. I started using rubber stamps on cards with these scraps of paper, but longed for my own art. I have done some work as an illustrator, particularly pen and ink, of fungi. I keep nature journals, do macro photography, and had recently taken a scientific illustration workshop on butterflies. This was where I thought I might be headed when the idea came to make my own rubber stamps.

I've made one 'test' run which is up at My second batch of art now as sheets of rubber just arrived in the mail yesterday! So you can imagine I have a lot of questions. I should also note that I live in Fairbanks, Alaska... it's isolated, and thus a bit hard to get advice, not to mention art supplies!

One question I'd love to ask is related to rubber stamps conventions/shows. I know absolutely nothing about these. I'm wondering if I should attend one? and how would I know which one? I'm unsure if I would go to be more in touch, or to actually sell my stamps.


10-03-2008, 10:32 PM
If you can these are the five I highly recommend
1 StampawayUSA cincinatti oh
Absolutely the best show in the country.
2 Artiscape near columbus oh run by european papers
a great smaller artsy show with classes
3.Puyallup WA run by Heirloom productions
tons of great vendors
4 The Great ARt Adventure in spokane Wa
its my home show and what I think is really the future of art/stamp shows
5 Grapevine Texas heirloom production
just cause I LOVE TEXAS the people are a blast!!!!!:wave:

10-03-2008, 10:34 PM
Most of the other shows I go to are good and I would say go and support any show that is local to you. Shows are a good way to check out what the companies are doing with their own stuff and refresh yourself on stuff that you might have forgotten about.:wave:

10-03-2008, 10:36 PM
Maggie go for fun first!!! Once you do it as a business it takes the original THRILL out of the show.

stampin stacy
10-03-2008, 10:59 PM
just cause I LOVE TEXAS the people are a blast
Glad youlike our 'lil' state and its citizens :wave: We always have fun when you come to visit us.

Good Luck with your new business mhallam, we'd love to see some of your creations when you get them done.

10-04-2008, 08:29 AM
:wave: Hi Maggie, I understand what you mean by being far away and not being able to get things. I have the same problem here in Mexico. I have started my own business here in Mexico as it is difficult getting English cards here and there is a large population of gringos here. I went to a stamp convention when I lived in Florida and absolutely loved it!! So much to see and do and not enough money to get all that I wanted to buy.:cry: Had a great time and would love to attend another. There are no stamps here and I get paper by going into Guadalaraja to the paper district. Life is different here but would not change a thing except being able to buy stamping supplies.:clap:
Looking forward to seeing what you create!:clap::clap:

10-04-2008, 11:37 AM
Thanks so much for specific shows and other advice. I'll make it a goal to get to a show just to look. I can imagine going to sell will change the dynamic entirely, especially the first time.

Thanks for your time!

10-04-2008, 07:47 PM
The main thing about starting any business is do your research. Research and ask questions. find out if there is anyone doing what you are thinking about already. REsearch it pays off in the end!!!!!
Good Luck

10-04-2008, 09:04 PM
Thanks again. I do think it's time for me to venture to a show. I feel like I have a good grasp on illustration and know the subject matter I want to depict, but I'm a little foggy on who and what people are doing with all these stamps. Seems endless. Going to a show will certainly be research. When I go home to visit family in the lower 48, I visit shops with paper and stamps. I've been very encouraged.


10-08-2008, 05:05 AM
Hi Maggie! If you're selling unmounted rubber it will probably be easier for you to sell at a show than with mounted rubber, simply in terms of weight and bulk to transport. I have no idea what the cost to sell at a show is, and I'm sure it varies from one to the next, but as a consumer I know I LOVE to see new, innovative and individually-owned companies that are new at the shows I attend (I'm in the North East). I've owned my own craft ribbon business for 10 years now and I have never sold at a convention because my margin is small and I just didn't think it would fly. Best to you in your new endeavor!

10-08-2008, 09:33 AM
Thanks Debbie, makes sense. I started off selling both unmounted and mounted.

At least from my way of thinking (admittedly a beginner), I like how this allows nearly anyone to buy a stamp. Stampers or not. People who don't stamp much, or who are buying a gift, probably want them mounted. People with a thousand stamps probably want unmounted. Makes sense that people who attend shows are already hooked.

I also hope my designs attract people who might not stamp much, people who are nature enthusiasts in particular. As a former fungi illustrator, I know I have a real weakness for anything with mushrooms on it. I'd never pass up a nice morel.


10-09-2008, 06:56 AM
I wish you could come up and give me a mushroom lesson I have lots of different kinds!

wood veneer man
10-09-2008, 07:24 AM
Hi Maggie,Thanks alot for offering your insight into starting a buissnes .I am in the process and wow do I have a lot to learn. Your tipps are great. I am trying to get a nitche started with postcards out of wood veneer .How much buisness do I need to have before I can justify going to a show and start selling.

Thanks alot,
Wood veneer man

10-11-2008, 10:19 PM
Wood veneer man,

I really can't say regarding how much business you'd need. I have yet to do this myself. I'm guessing it depends on the cost of a booth/table and travel expenses. Personally, I am starting off with a popular local Christmas bazaar. There is a fairly low fee for a table.

MaryJo has all the experience, I was mostly wondering the same thing myself.


10-12-2008, 04:08 PM
Well this is a tough question...If most vendors knew what they were up against. Let me break it down not to scare you but to be realistic and so you all know what it really takes to be a vendor.
First off you need to be making a profit on your goods before you get to a show. So lets say your new product costs you with raw materials, packaging and labor 50cents to make you need to sell that item in your booth for $2(retail) now I know that sounds high but you have to also pay the electricity and other costs that you usually do not take into account like insurance etc oh and pay yourself. If you go to a show you'll ended up paying a booth fee and travel expenses as well as shipping your goods and booth so lets pretend your small booth fee is $500 shipping 4 trunks of goods maybe $350 hotel for 4 days at a cheap hotel double occupancy (cause who wants to go alone?) plus taxes $400, meals on the cheap $240 more if you drink;) airfare or gas lets be on the low side $300 and last but not least the coast of your actual goods( you had to make it for the show right?) $500 so your costs before you even get there is $2290 will you make that at your first show? probably not. but if you were very lucky and had an awesome product and a demonstrator or free make &take (which will cost you) you might make a bit over that and as you can see you are going to have to sell at least of one item @$2 thats a lot of one item. :))
The most of any one stamp I have ever sold at a show was 52.
Hope I haven't discouraged you!:noway::wave: Most 1st time vendors without any of this knowledge so ignorance is bliss.
Now I know some of the vendors will say I don't spend that much on ----- but this is an average over the last 20 years and I would guess I am really on the low side of things.
PS you might need to also rent a car and have extra insurance for travel, life and hope to GOD your stuff that you shipped last week arrives at the destination !