by Lee Gutowski

When I sat down on the front porch to talk to Brad Page, he asked who’s been written about in this column in the past. I mentioned our spotlight for June, Nick Reuland of Riverwest Grown. “Oh, yeah, I know him!” said Brad.
“And do you know Davey Noble?” I asked, naming another neighbor we featured. Brad enthused, “Yeah, yeah, I actually sold stickers to him.” Turns out, Brad knows a lot of Riverwesters, many of whom are considerably older than him and have businesses of their own.
Brad has been selling stickers to neighborhood people and businesses for a few months now, through his own enterprise, BPStickerDesigns. At 13 years old, he just might be the youngest entrepreneur in Riverwest, as well as the youngest neighbor to be featured in this column. 
An eighth-grade student at Golda Meier School, Brad is taking “regular” assigned classes like Math and Science and gym. He chose his one “optional” class to be Creative Writing. That makes sense, as he’s also a long-time collector of comic books and LEGOs, and he appreciates imaginative stories. His LEGOs interest started way back when he was a little kid (whose age was still in the single digits). 
Brad’s BPStickerDesigns business is a logical extension of his pursuits. The artistic and design aspects of making stickers hits right in Brad’s comic-book-loving wheelhouse; the marketing and sale of said stickers is fueled by his passion for acquiring more LEGOs. Sounds like a winning combination.


Late in May of this year, Brad was attending one of the 53212 Marketplace events that his mom, Ruth Weill (community organizer and advocate), puts together. Brad and a vendor at the event, Tom from Digital Portrails (pronounced like “portrayals”), were “talking and stickers got brought up. He has some really nice stickers,” Brad relates. “Tom does map art, like he does the Great Lakes, he does Milwaukee, he does great stuff. I bought one of his maps, do you want to see it?” (Brad brings out one of Tom’s pieces of map art, which we admire together for a bit.)
Brad goes on, “We met up and talked about business and it eventually got to the point where now I have a business too, and Tom and I have been selling together at the same booth at the markets.”


Brad uses a free design program on the internet to create his stickers. “Tom helped me figure out how to create them. I came up with my first stickers, with the buck on them, by accident – I wasn’t trying to do that. I was just messing around when I did that, and I think it’s my best design so far.”
Of course, not all his designs appear by accident. “What happens is usually an idea will just come to me before I can even think about it. It’s hard for me to try to come up with something, like just setting out to get an idea. Instead, it just comes to me, like that,” he says, snapping his fingers.
Brad gets interrupted by a call or text notification on his phone and apologizes for the break in the conversation. “That was Ron from Amorphic Beer. I’ll have to get back to him. They’re buying some stickers from me,” he explains. Apparently, it’s Amorphic’s first time buying from him, but it’s not his first “wholesale thing – I’ve actually wholesaled to Davey Noble already and to Black Husky Brewing twice.” He’s also got stickers for sale at the Daily Bird on Center Street.

Brad met up and talked with me on his front porch at home on Booth Street after getting home from school at about 4pm. Toward 6pm, he said, “I don’t know why I’m so spacey right now,” and I suggested maybe it was because he’d been busy and at school all day. “So, what do you usually do after school?” I asked.
Brad said today he’d hung out with a friend after school for a bit, and then did some “business stuff.” What does the business stuff consist of? “Usually things related to the stickers, like designing new ones, getting back to emails, responding to people, social media, marketing, spreadsheet stuff … all that kinda stuff. I suck at spreadsheet stuff,” he says. (We bonded on spreadsheet-doing.) “It’s like algebra, it’s just as bad as algebra.”
Networking, designing, and promoting his wares are things he enjoys, though. When I thanked him for the interview, Brad said, “Oh yeah, I love doing these kinds of things.” He’s no stranger to being interviewed, it turns out. Check out Channel 58’s August 14th feature on Brad here:
Look for Brad at the Riverwest Farmer’s Market on Sundays through October, and at 53212 Marketplace events on the Beerline by Riverworks, too. He’ll be creating an Etsy page for selling his wares, and until then you can find Brad in person, on Instagram (bpstickerdesignsMKE) and on Facebook (BPStickerDesigns MKE).