So you’ve decided you love fashion and want to become one of a billion retailers. OK great, first decide what you want to sale and ask yourself if it makes sense. There is no point in fluff here, if you don’t do this soul-searching now, you will at some point throughout this journey
Love What You Do, and Do What You Love.
What does that mean you ask? Sale what you love so when it gets hard and you barely have any traffic the first couple of years you will still want to hang in there. The fashion business is not easy and niches fizzle quickly. What people are interested in today may not be what’s hot tomorrow. Building a business takes passion to sustain you through the rough patches.
Knowledge is Power.
Everyone does not have a business or marketing degree, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go into business. Locate you areas Small Business Association and sign up for a mentor in the specific industry you want to go into. You can also take classes to learn all the things you have no clue about, like how to find your target audience and how to use the Census to project possible sales. BONUS TIME plus you get a cute certificate in the end.
Sale What to Who on Where?
Now you need to source what you are going to sale and find some place to sell it. For apparel, designer labels require a lot of up front capital, capital the average small business does not have. There are many independent designers just waiting for the chance to showcase their talent. Not only are their items affordable, but you can usually purchase them in smaller quantities. The easiest way to find hot independent designers is at local trade shows. Every quarter there are hundreds of designers and retailers alike bustling away in convention centers selling and buying away. Two of the most well-known trade shows in the United States are FAME and The Magic Marketplace. At a trade show you can shop according to your apparel needs and price range. If you can’t afford a plane ticket now all is not lost; just Google wholesale, marketplace, or independent designers and purchase your inventory online. Many will email you look books and line sheets to preview before the line is available to buy to give you a heads up on the competition.
When you sale online it most affordable at first to use a shopping cart. A shopping cart will have everything you need to upload your items and start selling and make your store front look appealing. Many require you to know code to design the look and feel of your storefront. One of the easiest and most affordable cart I’ve found was Big Commerce. They have everything you need to make it look great and gain traffic.
What you don’t know pay someone who does. Simple. As an entrepreneur you do everything, and you will save yourself a lot of goof ups and teary nights if you bite the bullet and pay for things that you don’t know how to do, but they really matter like SEO or design. Look to places like Elance or GURU for inexpensive outsourcing for everything from press releases to html and CSS.
I’ve Done All That Now What?
You have what you are going to sale, where you are going to sale it, and who you are going to sale it to. Now what? Now here’s where you need a little PCP, no not the drug Patience, Confidence, and Patience. Now it’s the waiting game. You have to invest time into branding and attracting visitors, and be confident that you made the right decision when you get 3 visits in 3 weeks. To be honest you are one of a billion store fronts in the blogosphere, even the best affiliate marketing and SEO optimization strategies take time. Create a blog and sign up for every social networking site you can think of and be active. Also, sign up for free directories and leave your link everywhere you can!