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7 Reasons to Consider Selling Stamps

Should awards and personalization retailers enter the stamp market? Certainly, says Mike Fruciano of LaserBits, but an even wiser question is, why not enter the market with so much ready potential? He contends that making and selling stamps is a natural fit for industry retailers, particularly if they have lasers standing idle that could be used to make stamps—and build a new revenue stream and customer base.

7 Reasons to Consider Selling Stamps

Rubber Stamps Can Be a Profitable Addition to Your Store Whether You Make Them Yourself or Order from a Wholesaler

By Jane Martinsons

(Originally published in the July 2015 issue of Recognition Review.)

Should awards and personalization retailers enter the stamp market? Certainly, says Mike Fruciano of LaserBits, but an even wiser question is, why not enter the market with so much ready potential? He contends that making and selling stamps is a natural fit for industry retailers, particularly if they have lasers standing idle that could be used to make stamps—and build a new revenue stream and customer base.

Christopher Boyle of Trodat USA, which sells stamps and stamp-making components such as laser rubbers, agrees that stamps are a great fit for retailers accustomed to filling custom engraving orders. Even if shops don’t have a laser onsite or don’t want to make stamps themselves, they can add stamps to their product line by purchasing them wholesale from a rubber stamp maker. “This allows a new stamp seller to get up and running very quickly with no upfront costs,” he said, making for a low-risk way entry into the market.

Tom Jackson of Jackson Marking Products Co. notes three reasons for awards and personalization shops to have an onsite stamp-making machine that uses a traditional photopolymer exposure system to make batches of stamps or an instant flash system. “First, an onsite machine can produce stamps at a lower cost than if an outside supplier was producing it,” he said. “Second, it can provide very fast, even as-you-wait service for customers. Third, (operators) can determine the layout and design process, without having to relinquish any control to an outside vendor.”

These suppliers point out many advantages to making and selling stamps:

  1. It is easy to learn. If you already know laser-engraving and use CorelDRAW, stamp-making is a snap, say Fruciano and Boyle. “The manufacturing process with a laser is similar whether you are making a stamp, sign, or trophy plate,” Fruciano said. “You are effectively using a layout program, typing in text, printing it over to the laser, using the laser to engrave the rubber, and putting it onto the stamp.” With rubber stamp making, you need to enable a shoulder feature on the print driver to help steady the stamp, he noted.

    “Using lasers to make stamps has been trending for several years, mostly because it’s an easy transition for shops with laser engraving. All they need is the letter-size rubber sheet to get started,” Boyle said. “If they engrave a name plate or a badge on a laser, they can make a rubber stamp. The difference is that the process is somewhat reversed: when you engrave a sign, you take away material to make your lettering. When you’re engraving a stamp, you’re taking away the background and leaving the stamp lettering.”

  2. The Ideal® 4913 is one of the premade stamps available from Jackson Marking Products.

    LaserBits’s art stamp sample shows shops aren’t limited to business-related stamps.

    Seals, like these Trodat Ideal Seal Presses, are closely related to stamps for sales purposes.

    The Brother Stampcreate PRO System, available from Jackson Marking Products, lets you turn signatures, graphics, text, clip art, photos, and logos into pre-inked stamps while your customers wait.


  3. It’s a good time to enter the market. The rubber-stamp market is “totally underserved,” Fruciano said, noting that the marketplace is made up of four types of stamps: everyday address stamps, industrial product-inspection stamps, corporate stamps, and art stamps. He stresses that Awards and Personalization Association member retailers already serve these market areas. For example, they may already provide engraved name badges and corporate awards for the very customer who also needs product-inspection stamps.

  4. Stamps are profitable. With stamps, there is a low initial investment and a high profit margin, say Boyle and Jackson. Jackson stresses that stamps will expand your customer base. “If a retailer is already offering something that appeals to a business community—particularly in places where paper gets pushed around a lot, such as medical offices, legal offices, schools, or institutions—these places all need stamps,” Jackson said. “And if stamp customers go to an Awards and Personalization Association member for stamps, they’re exposed to everything else that’s available for sale in that store. That can help generate new customers who otherwise may not be exposed to what they do.”

  5. The stamp market is thriving, so don’t underestimate it, Fruciano said. “Sometimes rubber stamps are categorized as very low-end pricing or kind of a hassle,” he said, “but I don’t think that at all. There are always customers who are willing to pay for custom-made products, which is typically what awards and personalization people do. They make custom products that are personalized.”

    But competition goes both ways, he said, because many traditional stamp retailers have transitioned to awards and engraving products. “If a retailer says, ‘Well, we don’t make stamps,’ they are potentially sending their customer down the road to a competitor,” whether it’s an engraving shop or a big-box retailer such as Staples.

  6. Hand stamp mounts and handles from Jackson Marking Products create a traditional stamp.

    Purchase laser rubber, like these sheets from Trodat, to create stamps with your laser.

    Various dies can be used with this seal press from Trodat.

  7. For awards retailers, it’s a ready-made market. Jackson believes that the notions of engraving and stamps are linked in minds of many customers. “They think of a stamp as an engraved item, although it’s not always. There’s a natural tendency on the part of buyers to go to an engraver for stamps.”

  8. There are steady, year-round sales. Rather than being a seasonal market, stamp reorders are steady and frequent, Fruciano said. “Dater stamps need replacement every year. People move. Stamps wear out. It’s a replacement market, so it builds steady foot traffic,” he said.

  9. Stamps are easy to customize. “With a laser, you can make one custom unit, whether it’s a plaque, name badge, or stamp—and, with stamps, you can use fine print, down to 4 point,” Fruciano said. Engraving time is short—conservatively, about 5–8 minutes for a typical address stamp. With a powerful laser, the time may be reduced to 3–4 minutes.

Things to consider when making or selling stamps:

First, there may be an odor involved with stamp making. But Fruciano points out that rubber materials have improved over the past 20 years, particularly in the last 5, and that the odor is equivalent to that created when laser engraving wood or plastic signage. Any odor can be remedied to some degree, Boyle said, by either using odorless rubber or by having proper filtration and ventilation in place.

Second, you need to market these products, Fruciano said. “The stamp market is very stable, but like anything, you need to market your stamp-making capabilities,” by displaying your stamps, along with pricing, in your showroom or on your counter or website.

Last, Boyle suggests paying close attention to trends in the stamp market. He says that round monograms for stationery are very popular and that embossers or paper-crimpers are making a comeback among crafters, companies, and notaries. Other popular trends are clothing markers for kids’ camping clothes and eco-friendly, carbon-neutral stamp products and materials for businesses of all sizes.

The Experts

Mike Fruciano is one of the industry’s most knowledge people when it comes to laser usage. He shares his experience through his website’s Tech Tips, his Laser University lesson series, and through industry seminars and webinars. He is director of sales and marketing at LaserBits, Inc., which sells rubber sheets and other products for creating stamps with your laser. Visit www.laserbits.com.

Christopher Boyle is vice president of sales and marketing of Trodat USA, a sister company to laser manufacturer Trotec. Trodat has become a market leader in self-inking stamps and sells other types of stamps and stamp-making components such as laser rubbers. Visit www.trodatusa.com.

Tom Jackson, owner of Jackson Marking Products Co., Inc., in Mount Vernon, IL, is well versed in the many ways retailers can create stamps because his business offers made-to-order stamps and the supplies and machinery for creating your own—everything needed to make and sell stamps. Visit www.rubber-stamp.com.

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