Treehouse Stickers Blog

Juniors Roasted Coffee and Guilder cafe

Date: 2017-04-24

We stopped by the new Guilder coffee shop at 24th and Fremont in northeast Portland to find out how they're using the stickers they ordered!

What is the Sticker Guild

Date: 2017-03-27

and why does it matter to me?

Good question! Let’s start with what a Guild is. A Guild is an association of artisans, craftsmen or merchants of a given trade. They were common in medieval Europe, with associations of metalworkers, locksmiths, or even shoemakers.

The guild would form agreements between members, splitting up sales territory, and set standards and best practices for their industry. Instead of competing against each other, the members of the guild would benefit from having aligned incentives.

We started the Sticker Guild in Portland, Oregon in the fall of 2016. We currently stand at six member organizations, all digital vinyl printers in the Portland Metro area. Our members benefit from a simplified standard pricing structure (not required, though many have adopted it out of ease of use), use of our proprietary software, and formalized trade-printing contracts with associated members.

What is trade printing?

Trade printers only print for other companies - they have no customer-facing storefronts or website, no customer service line, and only print expertly prepared files. There’s a lot of advantages to this - lower customer service costs, no advertising expenses, and a streamlined production process. Other printing companies hire them to do the jobs they can’t or don’t want to do, at wholesale cost. The customer could go directly to this company, but the trade printer would not take the business! It’s not worth it for them to go through the extra hassle. A design studio, or affiliate printer, subcontracts printing work for them, and takes their cut for customer service and print file setup.

Wait, isn’t that Outsourcing?

Technically, yes, but not the bad kind of ship-your-job-to-china type of outsourcing. It’s more of a sharing economy, help-your-neighbor, spread-the-love kind of thing. Our guild members are printers, first and foremost. Everyone has their own clients, their own printers, and have run their companies successfully for at least a year.

At Treehouse Stickers, we print all the orders we can in-house. Whenever we are delayed for mechanical problems, or simply have too many orders to print in the time we promised, we go to the guild and ask someone who isn’t as busy to print for us. They have the same kind of printer, on the same material, and, with the print file we send, make stickers that are virtually indistinguishable from ours. You, the customer, can’t tell the difference -- you just know they arrived on time.

Couldn’t I just go to that printer and have them make my stickers?

I suppose you could, it’s a free country after all. Our contract includes a ‘non-circumvention’ agreement, that no one will solicit anyone else’s client, or they forfeit all revenue from that client -- so no one will spam you with a bunch of sales-y emails. There’s a good chance that they have the same prices as us anyway, without the proof-match guarantee or turnaround time that we offer. Not everyone is great at setting up files (and they often send files for us to set up for them,) but we figure we can provide a better experience for our customers together.

People have argued that Guilds act more like a cartel than a trade union. That’s not our intention here. We can’t effectively leverage a monopoly, and don’t intend to. We’re never going to to handle every sticker that gets printed - but if you don’t absolutely love the stickers you’re getting now, upload your file to us. I think you’ll agree that using Treehouse Stickers (and the sticker guild) is the easiest, fastest, and most reliable way to get your stickers.

How Uber did the Right Thing and Lost

Date: 2017-02-22

An appropriate subtitle for this article might as well be “and how Lyft did the wrong thing and won”- or, “The corporate culture lens in the scope of Public Opinion”. Note that this article is about public opinion, which by it’s nature is a mass generalization of millions of different viewpoints and perspectives, filtered through one single viewpoint, mine. Maxwell Hunter’s viewpoint. These are my impressions of a recent event unfolding as we speak. I swear, if I hear the word unprecedented one more time I’m gonna vomit.

Have you seen this? Have you heard about this?

I have some theories on how this happened... First off, let’s remember, Uber already has a bad reputation, for some pretty obvious reasons. I don’t need to tell you. So, every action’s intention is calculated based on the company’s predetermined character judgement. Especially after the most recent allegations of “Game of Thrones” style (great show, terrible model for corporate culture) management, rampant sexism, and just being a shitty company in general, Uber has an uphill battle if they’re ever going to be regarded as having even basic human decency- and IMHO, their corporate culture is the primary culprit.

If you haven’t heard, here’s the jist: After refugees started getting turned away or detained at JFK Airport in New York (that means city- if they meant state, they’d say state) a local cab company announced (on twitter probably) that they would not accept fares from JFK for a one hour strike, as protest. Solid.

Uber, being the nimble technology company that they are, sprung into action and announced they were going to do their part. They announced, in solidarity with the protest, they were going to disincentivize drivers from getting extra money for scabbing the protest. Drivers would not be paid the surge bonuses, and uber wouldn’t charge for them. Except they didn’t phrase it that way at all, they just advertised it as no surge at the airport. Right thing, wrong messaging.

Lyft did no such thing. I don’t know what the exact figure was, but they charged users the extra fee - arguably profiting off the protest, or what people have claimed is defined as ‘scabbing the protest’ based on the impression I get from the passengers I’ve met- Lyft were the ones actually doing the thing everyone complained about, but Uber got blamed for it. Because lyft has a better reputation, even if just by comparison, they’re given the benefit of the doubt. That, or Uber is just a lightning rod for bad PR.

Uber raised the stakes, donated $3 million to the ACLU, and announced a program to pay their immigrant drivers bonuses. But because of the ‘corporate media caball’ (that’s sarcasm), Lyft got all $4 million worth of good PR, and Uber looks even worse. Quickly, their CEO was forced to resign from the Presidential Economic Council after pressure from the public. Wait, what? There’s no way that having that much influence in the executive federal government could have ever possibly been a bad thing, before this specific president. Truly strange times we’re living in.

Lyft’s biggest advantage is just the simple fact that they’re not Uber. And especially with the way things are going, all they have to do it sit back and let Uber destroy themselves. I don’t think Lyft even noticed what was going on until #DeleteUber started trending. Their biggest uptick in DAU was thanks entirely to a messaging mistake by some middle marketing manager at the competition, who’s almost certainly been fired already anyway.

When it comes down to it, it shows just how important the Company Culture is to public image. When i started writing, this article was supposed to be about how their knee-jerk reaction in marketing posts is a symptom of toxic Corporate Culture. The more research I did, the more I realized that Uber actually kind of did the right thing here, just in the wrong way. Lyft did the wrong thing, in the right way- and because their competition has the image problem, they’re the ones who get the benefit of the doubt.

Further reading:

The Startup Currency

Date: 2017-02-19

Reddit has become an extreme content superhighway.  It covers almost every category imaginable. They boast 234 million unique users and 8 billion monthly Reddit page views (2016). This puts them at the 24th most visited website in the world.  Number 7 in the United States (2016). Users can submit content and the content can then be voted on by the community. The number of upvotes determines the ranking of the post. Categories of information are called Subreddits. There are over 800,000 Subreddits ranging from “worldnews” to “futurology”, “awww”, “jokes” and even “todayilearned”.

But where did it all start?

Reddit was founded by 2 roommates (not unlike us) ‐ Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. They received $12,000 of funding and moved to Mass. Their unorthodox brand awareness technique has ensured that they never had to spend money on advertising ever again.  Today, their readers alone speak to the success of what this team started out to do - build something that people would love.  

What did Reddit do?

They surged forward with a gigantic startup advertising investment of 500 dollars. They spent this $500 on stickers. Every. Single. Dollar.

Online reach is phenomenal and can guarantee exceptional reach. But sometimes, you have to step back and go completely old school.  

Alexis used to travel and took these stickers with him wherever he went. He put them on street poles, signs and even on other advertisements.  

He handed them out at events and gatherings. He even gave them out to regular people on the street.  

The team’s idea was that they needed to give something away in a special way. This would make the receiver feel special, like they were part of something. When handed the stickers, receivers would be told “Please sticker responsibly!”.

The technique was completely unorthodox and the results were nothing short of spectacular.

The love set Reddit free

They didn’t need to go out and stick all the stickers themselves. That would have completely missed the point. People look for support and a sense of community wherever they go. The stickers provided that.

The people who were handed the stickers created the buzz around Reddit of their own accord. They stirred up a love for it that remains today.

People started noticing the brand. Those who were handed the stickers became ambassadors for the Reddit idea. Soon, the stickers caught on like wild fire.

Fans started creating their own versions of the Reddit identity ‐ a cute little alien. The photos of people sticking the stickers were cropping up all over the internet. Someone even got a tattoo of the Reddit alien!

Reddit today

The stickers managed to pull together a small community which served to propel the business forward. This small community is what helped Reddit to rush forward and become the brand that everyone knows today.

The success of Reddit’s marketing story is powerful, especially in a digital age. Stickers have come to be known as “the startup currency” because of Reddit’s success. This revolutionary advertising stunt pulled in the community that they needed to kick off the ground.  

Final thought:

Reddit used a cute alien. What would your startup currency look like? Send us your design, we'd love to be your printer.

Benefits of Using Vinyl Stickers

Date: 2017-02-16

By far the best thing about vinyl stickers is that it can be used for so many different purposes and applications. They are widely used for advertising and promotional purposes. Whether you have a huge company or you have just a part time startup, vinyl stickers can give a wonderful boost to your business. It gives a fresh and new look to your company, and helps to leg up the competition.

One of the great uses of vinyl stickers is the mobile advertisement. It helps to take your business’s vision on the road. You can use these stickers to display your phone number and address or you can use a catchy style to attract customers. At Treehouse Stickers, you can create stickers of all sizes and shapes.

These stickers are often used for promotional purposes. You can hand out free stickers about your products or services at different events, parties, or occasions. It can promote your name among various business communities that are a necessary part your company’s base. Labeling vinyl stickers on the products can give long term benefits. You can use these packaging on water bottles, decorative pieces, and many other products.

Vinyl packaging is the inexpensive way to promote your storefront and products. Paper stickers usually scratch off or it deteriorates over time, whereas vinyl stickers adhere to any non-porous surface; giving you long term benefit. Any smooth surface can accept these labels or stickers.

Use these stickers as self-adhesive labels for packaging! It’s a useful way to decorate in both an indoor and outdoor setting. Having vinyl stickers mean that you can use them according to your need and budget. They can connect and disperse information about your business to large number of people.

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