What’s a Button Frog?

Posted by Anthony on May 14th, 2015

Button Frog is everything you love about Sticker Mule, but for custom buttons. It’s designed to be the easiest way to buy custom buttons. Orders start at just $39 for 50 custom 2.25” buttons and come with free online proofs, free shipping and blazing fast turnaround backed by our obsession with great customer service.

The origin of Button Frog was driven by our manufacturing team who wanted a new challenge. Apparently, they missed the stress of Sticker Mule’s early days and pushed us to do something new. We explored a few potential products and settled on custom buttons. They compliment our custom stickers well so offering them made sense.

Coming up with a name was a bit of a challenge. Mules and stickers pair well together, but it was not straightforward deciding what animal had an affinity for pinback buttons. Button Pig, Button Fox and Button Rattlesnake did not feel right. Eventually someone suggested Button Frog and it seemed about as perfect of a name as you could imagine for a button company.

While building the site we decided to indulge our obsession with simplicity. So, whereas Sticker Mule has a variety of shapes, sizes and quantities Button Frog only sells one product, in one size and at one quantity. Specifically, we sell 2.25” circle buttons in 50 unit quantities. Eventually we may add more sizes, but it’s been fun seeing the response to our simple offering.

Since launching we printed buttons for a surprisingly large number of customers including the New York Post, Google & Capital One Bank. And, the initial reviews are amazingly positive. 97% of custom button reviews are great which makes Button Frog better reviewed than Sticker Mule who averages 94% great reviews. If you have a chance, please give Button Frog a try. Just like Sticker Mule, Button Frog ships worldwide so no matter where you are we are eager to work with you.

Sticker Mule goes to Italy

Posted by Anthony on May 7th, 2015

We officially launched Sticker Mule Italy so it seemed fitting to explain how we got here. 5 years ago when we started Sticker Mule our vision didn’t reach beyond the United States. International business is complicated and we were a small startup. We thought it best to focus on growing at home and set out telling everyone we could about Sticker Mule.

Our background made us inclined to engage with designers and developers so we tried our best to befriend these communities. It didn't take long to realize that that the Internet is international and many of the best developers and designers live outside the United States.

To properly engage these communities we needed to ship internationally at a minimum. So, early on, we contacted UPS to get rates, added international ship methods to our web site and naively thought we were done. Shortly thereafter, the complaints came in: "my order is stuck in customs" "my order is late" "I got hit with an unexpected $80 charge to clear customs." It turns out selling internationally isn't as simple as adding international ship methods to your web site.

We eventually developed our roadmap on how to become an international ecommerce business. This guided our progress as we quietly made numerous improvements to help our international customers including:

  1. Shipping worldwide quickly and with tracking.
  2. Ensuring orders clear customs without problems.
  3. Eliminating import duties (we pay them for you).
  4. Reducing shipping costs worldwide.
  5. Introducing free shipping to Western Europe.
  6. Supporting the metric system.
  7. Supporting the Euro.

Along the way, our team grew to become international as well. More than 50% of our core team lives outside the United States. David North has been with us since our inception and lives in England. Brian Quinn works out of Ireland. Lucas Húngaro is in Brazil. And, Andrea Giannangelo & Stefano Di Luca are in Italy. Already, we've seen tremendous growth internationally, year over year we grow faster abroad than in our home country and that will accelerate as we execute our roadmap.

If it seems as though we stumbled into becoming international that's because we did. We didn’t plan to have an international team or sell internationally. Our sole intention was to build an amazing customer experience and it turns out expanding beyond the U.S. and hiring the best people in the world were necessary to pursue that goal.

Admittedly, we even stumbled into starting our international expansion in Italy. One night, I came across Unixstickers.com and started a live chat session with Stefano Di Luca who happened to be Italian. You don’t have to chat for long with Stefano to realize you would love to work with him so we kept in touch. Eventually he introduced us to his partner Andrea Giannangelo who also left an amazing impression on us. We immediately knew we wanted Andrea & Stefano on our team and I’d like to think they knew right away they’d enjoy working with us. A few months later Sticker Mule Italy was born. We haven’t decided what country we’re headed to next, but if you’re interested in being a part of our journey we’re hiring. :-)

A break from blogging

Posted by Anthony on Feb 19th, 2014

We're taking an extended break from blogging. Admittedly, it's been difficult to justify the time required to blog. It takes awhile to formulate a post and doesn't feel like an activity that brings our customers much value.

We have a long list of improvements planned for 2014 that we're working on diligently. Going forward, the best way to find out when we do something new is to follow us on Twitter or Google+.

How To Order Custom Stickers

Posted by Anthony on Jul 22nd, 2013

We created a short video of our ordering process. A few highlights:

  1. Every product page has a "custom size" option. Pricing changes automatically as you manipulate sizes.
  2. You can use drag & drop to upload your artwork on modern browsers.
  3. You can select from 3 delivery dates during checkout including a free shipping option for US customers.
  4. Proofs are provided after checkout within 24 hours.
  5. We ask for your credit card upfront, but we do not charge it until you approve all proofs.
  6. You can request unlimited changes to proofs and we'll make them for free until your happy.
  7. You can cancel any time prior to approving your proofs at no cost.

Hope you like our 1st attempt at video production. We'd love to know what you think. Leave a comment or tweet @stickermule.

Login to Sticker Mule with Meldium

Posted by Anthony on Apr 2nd, 2013

Sharing access to ecommerce accounts is a common pain point with online ordering. We deal with it at Sticker Mule and often see our customers experiencing the same issue when ordering from us.

Recently, we came across a password manager called Meldium that solves this problem by storing your login credentials in the cloud so that you can easily share them with coworkers. More specifically, Meldium let's you:

  1. Store login credentials to specific web sites
  2. Share those login credentials with other people
  3. Login to any shared web site via a Google Chrome extension.

To further improve security, Meldium let's users login without having to know the actual user name and password for a given web site. Their Google Chrome extension will log you into the site without exposing your actual username and passwords.

Meldium recently added Sticker Mule to their list of apps so you can use it to easily and securely share your Sticker Mule account with coworkers.

If your organization has lots of sticker designs they are managing, Meldium combined with our reordering system makes managing your sticker orders even easier.

On phone support

Posted by Anthony on Feb 2nd, 2013

We discontinued phone support recently. Our rationale is explained below:

Phone support is difficult to scale.

You can't easily put a new person on the phone since you have limited control over the difficulty of calls they take. By contrast, you can let newer support agents respond to easy emails until they are comfortable handling more difficult ones.

Phone support is difficult to monitor.

It's time consuming to listen to calls, but scanning emails is quick and efficient. It takes me an hour per day to read all of our customer service communication, but it's incredibly useful. Our core team reads the majority of our emails as a source of ideas and to keep a pulse on how we're performing.

Phone support increases head count.

Phone support is more human capital intensive than email support. It's difficult to maintain the quality of your organization when head count grows quickly. Erring on the side of needing fewer people makes it easier for us to ensure all of our people are top notch.

Phone support is difficult to automate.

Email support can be automated by developing faqs, macros, videos and efficient routing systems. It's not possible to automate phone support to the same extent.

Phone support is not concise.

We aim to be clear, concise and comprehensive in how we respond to your questions. Often that means taking a moment to research an answer and review our response with coworkers before replying. It's not possible to handle a difficult phone inquiry in this manner without putting you on hold or calling you back later.

Phone support is not documented.

Special arrangements made on the phone must be documented by an agent who could record them inaccurately. By contrast, all email inquiries are associated to your account and can be viewed our entire team so that we are all familiar with your needs.

Final thoughts...

Since implementing this change, we have been diligently reviewing every customer interaction, documenting problems and developing solutions to prevent common problems from recurring. Most support inquiries exist because we failed in some regard. Either our process had a hiccup or our ordering experience was confusing. Already we have fixed dozens of small problems and more improvements are coming soon.

One small, related bonus...

We removed the phone number field from checkout for all US customers. Filling out forms isn't fun, but we hope cutting one needless field makes checkout a bit more pleasant.

Contemplating a similar decision? You may want to read Wistia's blog posts on this topic.

Sticker collections

Posted by Anthony on Nov 19th, 2012

Sticker Collections

350+ stickers have been added to the Sticker Mule Gallery since we launched it 3 months ago. We built the gallery as a source of design inspiration and as a tool to help you get extra exposure from your stickers. Today, we’re continuing along that path by adding the ability to group stickers into collections.

Curious what other breweries are doing with their stickers? Check out the beer stickers collection. Want to learn more about the latest startups and see how they’re using stickers? There is a startup stickers collection for that too. Within each collection, stickers are ranked according to how many “likes” they received.

8 sticker collections are available for you to browse today and many more will be added in the months to come. We hope you like what we’ve done so far with collections. If you have new collections you’d like to see, just let us know.

Introducing the Sticker Mule Gallery

Posted by Anthony on Jul 31st, 2012

Sticker Mule Gallery

The Sticker Mule Gallery is officially live. It's far from being finished, but here are a few things you can do currently:

  1. Like stickers and they'll show up on your profile page.
  2. Request to have your stickers added to the gallery.
  3. Share your stickers via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Every week we photograph and add a new batch of stickers. If you'd like your stickers added you can fill out our gallery request form. We review gallery requests in the order they were submitted. Also, at the moment, only users with accounts can join the gallery so remember to sign up if you haven't yet.

Hope you like what we've done so far. Stay tuned as there are a handful of planned improvements coming soon.

Coming soon

Posted by Anthony on Mar 21st, 2012

About a year ago we had an idea to let our team "star" interesting stickers in our backend much like you can star emails in Gmail. We each had stickers we wanted to remember for various reasons. It seemed like a cool idea to give everyone on our team a way to easily recall the ones they liked.

I merrily added "star interesting stickers" to our development queue and there it stayed while we worked on more useful things. Turns out, it's difficult to get motivated to build a "cool" idea for a handful of people. Internal systems are rarely beautiful and we like to work on things that look pretty.

Fortunately, a few months back, we woke up and realized we were being short-sighted. Building an internal system to organize stickers is lame, but creating a system where anyone can browse, remember and get exposure for their stickers is a bit more interesting.

It didn't take long for our design lead to create his vision for this project and ever since we've been obsessed with making it amazing. In the new few weeks, we'll be releasing an initial preview of our new project, currently dubbed: the Sticker Gallery.If this sounds interesting, then visit our teaser page to sign up and help spread the word.

A preview release is only a few weeks away so stay tuned!

Protect Internet freedom with reddit inspired stickers

Posted by Nick on Jan 31st, 2012

It’s been about a week since reddit blacked out to protest SOPA and PIPA. It seems the effect has been significant, as both bills seem to have been stopped dead in the water. But it’s good to remember that freedom on the Internet needs to be continually protected, as we’re sure that such legislation will continue to arise.

We wanted to do our part in spreading the message, so we turned to the reddit community to help us design a sticker to promote freedom on the Internet. Here’s what we came up with:

Protect Internet Freedom Sticker

We’ll be adding one of these to every reddit sticker order for free until the end of February. To get your hands on one, visit the reddit Sticker Store and order any design to receive a free Protect Internet Freedom sticker designed by redditor thesluttymcslut.

Questions or thoughts? Tweet @stickermule.

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