So long, and thanks for all the fish.
TL;DR: Whipps Sticker Co. is shutting down on July 15. From now until then, save 30% on all orders by using code FAREWELL
Sorry for the spoiler alert right there at the top, but this one ain’t gonna be short. Oh, and hi, by the way. My name is Kevin Whipps, and I’m 1/2 of Whipps Sticker Co. Nice to meet you.
First off, you’re reading this page because at some point in your life, you bought a sticker from Whipps Sticker Co., be it on our Etsy site, at whippsstickerco.com or in person. Don’t worry, your info is safe and private from us, and as of July 13th, we’ll be erasing all of it everywhere, securely. But before that happens, I wanted to say thanks.
We started Whipps Sticker Co. in late 2014, but really only got rolling in 2015. And man, those first two years were nuts. Sales were up, we moved a ton of stickers and I even debated shutting down all of my other projects just to focus on vinyl. But things changed in late 2016, and then got weird in 2017. And that’s when the company started going downhill.
My wife got sick late in 2016. I won’t go into the details, but things were bad, and I wouldn’t even know how bad until January of ’17. Just to get a diagnosis would cost us a few thousand with our then-current health care, and we just didn’t have it. I was scared about our future, our kids and everything else. Then I got a call.
What you may not know about me personally is that I’m a writer. I’ve been writing professionally since 2000, and in 2014 I signed a contract to write a book. It was supposed to take a year, but with the success of Whipps Sticker Co. and other projects in the way, it ended up taking me three. (If you’re into restoring Chevy trucks, you can find it on Amazon now.) A few years back I worked at a magazine where I made a ton of friends, and in the time since we’ve all pretty much kept in touch. Either they hired me for gigs or me them, and it’s been pretty cool. In fact, as much as I hated that job in the moment, I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since. Something about those people and that work made me feel alive.
So in early 2017, I got a call from one of those people from the magazine. He worked at a major corporation just a few miles from my house, and he needed a writer. No, I didn’t have to quit Whipps Sticker Co. or any of my other work — that kind of stuff was encouraged. And the health care benefits? Insane — AND they started immediately. I had four interviews in under a week and the job by the following Monday.
My wife is doing a lot better now. Her condition isn’t fatal, and it is manageable. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if we didn’t have fantastic insurance we’d be paying $8,000 per treatment, and she needs one every two to three months. That insurance saved our financial future.
I enjoy the corporate gig. I work with a lot of smart people, and I get challenged on a regular basis to put out my best work, which is all I really want. But because I’m working a different schedule now, it’s tough to put out new product on Whipps Sticker Co. Traffic to our site sucks, frankly, and the fees on Etsy have gotten nuts — and are getting worse in coming months. Which brings me to last week.
We use an online accounting system to do our books, and we’ve got this profit/loss chart that shows up on the dashboard. Every time I look at it, the numbers are down, even in months where we were doing crazy sales, and it never made sense to me. I always just chalked it up to a flaw in the matrix or something, and never thought much of it. But then I gave it a closer look last week, and as it turns out, that dashboard was correct. Fees were eating up our profit and the lack of bulk orders — something that sustained us in the early years — was gone. So we had a decision to make: Push forward and put more effort into the company, or shut it down so I could focus on other things.
Did I mention that I signed on to do another book? Well that’s the “other things.” That, and all of the other writing-related projects that I have going on.
I will be honest here: This does seem like it’s a huge failure in my life, and I’m not in great spirits about it. But now that I’ve got the fancy corporate gig I just don’t have the time to devote to Whipps Sticker Co. that it deserves. I come home in the afternoon and I’m mentally drained. Between work and wanting to spend time with our two kids, it’s just too much for me.
So yes, it’s a failure of sorts. But it’s also an accomplishment that I can put under my belt. For almost four years we ran a full-blown sticker shop, and I’m happy we did so. It wasn’t a perfect business, and some of the financial limitations made me yearning for more flexibility. But we did it, and that’s more than most people can say.
OK, now that I've got that out of my system, I'll close it with this: Thank you. I can't say it enough. You've helped put food on our table for the past few years, and I'm eternally grateful. Everything here is now 30% off with the code FAREWELL, and on Etsy it's all live now. Come July 14th we'll be done for good, so pick your stickers while you can.