Travels around the world grant us the opportunities to experience life from different perspectives. They give us the opportunity to live like the people who host us, and to experience different cultures, cuisines, events, and lifestyles. Remi and Alondra travelled to Tokyo and had an experience of a lifetime. They didn’t just experience lifestyles, Japan’s capital city gave them a break into their entrepreneurship journey.
In our startup story this week we discuss with Remi Silva, the Founder of a startup known as Blank Tag Co., a company that delivers happiness through stickers.
ABOUT BLANK TAG CO.
Together with Alondra, the co-founder of Blank Tag Co. and Remi’s girlfriend, they started the company hoping to make everyone around the world feel represented through stickers. It started as a simple trip to Tokyo where they saw a company named B-Side Label in Harajaku that mainly sold stickers at their store.
“We were absolutely in awe of how amazing the stickers were and that they had enough demand that they could support operating a store in a popular street,” Remi comments.
Despite the fact that Tokyo is largely a Japanese capital, it is, like many other cities around the world, a very cosmopolitan capital with people from everywhere around the world. However, the store that Remi and Alondra saw was predominantly focused on the Japanese people, and the stickers were geared towards the Japanese market with a lot of cultural relevance to the native people of Japan.
“Once we got back to the U.S., I couldn’t stop thinking about the stickers and kept wondering why there isn’t something like this in the U.S,” says Remi. To test out the idea, he began selling stickers of Zombies and pop art.
He continues, “ These didn’t really sell because they weren’t culturally relevant to the U.S.”
The product validation had failed. However, and most importantly, Remi had learnt the main reason why the first set of stickers didn’t sell well. Alondra too hopped in with some supporting advice.
“She said we should dig a little deeper and make stickers that are culturally relevant to Latinos as she’s Salvadoran and I’m part Mexican.”
The cultural relevance factor is what made the store in Tokyo sell a lot of them. The same concept would perhaps work in the US. And it did.
“Once we started making Latino-themed stickers, it started working,” Remi adds.
People are strongly attached to their cultures. This is especially the case in a diverse country like the USA. With a lot of cultures spread across over 100 cities, it is easy to see why people never want to let their cultures go. Culture defines them even in foreign lands. They want to keep a piece of home and Blank Tag Co. is there to ensure that love is spread through the cultures and people get to feel represented even if they were far from their home countries.
“Now we’re focused on making stickers relevant to all cultures in the U.S.”
A bigger conviction statement from the About Us page on Blank Tag Co. is quite a thrill to read and we thought to just share it here:
B-Side Label inspired us to create blank tag co. Culture and representation are very important to both of us and we want to showcase that to the world via stickers. Stickers are more than just a piece of paper you place somewhere. Stickers are an expression of who you are, what you associate with, and a way to capture memories. The stickers we make are chosen specifically with the aim to make all of our customers feel a sense of belonging and pride when they see them. We want to create stickers that will evoke emotion out of everyone who purchases or sees them. With every new design, we hope that our stickers bring you the same excitement and happiness that we feel every time we think of our culture and travel memories.
Blank Tag Co. is built like your normal eCommerce site allowing the customer to easily get stickers in a process that they understand. From purchasing to shipping, it all works like an online shopping site would.
Remi says, “Once a customer purchases a sticker, we ship it out within 48 hours.”
The stickers on Blank Tag Co. are not customizable by customers. The goal is to ensure that image ownership is handled well as this can be quite an impediment to business today. In fact, the ownership of creative content is a complex matter that Remi and Alondra are not willing to allow to jeopardize their business. Additionally, customers not being able to customize the stickers is another feature that helps Blank Tag Co. to stand out seeing as there are hundreds of sites that allow you to customize your stickers online, albeit, in a very complex arrangement.
WHY BLANK TAG CO.
There is hardly, if ever, a new idea in the market. This begs the question as to why Blank Tag Co. believes it is different as a company with its offerings.
“Our biggest selling proposition is that we make stickers that are culturally relevant and we focus on nostalgia,” remarks Remi Silva. He continues, “A lot of stickers companies make stickers that are pop-culture relevant, with catchy phrases, but we try to make things that are more timeless.”
It might seem like it is not much difference, but at Pressfarm we have seen multi-million dollar companies built to reflect culture from food to fashion and films. For this reason, this aspect of Blank Tag Co. differentiates the brand by offering a unique proposition to customers. Nostalgia is definitely big, and a lot of people want to live and relive memories that make them happy. If Blank Tag Co. can do that then they have a very important part to play in how people remember who they are. Ultimately, these memories can generate lots of business.
In case you are not convinced on the cultural front, Remi guarantees the durability of the stickers, “Our stickers are extremely durable as well so you don’t have to rebuy the same sticker over and over (unless you really love that sticker!)”
A lot of startups begin as small side-hustles and grow into big companies. This is what Remi and Alondra are hoping will happen for Blank Tag Co.
“We both have full-time jobs, but it doesn’t prevent us from growing Blank Tag at night,” he says. “We spend a few hours every night packing stickers, working on the site, or working on product development.”
Many founders are not aware they can do this. All it takes is focus, and Remi’s startup is a good example. When you are not able to leave your day job, it makes sense to grow your startup during the extra hours away from work until the demand of your products and services force you out of your full-time job. It is safer than jumping into the unknown world of entrepreneurship without a fallback plan in the event that your company were to fail.
While many startups have target markets, this cannot be said of Blank Tag Co. Rather than one specific target market, the company is focused on everyone. After all, happiness and the need for representation doesn’t just apply to one demographic. It applies to all of us.
“Yes, our target market is everyone. Our goal is to make stickers for everyone so that they feel represented,” says the founder. That, of course, presents a bit of a pickle when it comes to marketing. In this situation, it’s hard to focus your ads properly because your target audience is too wide. Even so, this is not a huge worry for the Blank Tag Co. team.
“Our growth strategy is mainly to make the best stickers around and grow it through word of mouth.”
A lot of companies grow through word of mouth about having the best product and we will wait to see how this pans out for Remi and his team.
THE FUTURE OF BLANK TAG CO.
Beyond 2019, Remi and Alondra have big goals set for Blank Tag Co. And yes, you guessed it, they want to have as many a variety of stickers for different cultures as possible.
“Our plan is to have 750 stickers on the site by end of the year and add 250 new stickers every year. Our biggest goal is to open a store in Los Angeles, but that’s still a while away. Something we’d love to do also is partner with B-Side Label and bring this full circle.”
One of the most important reasons why we feature these startup stories is to share advice from founders around the world on startups and entrepreneurship. Remi advises new entrepreneurs to focus on cash-flow, and take care of customers.
He adds, “Be original. There are so many gimmicky products out in the market and they’re flashes in the pan. If you build a brand, focus on making a great product, and take care of your customers, everything should go well.”
And that is the Blank Tag Co. story from inspiration to how it runs and what it hopes to build itself into looking towards the future.
Every week we publish a new feature story like this one about brands and startups that are working with us and using our platform for media outreach. Blank Tag Co. is now working with Pressfarm to help out with PR outreach. If you would like to read some of our previous startup stories, click here.