The Heart of Miller Decals: Starla Miller

Busy is an understatement for Starla Miller. As CEO and co-owner of Miller Decals—a 40 year-old business specializing in vehicle and sign decals—it never use to be this way. Just 11 years prior she went from owning her own insurance company to serving as extra hands for Jim Miller, founder and co-owner of Miller Decals, back when the shop was still in its adolescence. Now, Starla manages a large portion of the company’s internal affairs and is beginning to see change as more women are joining the vinyl industry.

The Perfect Union

When Starla married her long-time, childhood friend, Jim, in 2001 she not only became his partner in life, but his partner in business. By 2007, it quickly became clear to Starla that her accounting and corporate background would benefit Jim’s decal business. Jim was the dreamer with the brawn and Starla would be the brains of the operation. In 2007, Starla began working at Miller Decals, and together her and her husband were able to grow their business even amidst the Great Recession. Now Starla is the company’s Strategic Planning Innovator. She not only oversees their growth and development of company, but also manages their financial budget and profits. The job may sound simple, but as any small business owner knows: there is no such thing.

“Typically we have some sort of extra curricular activity going on besides the normal day-to-day grind,” Starla said. For example, the other day one of their installers was stranded on the interstate and Starla had to unexpectedly spend the morning helping them get to a dealership.  Even with these challenging situations, Starla takes on a more positive approach and enjoys the insistence of organization in an industry that is full of chaos.

“I’ve come to know people in different areas of the industry who help me to grow as a person, business owner, woman, and friend.” Starla says. Throughout the years, she’s been able to meet many inspirational creators nationally and globally as well as women who are are starting to step foot into the industry too.

Women in the Workforce

As a woman in the typically male-dominated world, Starla has noticed the decal industry growing in many areas due to the rise of brand awareness on social media. She sees it as a window that has allowed women to find careers they otherwise may not have considered until now.

Starla warns that one major challenge for women just joining the industry is the work to life balance—especially if you have a family. “The main challenge is the volatility of our schedules due to the demand,” says Starla. “In this day and age customers expect an immediate response and I feel responsible to meet those expectations. On the other hand, my family has supported my career and long hours, but I also have a responsibility to be there for them too.” For Starla, dedicating and prioritizing as much time to her family as possible has been key for her work to life balance.  

The one last thing Starla has learned in this industry over the years? “Don’t carry a propane tank in your checked luggage! The FAA doesn't like that.”

More info about Miller Decals is available on their website, and you can learn more about Avery Dennison films, services and wrap classes at graphics.averydennison.com.