While working in the sign industry for almost 25 years, often I would see people come in wanting car window decals or custom lettering for their vehicle windows. Almost always, this particular type of customer would leave disappointed because the sign shop would either not want to "bother" with such a small job and not do it, or the shop would do it but charge a very high price and take a week or two to complete it. After I left the sign business for medical and personal reasons and decided to try making a go of something on my own, I remembered this and had the thought, "Why not make decals and lettering for all those people who could not get what they wanted from sign shops?"
I had the equipment and skills needed, and decals and signs are pretty much the same thing, just on a smaller scale. Plus, I have always been artistic and like to think I am a pretty good designer. So, the idea for DecalsByUs.com was born.
I remember very well my first attempt at selling decals. I had heard that a local antique shop was having an outdoor craft show in the empty lot next to their business and thought this would be a good place to try out my idea. I signed up for it and then created about 40 decal designs to sell. Since the location was outdoors and had no electricity, I pre-cut the decals using just one color vinyl, white, and made up a few foam board displays. My thought was that people could just look at the decals I had displayed, pick out the one they wanted and the sale was made. Boy did I have a lot to learn.
The big day came and I my wife and I got there early, set everything up and just waited for the customers. Things kind of went down-hill from there. What I did not plan for was the wind, the heat and the insects. Foam board displays tend to blow over very easily with the slightest gust of wind, and they were a challenge to keep the upright throughout the day. A pleasant morning soon turned into a very hot day and the lot had no shade trees. At that time of year, South Georgia summers are known for a particular annoying insect called Sand Gnats that love to hover around your face and eyes with the single minded intent of driving you crazy.
I will say that there were lots of customers who showed up. The only problem was that they looked but seldom bought my decals. Being new at it, I really had no clue as to what kind of decals people really want to put on their vehicles. What did not help sales was that even when a potential customer liked one of my designs, they often wanted the decal in a different color or size than ones I had pre-cut. The good thing about that day was that I met a lot nice people and learned a great deal about what I would have to change if I wanted to be successful in selling decals.
After that disappointing first attempt at selling decals, I could have easily given up, but I chose to look on it as a learning experience. Selling decals outdoors was just not practical. I would need more designs for customers to choose from, and I needed to offer more sizes and color options. I also need to be able to answer customer’s questions about application, durability, and removal.
I continue to sell decals directly to customers each weekend at a local flea market (indoors this time). This interaction with people helps me to keep informed on the needs, questions and concerns of decal buyers. I have taken this knowledge and what I have learned from past experiences and used it to make DecalsByUs.com what I think is one of the best websites on the internet to get your decals from.
If you are wondering why it is "Decals By Us", and not "Decals By Me", it's because I get a lot of help, encouragement, and support from my wife Wendy, and even though she may not even realize it, she is as much a part of this business as I am.