Online is More than Fine
Arteehub | Lake Zurich, Illinois
As the pandemic shutdown made abundantly clear, online shopping is the wave of the future, remote work here to stay, and sometimes, with a lot of hard work, a good side hustle can become a full-time job. One company that has taken advantage of all of these trends is Arteehub.com, a platform co-founded by Konstantins Dzedzels of Lake Zurich, Illinois, that primarily sells custom-printed stickers.
We caught up with Konstantins to talk through how he started his company, how he expanded to offer products from designer friends, and what he sees as the future of the online-only custom production market.
How did you decide to start Arteehub?
Konstantins Dzedzels: My wife and I started Arteehub.com in 2016 as a side business, selling decals. Soon enough we realized that there was a big potential to grow our little hobby into a real business. A year later we started doing custom stickers, because I didn't see a big opportunity to scale the decal business and doing smaller stickers seemed like a good way to go.
“[The VersaStudio BN-20 desktop printer] has superb print quality and is affordable for a startup like ours.”
People buy our stickers for laptops, windows, books, folders, binder covers, cell phones, walls, notebook covers – there are endless places to put our high quality, glossy stickers.
How did you choose your production equipment?
I did a lot of research before we purchased our first Roland DG printer, the VersaStudio BN-20 desktop printer/cutter. It has superb print quality and is affordable for a startup like ours. It’s also small and easy to operate and maintain.
When we started to grow, we realized we needed two printers, both so we could speed up production and also to have backup production capability. We added the Roland DG TrueVIS SG2-300 printer/cutter, which is a little wider at 30 inches, and also prints faster. Both of our printers incorporate print and cut functions, saving us the cost and space needed for a separate cutter. And, the print quality is awesome.
Please tell us about how your business evolved to include multiple web stores?
The key to our business’s growth is the expansion of our designs. Designing is the most time-consuming part of the process. My wife and I quickly found that we were 100 percent involved in production, and we didn’t have time to create new designs. To solve our problem, we began collaborating with other designers. They create the designs and we take care of everything else, including marketing, customer service and production.
We started selling stickers on alternative platforms like Etsy, and expanded to a few different Etsy stores to match the different types of designs we offer. Later, we started offering to do drop-shipping for our designer friends and their Etsy stores.
We recently registered Arteehub Company as a corporation. Our goal is to be more than just a drop-shipping company – we want to be a platform that helps designers sell their art without headaches. Today we have designer partners here in the U.S. and in Europe.
Do you intend to establish a bricks-and-mortar storefront?
Not right now. Our goal is to stay 100 percent online.
How are you staffed?
Including myself and my wife, we have three full-time workers and seven design contractors. We run the company from our basement, and our marketing person works remotely, as do our designers.
Are you producing any other products?
Right now, we offer stickers, window lettering and T-shirts.
How did your company do during the pandemic shutdown? Has your business returned to normal now?
Ironically, the pandemic was a growth time for us. We received many more orders than normal. I think people had more time to shop online, and our designers had additional time to produce new, timely and interesting designs.
What do you see for the future of your business? Any trends you are following or areas you'd like to expand into?
We are planning to bring our platform for designers to the public. We’d like to add new designer partners and grow our brand. We have the production equipment to support additional designers, and we can handle their customer service, marketing and drop-shipping, while they focus on their art. So, let us know if you if you hear about any great artists who want to make some additional cash! We can help them get their designs out there.