Frequently Asked Questions

Are Auto-Graphs™ USA made?

Auto-Graphs™ decals are manufactured in Nicholasville, KY. This a true 100% American made product. All our patented displays are also made in Central Kentucky.

What do you mean when you say Auto-Graphs™ are a “second generation” USA made product?

Not only are the decals 100% made in the USA, but all the raw materials used to produce them are also USA made. You get the highest quality decals made anywhere in the world and support American jobs when you choose Auto-Graphs™

What does the customer do with these?

Decals are incredibly popular right now. The next time you’re on the road, look for decals on the back window of the cars you see. It’s about 1 in 5 that have a decal. Most of our standard size decals go there, on a car. The mini size decals are incredibly versatile and go on cell phones, tablets, school items, etc. One of the biggest uses of mini decals is to decorate the stainless coffee tumblers and plastic water bottles you see everywhere. If fact, many stores put an additional decal display right next to the high end tumblers and bottles in their store.

What’s the difference in a decal and a sticker?

It’s the same difference as between a resort and a motel. They serve the same function, but one is better than the other.

Stickers are usually die-cut. That means they have a fixed shape that can’t change. They’re usually made of either laminated paper or vinyl that gets printed while on a roll going through a conveyor. A waxed paper backing is squeezed on from another roll and then a steel die comes down and cuts the shape out at a speed of about 300 pieces a minute. When you go to apply them, the wax paper backing has a score line allowing you to peel the sticker off and apply it with your bare hand. We call these stickers “crack-backs.”

Auto-Graphs™ decals are made with an outdoor-rated engineered film and are knife-cut, not die-cut. It’s a much more complicated and expensive process, but it allows you to have any shape – including the shape of cut out lettering. Our decals are applied with a clear application tape which then removes to leave only the decal in place – floating lettering and no unsightly clear background.

Why are Auto-Graphs™ better than other decals?

Auto-Graphs™ are the best decals on the market today for a number of reasons:

  • No one is even close in designs. It’s pretty obvious, but decide that for yourself.
  • Knife-cut, not die-cut. This adds a ton of extra cost, but it’s worth it. Almost ALL other decal companies that allow name-drops die-cut a blob shape around the outside of text. Auto-Graphs™ cuts the text out so that it “floats” on the application area.
  • We use the thinnest substrates out there. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the thinner the decal, the longer the exterior life. That’s because the surfaces we tend to put these on is rarely flat. There’s usually some curvature. The internal spring in the material wants to pull back to its natural flat position and that causes peeling and edge cracking. Our super thin decals last longer than thicker ones.
  • Our UV and water resistant inks, combined with specialty film materials give our decals a 3-5 year outdoor rating in any North American climate, from the Arctic Circle to the bottom of Mexico. (A rating is an expected life, not a guarantee.)
  • We have the best retail packaging in the business. Our header cards are slotted for peg-hooks and have installation instructions for your customers. There is also a hard card in the back of each package so our decals won’t curl up like some cheaper stickers you may have seen.
  • Auto-Graphs™ provides the best POP retail displays that have ever been created to cause a decal to sell in your store. They are fully patent protected – no other decal company can provide you anything close to them. What’s best is that we give them to you absolutely free!
  • We give you great margins. Way above keystone.
  • Add all that up, and you’ll see why some of our customers tell us that our display full of decals is the single most profitable square foot in their store.
How are your decals made?

Auto-Graphs™ are made differently than other decals. That’s about all we can say. We consider our manufacturing process and the specific equipment used to be a valuable trade secret and every employee knows they can be fired for discussing it with anyone. Please don’t ask. Thanks.

How are your decals packaged for retail?

Auto-Graphs™ have the best retail packaging of any decal on the market. They are individually packaged in a clear bag with a peg-hook ready header card on top. The entire package also fits into the slots of our free displays so you have both options. Full installation instructions are on the back for your customers and there is a hard card in the back of each package so they don’t curl up in your store like some cheaper stickers you may have had in the past.

Do you also make refrigerator magnets?

Besides decals, we also make awesome refrigerator magnets using the same designs as the decals. Our magnets are either oval shaped or rectangular shaped, depending on the design of the artwork. Magnets are for interior use only. These are also 100% USA made.

How do your free displays work?

There has never been any mechanism that is even close to how well our displays sell decals in a store. They are completely unique in the marketplace and covered by multiple US patents both issued and pending. Furthermore, we provide them to you absolutely free when you order them full of decals.

The wooden floor display is our most popular display in the marketplace. You can expect to sell up to 3 times the amounts of the exact same decals as if you had hung them on a hook somewhere in the store. With tool-less assembly, your staff will have the display up in minutes. The black acrylic panels slide in and out to allow quick set-up and easy replacement when it’s time to replace a design with a new one. Replacement panels are always free when you order a new design. The display holds 32 different designs and is built to hold both standard and mini size of each design you choose. This robust display is built to take years of abuse and still look great. We know it’s a big placement, so we put some skin in the game with you. This fixture costs us over $700. Giving it away free kills our profit on that first order, but we know with that fixture in place, we’re both going to be selling a lot of decals for a long time!

The counter-top acrylic display comes in 3 section high or 4 section high versions which hold 12 designs or 16 designs respectively. Either holds both standard and mini sizes of the designs you choose. Replacement panels are sent free when you want to change a design, but the new panel affixes on top of the old panel instead of sliding in place like on the wooden display. Many stores choose to start out with these smaller displays before upgrading to the wooden floor display the next season.

Which sell better – standard size or mini size?

We find sell-through at stores to be approximately 55% mini size to 45% standard size. Most stores will sell more mini size than standard size, but because standard size cost more, the sales dollars are relatively even. You need both.

How long does it take to make my decals?

All decals are made to order, when ordered. Lead times vary greatly throughout the year. The shortest lead times are September through January and are usually about 2 weeks or less to ship. Transit time is extra. Lead times are longest in the late spring and can hit 4 weeks or even longer sometimes. Things usually loosen up bit in mid-June, but not always. We encourage you to plan ahead and order early. Don’t order in April and expect it there in 2 weeks.

How many decals do I have to buy?

We are very small store friendly and offer low minimums on all our designs. Souvenir decals are sold in packs of 24 per design and licensed collegiate and military designs are sold in packs of 12 per design, except mini size which are sold in packs of 25.

When will my credit card be processed?

When you place an order on our website, the credit card you provide is charged a token $1.00 charge to verify the card is valid. Later, based on current lead times, when we begin to print your decals the credit card is ran for the remainder of the charges. Because our decals are customer made to order, we don’t actually print the decals until that second charge goes through. It takes about 2-3 days from the beginning of the production process until the decals ship, so when you see the credit card charged, you’ll know your decals are about 3 days away from shipping.

Can I get a name-drop?

Licensed Collegiate and Military decals must be made exactly as approved by the institutions. All other decals include a free name-drop to make these say exactly what they need to sell in your store. Almost all standard size decals should be name-dropped. On the mini size decals, sometimes less is more. The choice is always yours, but on many of the mini size we suggest using just the iconic image without a name-drop. Mini size designs that are roundish, square-ish or horizontal are usually fine to name-drop. Designs that are more tall than they are wide have to be shrunk down to add a name-drop and sometimes they are better selling at full size without a name-drop.

How do you ship our decals and displays?

In the 48 contiguous states, we ship by UPS ground. For AK, HI and US Territories we ship by USPS Priority Mail, usually in multiple flat-rate boxes when we can. Our patented wood floor displays break apart into 4 box sizes pieces that either ship by UPS, or if freight is less expensive, can be palletized and shipped motor freight. Because they are in boxes on the pallet, no forklift is needed to unload. The straps can be cut and the boxes removed individually. The heaviest of the boxes is 52#.

We have daily UPS pick-up so you can also ship using your UPS number. When we ship via UPS on our own account, we insure the packages so that if there is any damage or lost packages you’re covered. If you ship on your account, we can’t insure your packages so if there is damage or lost packages you still have to pay us for the product shipped and recover your money from UPS. You’ll need to pay us again for replacement product.

We do not have FedEx pick-up here. We can ship on your FedEx number however we have to pay a $4.00 per box pick-up fee to FedEx because we don’t have daily service. That $4.00 charge will be added to your invoice for any shipment charged to your FedEx account. FedEx packages are not insured by Brass Reminders. Please read the insurance information in the paragraph above regarding lost or damaged packages shipped on your account.

Do you make custom decals?

Yes! Minimums start at just 48 pieces for standard size or 100 pieces for mini size. You can place your order and upload your art directly on our website. Here are some of the particulars:

  • Minimum for standard size decals is just 48 pieces.
  • Minimum for mini size decals or refrigerator magnets is just 100 pieces.
  • A one-time $50 art fee applies
  • You can re-order forever and never pay the art fee again
  • You must provide the image or photograph to us. We can’t do new art for you.
  • You must own the rights to the image or photograph. We will not accept orders for artwork owned by people or companies other than the customer.
  • If you provide the artwork, we won’t make this design for anyone except you or use your artwork in any way except to make product for you.
  • There are production limitations to the way we make decals. We can’t make anything we would like. If there is a problem, we’ll let you know and propose what we can do.
How can I be outrageously successful selling this product?

We’re glad you asked. Go get a cup of coffee and settle in for what we like to call Decal Sales 101. (This is long, but if you read it and do it, you can make thousands of extra dollars.)

A La Carte Orders

You can buy decals from us without a display and peg-hook them in your store. If you just want a few to accentuate some other products you’re selling, we get it. You’re welcome to order. When you do sell out, you’re going to look at that empty hook and say to yourself, “I wonder what was on there?” If this is about making money selling decals and not just about making a table of horse items look cute, for example, you’re wasting your time without one of our displays.

It’s OK to start small

About 30% of stores start out with one of our acrylic countertop displays instead of the wood floor display. About half of them move to a floor fixture within two years. Nobody thinks they have room for a floor display and most will tell you they don’t have room for the counter unit. You’re just like everyone else. Yet when you go to a trade show and see how good these look and realize how much money you can make, you’ll find a way to fit it in. The counter display will, at minimum, double your sell through.

Don’t stay small too long

We have way more floor displays out there than counter displays. The reason is simple – sales. We know that not every store is a mega foot-traffic highway souvenir store, but here are the records and here are some average store targets. The top 5% selling stores in the country will sell over $20,000 off a single floor display in a year. The most floor displays in a single location is four. A floor display can triple your sell through.

Many of our smaller store customers will order at a trade show before season and then sell all season and re-order at the same show again next year. If you do this and do a complete sell-out you will sell approx., $7,700 dollars at retail and make a profit of around $4,800 on product sold.

Here’s the important part

There are 32 slot on your display. If you keep good records, at the end of the year you’ll be able to rank those designs in sales from number 1 all the way down to number 32. There will be a number 1, a number 2, a number 14, and a number 32. How you re-work your display each year can cause you to be wildly successful or to fail.

How to enter a downward sales spiral and fail

As mentioned above, not every decal you buy will sell well. Some will be numbers 1 – 10, some will be numbers 11 – 20, but others will be numbers 21 – 32. The best ones and even some of the middle ones sell out. You may only sell 10 – 15% of the losers. Unfortunately, we have some stores that won’t replace a decal until it sells out. Here’s the scenario, try to follow it:

Year 1 – Start off with a new display and 32 designs:

  • Results: The top 15 designs sold out.
  • The middle 7 designs sold about 60%
  • The bottom 10 designs sold ranging between 40% down to 15%.
  • Because the margins are around 60%, the store made good money overall.

Year 2 – Pick 7 new designs:

  • Replace sold out designs 8 – 15
  • Re-order sold out designs existing designs 1 – 7
  • Results: Top 7 existing designs sell out again
  • 3 of the new 7 sell out
  • 2 of the new ones are mid-tier
  • 2 of the new designs are losers.

Year 3 – Pick 5 new designs:

  • Replace sold out decals 5 – 10
  • Re-order sold out existing decals 1 – 4
  • Re-order 8 mid-tier decals which have sold out over 2 years
  • Results: Top 4 existing decals sell out
  • 2 of the 5 new ones sell out
  • 2 of the 5 new ones sell 60%
  • 1 of the new ones is a loser.

Year 4 – Pick 3 new designs:

  • Replace sold out decals 4 – 6
  • Re-order sold out decals 1 – 3
  • RE-order 3-4 additional decals which have sold out over multiple years
  • Results: Top 3 existing decals sell out
  • 1 of the new 3 sells out
  • 1 of the new 3 is mid-tier
  • 1 of the new 3 is a loser.

Year 5 – Declare “These decals don’t sell” and discontinue the program.

What Happened?

Because the store was unwilling to remove poor selling designs from the display and close them out – or even throw them away – they replaced good selling decals with a mixture of good selling, medium selling and more poor selling decals. Eventually the display was stripped of the best sellers and more poor sellers accumulated on it creating a downward spiral. The inability of the store owner to admit “this was a bad pick” and throw something away which did not sell cost the store thousands of dollars per year in sales.

The economics of a slot.

Let’s look at what it really costs to keep a bad item on a display. Based strictly on minimum quantities, when you have a design that sells out you will make a profit of about $150. In reality, if you have a design that’s a home run for your area you won’t just sell the minimum. The right item in the right store can sell up to 100 pieces in a year, not just 25. Not every slot on your display will do that, but some will. That slot can legitimately make you $600 in a year. Many of your slots should make over $300 a year for you.

How much money do you really lose throwing a poor selling product away?

Take a look at a losing design. You bought 25 of each size (standard and mini) of the design and sold 8 of each size in a year. Some stores have the mentality “I can’t throw them away, I paid good money for it.” They leave them sitting on the display for another year. If you sold 8 in the first year, what makes you think you’re going to sell more than 8 the second year? You’ll probably sell less, maybe 5 because a lot of your customers have already seen it and decided to pass.

So you paid somewhere around $100 for the decals to start with. The 8 of each size you sold brought in $79.84 at suggested retail. You’re down $20.16. You have two options for next year:

  1. Keep them on the display and sell another 5 of each size. That will bring in $49.90 at suggested retail.
  2. Throw them away and lose $20.16. Replace them with a new design. If that new design is a winner and sells out, you’ll make $150 from that slot next year. Maybe it will sell even more than a minimum order.

Here’s another consideration

Let’s say you choose some new designs this year. You could put the new design on the display in a slot that sold out last year. After all, that means no decals to throw away. Let’s also say that the new design is an average performer. Not the best, but not a loser. The new design sells 60% in the first year. Cost: about $100, sales generated at retail: $146. Profit – around $46 for the slot, not what we hoped for, but at 60% the design will sell out next year. Do you want to put that $46 profit design in the slot that made $150 last year or the slot that lost $20.16 last year?

Even at the minimum order quantity per slot, if every slot on your display turned one time a year you would make a profit of about $4,800 a year. That’s a good goal to set. Can we get there? I think we can. Here’s how:

How to enter an upward sales spiral and make a lot of money for a long time?

Let’s take the same scenario as before:

Year 1 – Start off with a new display and 32 designs:

  • Results: Exactly the same as the first scenario. The top 15 designs sold out.
  • The middle 7 designs sold about 60%
  • The bottom 10 designs sold ranging between 40% down to 15%.
  • Because the margins are around 60%, the store made good money overall.

Year 2 – Pick 7 new designs:

  • Replace worst selling designs 25 – 32.
  • Literally throw them in the dumpster
  • Real loss on discarded designs about $150 (Cost minus limited sales)
  • Re-order designs 1 – 15
  • Results: Top 15 existing designs sell out again
  • Several mid-tier designs also sell out over the second year
  • 3 of the new 7 sell out
  • 2 of the new ones are mid-tier
  • 2 of the new designs are losers.

Year 3 – Pick 9 new designs (more than last scenario. Spiral is up, not down.):

  • Replace worst selling designs 23 – 32.
  • Literally throw them in the dumpster
  • Real loss on discarded designs about $190 (Cost minus limited sales)
  • Re-order sold out designs 1 – 18
  • Reorder mid-tier designs 19 – 22 which sold out over 2 years
  • Results: Top 18 existing designs sell out again
  • 3 of the 9 new ones sell out
  • 3 of the 9 new ones are mid-tier, sell about 60%
  • 3 of the new 9 are losers.

Year 4 – Pick 10 new designs (more new designs again)

  • Replace worst selling designs 22 – 32
  • Literally throw them in the dumpster
  • Cost of discarded designs is essentially GONE because they were mid-tier and actually made a profit.
  • Re-order sold out decals 1 – 21
  • At this point, if it did not sell COMPLETELY out, it’s off the display!
  • Results: Top 21 existing decals sell out again
  • 3 of the new 10 sells out
  • 4 of the new 10 are mid-tier
  • 3 of the new 10 are losers.

Year 5 – You have fine-tuned the designs you carry to be exactly what your customers will buy:

In addition to having a nearly complete sellout every year, you’ve zeroed in on many designs that sell more than the minimum order amount. Some selling 75 to 100 per slot. You’re making a yearly profit of somewhere between $4,500 to $12,000 off a square foot of floor space. Every year!

Bottom line

We produce 200-300 new designs every year. What’s new and trendy sells. Old and stale does not. Get over the “I can’t throw this away, I paid money for it” mentality. Apply retail science to the situation. Throw the bottom selling 7-10 decals on your display away every year and put new ones on it. It will cost you about $140 – $200 but within 4-5 years you be making 20 times that in profit.

I have some designs that are not selling. Can I swap them out?

Auto-Graphs™ offers over 3,000 different designs and allows stores to custom name-drop each one. You see where this is going – the permutations are in the billions, not millions. For this reason, we don’t make anything until someone orders it. All the product that is completed is shipped that day. We maintain absolutely zero finished decal inventory Were we to take something back, the odds of another store ordering the same item with the exact same name-drop are virtually non-existent. Nor do we have the space or record-keeping ability to hold the item for years waiting for that to happen.

Because of all that, our custom produced products are non-returnable or exchangeable once printed. This has always been our policy since we began making decals and no salesperson is authorized to promise you anything different. Of course we’ll happily fix any mis-ships or mis-spells at our expense.

Why can’t see any decals on your website?

Auto-Graphs™ is a wholesale only manufacturer. We sell only to retail stores and we only allow legitimate retailers to see the designs. You have to apply for an account in order to login and see our designs. To apply for an account and access our designs, please click here. Allow one business day for your information to be verified and login information will be sent to the email you provide.

I don’t have a store. Can I buy just one?

Sorry, but we are wholesale only and produce decals in wholesale quantities. Because we offer stores over 3,000 designs, we can’t keep any pre-made, but only make a design when a store orders it. We don’t have any inventory here to help you out with. Sorry. Try calling the store you saw it at and see if they can ship to you.

Can you suggest a store in my area that has the decal I’m looking for?

We can tell you a few stores to try, but we don’t keep records by part number to be able to tell you which of our 3,000 designs a particular store sells.

Can we use your designs on other products?

It’s not uncommon that someone wants to use our awesome designs on something else. Unfortunately, the answer must be no. We create all our own designs and must vigorously protect them. Sorry.

In a world of knock-offs, how do you protect your designs?

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone created their own designs and didn’t copy other people’s original designs? Brass Reminders Company, Inc. (Auto-Graphs™ parent company) regularly spends over $50,000 a year in legal fees preventing pirating of our copyrighted designs and patented displays. If you’re thinking about doing it, don’t.

Another company has sent us a letter saying one of your decals violates their trademark. What’s Up?

We will never knowingly violate another companies legitimate copyright or trademark.

With that being said, there is a disturbing trend in the souvenir industry with companies applying for and sometimes actually receiving trademarks on items such as state highway signs, the shape of lakes, and the names of towns or states. We do not recognize these illegitimate trademark claims and have a stated policy to make the image ANY highway signs, the shape of any naturally occurring lake or island or to use the name of any city or state in the world as requested by a customer.

Unfortunately, the US Trademark Office sometimes issues trademarks for some of these public domain items but they are always overturned in court. Do not be bullied by a company trying to claim or enforce a trademark or copyright on a shape or phrase that is naturally occurring or in the public domain. We will not be.

Why are you named Brass Reminders when all you make are decals and magnets?

Brass Reminders started business in 1991 with engraved tabletop gifts. For 7 or 8 years, all of our 30+ products were made of brass. Sometime in the early 2000’s the price of copper based metals, like brass, quadrupled and none of those products made sense anymore. By that time, decals were already our best-selling item so we slowly began to discontinue unprofitable lines. Over the years we became, hands down, the best souvenir decal line in America. Today decals and magnets are all we do. The corporate name Brass Reminders is all that remains of the shiny gold metal.

Have more questions?