My Essentials for Starting a Stationery Business
When it comes to starting an at-home stationery business, the startup costs can be low and after you have done your research, you can get to selling fairly quickly! In this blog, I have listed my start up essentials to get my business from being just an idea in my head to having my physical products being on my website and purchased within my first two months. As long as you have the drive and passion for what you do, you can absolutely achieve your dream of starting your stationery business!
1. iMac & Software
This is one of the more pricier items you will need to account for. You do not necessarily need an iMac, it is just what I had already! I have the M1 iMac with 16GB memory and 1TB internal storage and I have had no issues with running various software at once so I highly recommend if you are looking to purchase one to start your business.
- Adobe inDesign - This is the program I use to design all of my products! It is quite simple to learn and use.
- Adobe Photoshop - I use this to set up my print files or edit any imagery/graphics that I will be using on my stationery products or website.
- Adobe Lightroom - This is the photo editing software I use to edit my product pictures I take before adding them to my website, pinterest or instagram.
- Canva - If you do not have access to the Adobe Creative Suite, this is a great alternative to designing your stationery products! They have templates you can use and lots of other features and is very straight forward to learn and use right away.
2. Printer & Ink
In the beginning when you are just figuring out what products you want to make and understand the initial demand for them, I personally believe the best way to go is to make them yourself at first instead of outsourcing. This way, you won't have an excessive amount of stock for when business is initially slow and you can easily make your products when you get sales. The printer I use is the Canon TS9521C which can print borderless and up to 11"x17".
Ink can be pretty pricey, but through trial and error I learned that off-brand ink on Amazon works just as well as Canon ink! I use the EZ-ink cartridges which are about half the price. Before buying, make sure the ink cartridges are compatible with your printer!
3. Guillotine Paper Cutter
When you start making your products at home, an industrial paper cutter like this is priceless- especially when making notepads so you do not have to cut each page by hand and risk things not lining up after you spent all that time printing each page! I got this one on Amazon - it is the HFS (R) Heavy Duty Guillotine Paper Cutter 12". I use this for making all of my notepads and getting the perfect edges for my pocket notebooks.
4. Cinch Machine for Binding
To make my spiral bound notebooks, I use the Heidi Swapp Cinch Machine. This little machine punches holes in multiple sheets of paper at a time, helps you line the pages to add the metal coil and then has a spot in the back to press the coil down to secure the notebook. For metal coils, I source mine from MyBinding.com and this machine uses the Twinloop 3:1 Pitch Wire. The diameter varies on how many pages you want your notebook to be and the cover and back cover thickness.
5. Product Photography - Lights & Backdrop
For lighting, I use this Softbox Lighting Kit I got on Amazon. Having two light sources is important for flat-lay and product photography to help eliminate any shadows, so I place one on either side of what I am shooting. This kit is fairly inexpensive and is my source of lighting for all of my products you see on my website.
It is also important to have a clean and consistent background, so I have been using vinyl backdrops from Club Backdrops. These are water proof and light weight- I can attach it to my wall with just painters tape and it works like a charm. They have a variety of colors and textures to suit whatever vibe your shop is. If you do not have the budget yet to spend on backdrops, white poster board and cute props can go a long way!
6. Shipping Scale
When you start getting orders and packaging them, it is important to have a shipping scale so you know the weight of your products and packaging materials in order to price your shipping accordingly. I use this cute pink shipping scale from Amazon.
7. Rollo Thermal Printer
Once you start getting orders, it is invaluable to have your own shipping label printer at home. This will save you a ton of time at the post office because you will already have everything labeled and paid for by the time you get there. A thermal label printer, like this one from Rollo, prints with heat using direct thermal technology meaning it does not require any ink to print. In addition to shipping labels, it can also print barcodes, packing slips and stickers! It is also compatible with Etsy and Shopify which makes printing shipping labels with this machine even easier.
These are the major items I used to get my business running and off the ground. Depending on the products you want to create, you may find these helpful or you might research other things! Starting a business is a lot of trial and error I have learned and I really hope this post helps you save time on the research part of your business journey. Best of luck ♡