Lucy and Lisa Zhou are sisters, and co-owners, of their own company Sticker Guru. They completed Teachable’s Live Launch Accelerator Challenge in order to create a course to add to their existing online business. The pair design foiled stickers for their customers to use in planners to add a bit of fun to their day. Then they added an online course on how to foil planner stickers to their business. The following is a question and answer that has been edited for clarity and length with the two creators to help others see how useful the Live Launch Accelerator Challenge can be.
Who are you, the two business owners behind Sticker Guru?
We are the owners of Sticker Guru, a stationery and sticker shop based in sunny San Diego! In case you can’t tell, we are sisters. Lisa is the founder and started the business in 2016, and Lucy joined a year after the shop opened. We also host a podcast called Big Plans Podcast where we talk about running a sticker shop and our small business experiences.
When and how did you start Sticker Guru?
Lisa started Sticker Guru when she was 17 and still in high school. She had started using stickers in her planner after being inspired by some Youtube videos she watched. Being a poor high school student, she quickly discovered that it would make more sense financially to make her own stickers instead of buying them. Then she started sharing the stickers she created on Instagram. Encouraged by the people commenting and expressing their interest in purchasing these stickers, she began to sell her products on Etsy.
We started with selling planner stickers, and it’s remained our core business. But we’ve expanded over the years to other stationery items like washi tape and sticky notes, as well as planners.
Lucy joined in 2017, a year after Lisa had launched her Etsy shop. She was working in influencer marketing in the Bay Area at the time, and saw how quickly Lisa grew her shop without any marketing efforts. With Lucy’s marketing background they figured the two of them could take Sticker Guru to the next level. So she quit her job and moved back to San Diego to join her sister.
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That’s amazing! So what made you want to add an online course to the existing business?
One of our core brand values is to empower and educate existing and aspiring small business owners. Initially, that just started off as creating short educational content on our Instagram and TikTok, but then it turned into a podcast too. We started the Big Plans Podcast because we were getting so many questions on social media about running a sticker shop, so we figured the easiest way to answer them would be to address all of it in a podcast episode where we could discuss those questions at length.
On the podcast, we talk about our experiences running a sticker shop over the past six years, and we cover things like the pros and cons of being on Etsy vs. Shopify, or how we grew our small business organically, or our most expensive mistakes.
We realized that there are many questions and topics that we actually couldn’t just answer verbally. There are many things like sticker-making techniques and troubleshooting questions that need a visual element and more context.
So we decided that an online course would make the most sense to help continue our mission of educating others. With an online course, we’re able to provide more information in a mix of forms, like written, verbal and visual. We also found that we had listeners from all over the spectrum, from sticker enthusiasts to seasoned shop owners, so creating an online course allowed us to include information for all levels.
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How did you end up choosing Teachable when the time came?
Funny enough, we took an online course on how to make an online course. The instructor recommended Teachable because it’s what she had personally used, and we enjoyed the interface as students.
When we got more serious about creating the online course, we did more research into the different teaching platforms available. Teachable was not only the most affordable option but offered the most value and had a very easy-to-use set-up. We’re honestly really happy with our Teachable experience, both as students and as teachers.
What was it like being in our Live Launch Accelerator Challenge to create your course?
It was so great! Like we mentioned before, we had paid for an online course to learn about making an online course. This was before we knew that Teachable had its own resources to help guide you through the whole course creation process. What Teachable provided in the Kickstart program [now Live Launch Accelerator Challenge] was more helpful than the course we took, especially since it’s set up in weekly chunks to give you time to work on reaching the end goal. The most helpful part that we found was getting personalized feedback on our sales page, since that was something that we really struggled with making “perfect.”
Our course is called Flawless Foiling, and it covers everything you need to know about foiling stickers. We chose this topic because it is one of our most highly requested topics to cover, both for our social media content and on our podcast. Having gone through years of trial and error ourselves, we wanted to save others the time and mistakes that we had already spent and personally made.
So this course contains all of our knowledge and experience of foiling from the past four years, we really don’t hold anything back. We reveal our trade secret foil supplier as well as our foiling techniques that we use to get a flawless foil. We also have troubleshooting tips every step of the way, and we have a Facebook community for students and alumni to ask us questions at our weekly office hours.
What was your favorite part of creating the course?
Our favorite part of creating the course was definitely putting it all together and launching it. There is no better feeling than seeing all of your hard work come together into a neatly packaged course that makes other people’s lives easier.
It feels incredibly worth it when you have students enroll and provide feedback that your course helped them. Because that has always been our goal of creating this first course! We had such a good experience with the creation and launch of our first course that we have started working on the next two. Making the Flawless Foiling course was a learning experience by itself, and we aim to use our new knowledge to make our next courses even better.
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