Planner Series: Week Two of Being a Sticker Slut

I’m officially in this planner-sticker life deep.

I’m casually involved with one really sweet shop, I’ve placed no fewer than five sticker orders over the past two weeks, and I joined three Facebook groups so I could better learn about this gratifying, artistic nonsense. I even finally splashed down on a Polaroid camera so I can veer into something called ‘memory planning,’ which really just seems like a fancy way to say scrapbooking. (Don’t worry, I won’t write a series on that, you are all spared.) Either way, I’m here for it.

This entry, though, is about stickers, and how not all stickers are created equal – even though they all seem to incestuously share the same artwork, and the higher and lower prices between different shops seem completely arbitrary. It turns out they’re not all art-thieving jerks and there is a reason for price differences, and I’m gonna ease you into it because I am sweet like that.

img_5176Sweet like this weekly sticker kit from @LabelledwithLoveCo, $14, Labelled with Love Co.

To better understand the #plannerstickerlife (that’s a foreal popular hashtag on Instagram, I can’t take any credit nor do I really want to), I went ahead and placed orders at five different sticker shops. Of those five, only three made it in time for me to write this post. The orders I put in with the other two won’t be here for likely another week.

That’s because almost all of these sticker shops are run on a large scale by a small few, so when these shops have sales – both of which did, and both of which I took full advantage of – they generally close down for weeks to catch up on orders. Then, your stickers might ship out in like, the next two weeks, which means you have to wait two and a half weeks for a sheet of stickers.

If that sounds ridiculous to you, same! They’re stickers! You’re already paying a stupid amount for a sheet of stickers! Why should you have to wait? That’s how I felt until I remembered that these are real people with lives and full-time jobs and other stuff going on, so for the sake of compassion, I hold no grudges.

(… But know going in that not all stores are created equal, and if you order a sheet of stickers that says ‘February’ on it in the last week of January, you might not get ’em til mid-February.)

For the stickers I did get in time, though, I’ve been really impressed. I understand now why ‘planner stickers’ aren’t the same as buying any sheet of stickers from Michael’s and calling it a day. Stickers made specifically for planners are smoother and matte, so they’re easier to write on with basically any pen or pencil, and thinner so they don’t bulk up the pages of your planner.

And pretty, like this Pamper Yourself kit from Magic Prints, $11.50, Magic Prints Co.

Plus they have planner-specific shapes, like little flags and headers and labels and boxes. My favorites are definitely the icons since I have never thought of dishwashing as a particularly adorable activity until I slapped down a tiny soap-and-dish cartoon icon sticker and embellished it with a laurel leaf. #art

As for the designs themselves, I was really confused when I started this whole thing as to why I kept seeing repeat art in different shops. Half of me was sort of furtively glancing around, like, surely I’m not the only one noticing that all of these people are terrible thieves…? Whereas the other half was like ‘HEY, this one has glitter!’ as I clicked Add to Cart.

It turns out that sticker shops generally don’t create their own art, but instead buy pre-made designs and ‘papers’ from artists. They buy licenses and use them to create however many sticker sheets. This means that a lot of shops have similar kits, though the layout and design of certain key aspects – weekend banners, font, numbers vs deco – changes depending on the sticker creator. One of the most popular artists sticker shops buy from is Bloomsical, and I like to imagine Carine, the woman behind the art, as a mastermind cackling from atop her throne of cash with paintbrush in hand.

make money.jpg“Ha ha I can’t wait to cash in on yet another suite of florals and perfume bottles!”

But then you have the artists who do make their own stickers – as in, hand-draw, design, and print them – and they’re like special unicorns. My favorite of these unicorns is a girl who I’ve been following for like, a year on Instagram, because she’s so talented and her entire aesthetic is what I like to imagine mine would be if I wasn’t a swamp person on the inside.

She runs a shop called Lace & Whimsy and I’ve actually placed two sticker orders with her since they’re pretty and I love them and also her shipping is a dollar. That’s what I’m about, son. Also, she tends to ship within 48 hours of you placing your order, meaning I get my sticker fix within the week. If I sound like I have a girl crush, I do. This isn’t even about planning anymore. I’m going to put these stickers on my laptop case and phone case and potentially my newborn baby come April if I have any left over.

I realize that spread is confusing and weird. It was my first one ever, okay, be cool. Sticker sheets from Lace & Whimsy, $3.30, LaceandWhimsy.com

But the art isn’t the only thing that differentiates the strong from the weak when it comes to sticker shops – there’s also a quality difference. I noticed it straightaway when I opened my order from Labelled with Love Co. and compared them to my Michael’s stickers. LWL’s stickers were thinner, sturdier, and actually sort of movable on the paper. That didn’t mean you could pull ’em up after they’d been all the way stuck down, but when it came to aligning corners and edges, Labelled with Love’s were a lot more forgiving.

They’re also more affordable than a lot of the competition out there, clocking in at around $15 with no coupon code for a kit of over 200 stickers. There are other kits from other shops that are foiled, or have real glitter, and those can be upwards of $25 per kit, which to me is a bit excessive. Labelled with Love’s were right in my pricepoint and the quality for cost made it well worth it.

(Plus, they ship from Australia, and I still got my order in a week. That’s about my patience limit when it comes to stickers.)

I was super, super excited (it doesn’t take much) by how much better these stickers were, primarily since I had offered to spread the word about Labelled with Love’s stickers on instagram and here if I liked them. In turn, Jenna gave me a coupon code to give yall for 30% off of any order placed in her shop – use it, because then I get more sticker cred, and then I can continue this downward spiral into full-on addiction. It’s GRACEGETS30, and look, I’ve linked you right to my favorite kit! You’re welcome! Marble and paper cranes, what more could you want?

Better photography skills, probably. ~$14 at LabelledwithLoveCo., though the code GRACEGETS30 drops it down to under $10!

So those are my findings this week about the secret planner sticker subculture. There was also some pretty solid near-drama in a planning facebook group, I learned about ‘planner cons’ where people just sit around in a room and sticker together, and someone on instagram called me a ‘snobby young lady’ because I didn’t know what a specific planner brand was. I think she thought I was making fun of her. To be fair, I kind of was.

More on that next week with the final piece in this electrifyingly exciting series!

 

 

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