2021 Letter from the CEO
When I’m writing something, or really even when I’m saying something, I always try to think “what’s the point of this?” and then say that thing, rather than using a bunch of baroque-dependent clauses and cascading turns-of-phrase. Then, after actually stating the point of what it is I want to say, I’ll fill in all the smaller details and potentially less important tidbits until the person listening to or reading the information wants to poke their eyeballs out with a spork.
That’s the thing! That’s the point of this. So, if you like your eyeballs, stop right there.
A “thank you” themed article has the potential of being incredibly cheesy, in the sense that it’s almost a corporate cliché ad-lib - we accomplished this, our wonderful customers that. So I’ll just be 100% real about where we were 365 days ago, where we are right now, and where we want to be a year from now.
A year ago, we had mostly the same team, but no guiding principles by which to excite our customers and create cool shit. Stencil Stop was essentially a fully-realized vision of a single product - custom mylar stencils. Essentially, one web page contained the essence of what we provide to our customers. We were obviously very good at doing this thing - still are - but lacked the understanding of what it looked like to really present the creativity that both ourselves and our customers contained within.
In February, our videos started going viral on TikTok and Instagram, and another product was born from the vivid and satisfying nature of the videos we were producing - layered stencils. We already made layered stencils for customers when they asked, but we didn’t position this product as much of a solution, let alone a way for people to make really cool artwork without a ton of skill or practice. Really, I was just trying to make a video to post on our socials every day, and layered stencils felt like the brightest, most exciting way to show stencils being used.
This idea that stencils could not only be used for utility, but also creativity, ended up becoming our guiding principle. You see it now on the homepage of our website:
Our mission is to create the world’s best stencils for any purpose, and to make them easy to use for people of all experience levels.
So that’s where we’re at. It’s been well established what we do, and not gonna lie, I think it’s pretty safe to say we already make the world’s best stencils. We’re still working towards teaching, providing knowledge and skills to people new to stencils who want to learn, whoever they are and for whatever reason. And our customers have sent us some absolutely insane works of art that they’ve created with our stencils! Truly amazing stuff.
We also have a future vision that we’re working towards. It’s not anywhere on the website yet, but I guess it is now…
We aim to provide all people both the inspiration and ability to create and display art, regardless of their experience levels.
We want to inspire people to create art, and teach them new ways to do it. We want to provide the right tools and resources for that, and make them engaging and interesting. We want to create art ourselves; we have tons of product ideas for things like wedding signs and metal wall art. This is art that we could create and share with the world.
So that’s where we’re going. We’ll need to expand our capabilities, and get better at a lot of different things. But it’s all fun and exciting and part of our journey.
No sporks nearby, huh? In all seriousness, one of the best parts of working at Stencil Stop is seeing the awesome stuff that people make using stencils. It’s also pretty satisfying to see more people interested and aware that stencils are even a thing. So, for real, thank you. Let’s create some awesome shit together this year.