The Art of Sticking Out: How Blank Tag Co. Is Changing The Face of Self-Expression

Blank Tag Co BeLatina Feature
Photo Credit Blank Tag Co

In a world where being different can often be criticized or attacked, and standing out is somehow used against us, it’s a breath of fresh air to find a brand that actually celebrates and encourages self-expression. After all, loving what makes each of us “us” and honoring all the parts of who we are that are uniquely special is a huge part of living a happy, fulfilling, and most importantly, authentic life. We’re not saying mastering the art of self-expression is easy. But it did just get easier thanks to Blank Tag Co.

Think back to your younger days when you would decorate your walls with magazine clippings (remember those?!) and personalized collages representing your latest crush / favorite food/interests/pop culture obsession. Or try to remember your school notebooks smothered in decals and stickers that spoke to your soul. Blank Tag Co. is bringing that trend back in a fresh, modern, relevant, and empowering new way. 

Their stickers are a lot of things — gorgeous, durable, incredibly detailed, colorful, bright, versatile — but arguably most importantly, they are expressive, and they are meaningful. These stickers serve as more than just a decorative touch to your computer, cell phone, water bottle, notebook, and more. They’re not just pieces of paper that lack substance or can be tossed away the second you get sick of them. These stickers have value. They have a purpose and a meaning behind them. They serve as an opportunity to express yourself with pride in a visible way, and to honor what makes you who you are with culturally relevant stickers that speak volumes. Which is exactly what co-founders (and partners in life) Remi Silva and Alondra Carbajal are going for. 

Getting to Know the Creative Minds Behind Blank Tag Co.

Co-founders Remi Silva and Alondra Carbajal knew they were onto something when they first came up with the concept of Blank Tag Co. Inspired by their own upbringing and diverse backgrounds, Remi and Alondra were on a mission to encourage self-expression while also empowering a new generation of sticker collectors. These Latinx business owners wanted to engage a community and start a conversation about how we present ourselves to the world, and what makes us all unique. “We started Blank Tag Co. out of love for our cultures and the importance of representation. Stickers are more than just a piece of paper you place somewhere. Stickers are an expression of who you are, what you associate with, and a way to capture memories. The stickers we make are chosen specifically with the aim to make all of our customers feel a sense of belonging and pride when they see them,” they explained in a recent press release. 

It should come as no surprise that self-expression and embracing diversity are so deeply woven into the fabric of this brand. Remi was born in Seoul, Korea to a Mexican-American father and a Korean mother. During his youth, his family moved around a lot (his father was in the US army), which allowed Remi to see places, races, communities, and cultures all around the world. But he explains he never quite felt like he fit in anywhere. 

As the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, Alondra grew up in South Central Los Angeles surrounded by rich Latino culture. She always felt that her identity wasn’t represented in mainstream media or popular culture and that she had a story she longed to share, but never had the right tools to do so. Together, they have created a brand that is designed to do just that — to help people express themselves through unique, diverse, and culturally relevant stickers that speak to them and help us communicate with the world around us.

It’s a brilliant concept brought to life by a pretty epic team. Which is saying a lot, because Remi and Alondra aren’t just business partners — they’re also a boyfriend/girlfriend duo in their personal lives. And as anyone who has ever tried to work with their spouse or romantic partner knows, it’s a huge accomplishment to be able to successfully (and happily!) work and live side by side. 

#StickYourStory Is a Call-to-Action For All of Us

Blank Tag Co. stickers aren’t just decorative; they’re meaningful and powerful. They allow all of us to celebrate what makes us different. And that’s what the #StickYourStory movement is all about. It’s a call to action that is motivating people all over the world to express themselves and share their stories. These stickers provide a crucial opportunity to represent your culture, interests, and story with custom sticker collections that speak to you. Whether you love showing off your country’s flag or your favorite foods, there is a sticker for almost every aspect of one’s life

“With the #StickYourStory campaign we want to continue creating stickers that will invoke emotion out of everyone who purchases or sees them. With every new design, we hope that our stickers bring the same excitement and happiness that we feel every time we think of our culture, our lives and travel memories.”

We sat down to chat with Remi and Alondra to learn more about their inspiration, their mission, their struggles, and goals as Latinx business owners, and their plans for the future. 

How did you first come up with the concept for Blank Tag Co.? And what helped you recognize the potential of using stickers as a form of self-expression? 

The concept for Blank Tag Co. came after we took a trip to Tokyo. While we were walking in Harajuku, we noticed a store that sells mainly stickers. We were shocked that the store sold enough stickers to sustain itself at a trendy location in Tokyo. We noticed that it wasn’t just Japanese customers buying stickers, but a lot of foreigners were as well, so it seemed like stickers were universally loved. We both became obsessed with the store and thought, “Why isn’t there a sticker company like this in the U.S.?” We couldn’t think of a premium sticker brand that represented U.S. culture, so we decided to start our own. Originally, Remi started with pop art and zombie images since those are things he thought would sell, but people didn’t buy them because they had no connection to them. Alondra then mentioned that the reason the Japanese sticker brand had made such an impact on them was because it represented Japanese culture. She had the idea to take a similar approach which is when we created our first successful stickers, the Comida Callejera pack which represented the Los Angeles Latinx food culture she grew up with.

 What inspires each of your stickers? How do you ensure that you are as inclusive as possible with your wide range of designs? 

The Blank Tag Co. sticker designs are inspired by our customers’ lives and experiences. At the beginning of Blank Tag Co.’s existence, the designs were inspired by our lives and what we felt represented us. The designs that we sold early on represented who we were as individuals. For example, growing up in a Latino-influenced neighborhood in Los Angeles, Alondra felt most represented by the foods she ate growing up. We started with the Comida Callejera bundle because it was what felt authentic to us. Now that we are growing as a brand, our designs are inspired mostly by our customers and their lives. We have a submission form on our website for sticker ideas, and we even consult with customers on how exactly particular images should look like so that we don’t misrepresent their culture. 

 What are your most popular and most sold stickers? And what do you think that says about your customers and the experiences they want to share with the world? 

Our most popular stickers are the Comida Callejera and Animal stickers. We think that these are the most popular because people want to showcase who they are through stickers — they’re animal lovers and they love specific foods. One thing we really enjoy is looking at the unique combination of stickers they buy. For example, we’ve seen people buy the Concha and Ramen, or the Rubber Ducky and Pupusas. These combinations show us that although we’re connected through our cultures, we’re all individually unique. 

Blank Tag Co Animals Food BELatina
Photo Credit Blank Tag Co

 As Latinx business owners, did you feel there was a unique responsibility to ensure that your stickers represented diverse features, qualities, and interests and that your products were both culturally relevant and relevant to the times? 

Absolutely! We specifically wanted to make a product that represented the diversity in the United States. Growing up, we did not feel that any products from major retailers were really made with us in mind. As business owners, we have the opportunity to change that because we ultimately get to decide what products we make. We take this decision-making power as a responsibility to reach people from all backgrounds and experiences. We understand that we are only two individuals, and we cannot unilaterally make stickers that we feel resonate with such a diverse audience. While we are Latinx business owners, we know that diversity is broader than just Latinx culture and we want to ensure our product represents a broader range of individuals and cultures. That is why the feedback from customers is so crucial for Blank Tag Co.’s growth as a company. It’s their DMs, emails, and sticker suggestions that confirm that our goal of allowing them to share their stories through stickers is successful.

 Did you face any specific struggles trying to launch your business? What advice would you give to other Latinx entrepreneurs trying to take their passion project from an idea to a successful brand? 

We were a couple launching a business together while living on opposite ends of the country, which made our inception story unique. We had struggles which varied from figuring out how to pay taxes to having to decide on a name for the company over the phone. Our phone conversations transitioned from being all about our days and our relationship to being all about the business and it was an adjustment that we both had to make. If we had to share a piece of advice with other Latinx entrepreneurs, it would be to not be afraid to take risks but to do so within your means. Before we started this company, we decided that we had a $1,000 budget to work with and that was all we were going to allow ourselves to risk. We stuck to that because it is all we were financially able to be ok walking away from. Knowing that we had a finite amount of money to risk before we would have to walk away just made us so much more determined to make it work. Also, test selling your product at events like Molcajete Dominguero to validate product-market fit.

What is your goal in terms of how the #StickYourStory campaign will mobilize the country and empower people to celebrate their unique story and their cultural identity? 

Our main goal with our #StickYourStory campaign is to give people an outlet to express who they are to the world.  We want these stickers to be a conversation starter for people and to allow others to share their stories with others. What sparked this campaign idea was that a lot of customers started sending us messages that they’re incredibly happy that they found stickers that showcased who they are, and they finally felt represented. This made us incredibly happy, and we decided it was time to lean into what made us unique: representation through stickers.

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If you were to tell a bit about yourself using stickers, what would it look like? Los Angeles-based sticker brand, @BlankTagCo, just launched their #StickYourStory campaign, where people can share their stories through stickers. The brand sent these stickers my way, so I could share some of my story: like how I was born to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father, and how I’m originally from NYC but now live in LA. 🇵🇷 🇩🇴🗽🏝💄💅🏼 * * *To participate, just upload a photo or video right here on Instagram with a caption explaining your story and culturally who you are, telling what you love, and some stickers you’d love for Blank Tag Co. to create (if they don’t already exist), and make sure to tag @BlankTagCo and use #StickYourStory. Winners will have the chance to create custom stickers representing their culture and a $50 gift card to shop www.BlankTag.co * * *Blank Tag Co. is Latinx-owned and operated by boyfriend/girlfriend duo Remi Silva and Alondra Carbajal. *In just two years they have sold more than 200,000 stickers and have more than 650 designs! * * * *#blanktagco #stickers #stickerlife #puertorican #dominican #latina #dominicanrepublic #puertorico #blanktagcostickers #shareyourstory #laptopstickers #beautyeditor #beautywriter #beautyblogger #latinablogger #losangelesblogger #losangeles #nyc #chula #chulasticker #latinxowned #latinxbusiness #latinxheritagemonth #hispanicheritagemonth #notanad

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What’s next for Blank Tag Co.?

Our goal is to turn Blank Tag Co. into the most recognizable sticker brand in the U.S. In order to scale and support our artists even further, we plan on working with select artists to sell their images through our website. We have a specific style of images we sell on the website, and by working with artists that create art with a similar style but do not exactly overlap, we have an opportunity to scale the business further while also supporting artists.