It sticks with you

Kaori Takiguchi creates and sells stickers

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Selling over 300 stickers within the span of four months, junior Kaori Takiguchi runs a sticker business that allows her to channel her creativity and interact with a unique demographic.

Balancing creativity and customers’ interests, Takiguchi believes that the hardest part of running a business is marketing to customers and creating designs that they will enjoy.

“I have to make designs that people will actually buy,” Takiguchi said. “People give suggestions and I take requests. If I see something I like or think other people will like, I make designs of it.” 

Takiguchi usually makes her own designs from scratch, but she will occasionally use designs she finds online; nevertheless, she is more proud of the designs she makes. 

When she does create her own designs, Takiguchi takes inspiration for designs from her everyday life and incorporates it in her stickers. 

“The things I design are specific to my life. For example, one of my designs is of my tortoise. I drew inspiration from the intricacy of her shell. My customers appreciate my designs and the creativity behind them,” Takiguchi said.

Although the process is “time-consuming,” Takiguchi crafts all of the stickers. She starts off by drawing the designs and printing them out. She then puts a special packing tape on top of the designs to make them durable and water-resistant. She finishes off the designs by putting them in a sticker maker machine so they are adhesive; she charges twenty-five cents for each sticker.

Along with the creative aspect of making stickers, Takiguchi’s business encouraged her to reach out to new people and develop “crucial” communication skills. She has developed “meaningful” connections that she never would have formed without selling stickers. 

“There are so many people I met through my business. They are really nice and I never would’ve met them without it,” Takiguchi said. “I have to go out of my way to be friendly. In a way, my business has taught me how to communicate.”

In order to gain more customers, Takiguchi’s friends notify their friends about her stickers and the word spreads. She is always “ecstatic” when people whom she is not too familiar make the effort to compliment her designs. 

Takiguchi’s business strategy consists of her ability to reach out to her customers. She also advertises her merchandise through her friends’ support that allows her to reach out to new groups of people.

“My friends buy my stickers and promote it by reaching out to other people. Some friends advertise the stickers on Instagram or Snapchat while others do it in person,” Takiguchi said.

Not knowing whether her business was going to be successful or not, Takiguchi had a message for anyone aspiring to start their own business.

Photo by Eliana Vasquez
Takiguchi holds up her phone case, decorated with the stickers she has designed.

“You can be creative and it doesn’t hurt to try something new,” Takiguchi said. “I didn’t know what other people would think of my business. I didn’t know if people were going to criticize or hate it, but I still tried it out. Even if some people are uninterested, I find a way to build upon myself. Go out of your way and be unique.”