Decal Junky In The News

We have been mentioned in various news articles over the years. Below are two stories written in 2005 and 2007 making mention of our decals. If you are interested in learning more about what we do and the markets we serve please feel free to contact us by phone, by email or use our contact form to schedule a time for an interview.

 

Decal Junky - Article in The New York Times

In the Rear Window, Tributes to the Dead

By ALLISON ENGEL December 11, 2005 PALM DESERT, Calif. - WHEN David Atchison, a high school senior from Palm Desert, Calif., died in a car accident in April, one of the first things his brother and friends did was begin designing his memorial decal. They came up with two designs, working on a computer at a decal kiosk at a local mall, and the day before the funeral, they presented them to his parents. Friends and family members could buy their own at the kiosk, where the design was kept on file.

"I think it's beautiful," Mr. Atchison's mother, Gina, said. "About a month after it happened, I went to the high school and almost every car had a sticker. It moved me and put me to tears. I called my husband and said, 'You need to drive to the parking lot and see this.

For years drivers in Southern California have been using their cars as whizzing classified ads, announcing everything from house cleaning to property for sale to weight-loss plans. But these days car owners are increasingly using their vehicles as rolling tombstones, placing personalized memorial decals with names, dates of birth and death, and brief sentiments on their rear windows. Sometimes they add crosses or angels, the kind usually chiseled on gravestones.

Dozens of Internet sites make it easy to custom-design such decals. Suzanne Thomas, co-owner of Custom Signs Decal Junky of Columbus, Miss., said she gets orders for memorial decals every day from her Web site (decaljunky.com), and ships them all over the country. "When we started our Web site three or four years ago, we didn't even think of memorial decals," she said. "Now, it's about 20 to 30 percent of our business."

Lately, she added, she has been selling a lot of war memorials, such as the 50 decals that a woman ordered in memory of her nephew who had been killed in Iraq.

 

Article in The Las Vegas Sun

Memorial decals take personal touch

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007 | 7:05 a.m.

 

Repeat customers are cause for concern in the memorial decal business.

For three weekends in a row, Las Vegas decal designer Stacy Gray cut different stickers for the same client, a teenage girl whose friends kept dropping from drug overdoses.

The memorial decals, vinyl stickers placed on a car's back window or bumper, all featured the same flowered crucifix, but cradled by a different slanted script - the name - then rest in peace.

"Same decals," Gray says, "different friends."

Memorial decals are grief-on-wheels. Mobile mourning, stickers stuck to a window and reflected in the rear view. For drivers who have lost loved ones, it's a way to forget forgetting: our sorrows, our stickers, our cars, ourselves.

Metro Police Officer Don Albeitz was biking on Highway 159 in July 2005 when a tractor-trailer hit him from behind and barreled on. Albeitz died from injuries eight days later, but the memorial decals Metro colleagues made in his memory remain stuck to the backs of about 200 cars. 

Sgt. Greg Weeks sees the decal every time he drives on-duty - it's a bicycle sprocket with Albeitz's officer identification number inside: 4204. Weeks knows the number by heart. "I think it helps keep him alive in our minds," he says.

In time, patterns emerge. The memorial decals become a sort of sorrow index.

Online decal manufacturer John Thomas is seeing a surge in stickers to commemorate fallen soldiers. Orders for decals solemnizing Sept. 11, however, are starting to dwindle. 

Thomas co-owns Decal Junky with his wife, Suzanne, in Columbus, Miss. Sometimes the couple will work 18-hour days to meet online decal demand, which runs into the thousands annually.

"It keeps the memory from fading," Thomas says. "You have a memorial on your window, it tends to keep bringing you back, bringing you back."

Wedged into a booth at the Fantastic Indoor Swap Meet, Gray and her parents, Bob and Norma, run BSN All-Vinyl Signs and Decals. The business is word-of-mouth, and it's a certain crowd that comes for memorial decals: the young and the reckless.

Gray estimates half the memorial decals they make are in memory of people who died using drugs, most of the rest in car accidents.  "I always ask," Stacy Gray says. "I try to show a little empathy. If they are going this far, it's important."

Last week she took an order for 100 decals; 75 white, 25 gold. The purchaser planned to hand out the stickers during a funeral.

The smallest decal, 8 by 8 inches, costs $7 plus a $4 customization fee.

Popular memorial images involve crucifixes wreathed in flowers or standing alone or with a cartoon man kneeling before the cross, hands clasped. There are also roses with winding thorns, and angels frozen in different poses.

There are dogs wearing halos and angel wings, barking from the four-legged beyond.

Gray does not rush remembrances of the dead. The decals take about 20 minutes to make, long enough for customers to open up before shuffling off."

I have to take time with them," Gray says. "I want to make sure they like what I'm making. When I'm designing it, I just tell them I'm really sorry."

Tara DeSoto stuck a white memorial decal on the rear window of her white Honda Civic. The sticker is in honor of a high school friend, Kristina Fannon, who died of cancer three years ago. Underneath the sloping font of Fannon's name, date of birth and death, the decal reads, "We hope you dance."

 The sticker has started to curl and peel, still the sentiment lasts. "Whenever I look in my rear-view mirror," DeSoto says, "It reminds me of her."