The rise of the internet has made starting and managing your own business easier than ever, particularly for individual creators looking to sell their products directly to customers. This is particularly true for the fashion industry, where individual designers, tailors, and more have been able to list their clothing without going relying on major retailers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are an estimated 7,880 tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers across the nation, many of whom sell their clothes online.
If you've been wanting to break into the fashion industry like many other small creators and business owners, you don't necessarily have to use major e-commerce stores like eBay to sell your products. Here are a few tips you can use to open up your very own online boutique or other fashion-related startup.
Remember Your Competition
When you're starting up your online boutique, remember that you're going to have your work cut out for you. The fashion industry is massive when you consider the combination of smaller creators and larger retailers, and it's only growing over time. The number of potential online fashion customers is projected to grow to more than 1.2 billion by 2020. Don't look to tackle the largest retailers with your smaller online boutique; know your niche and stick to it.
Pay Attention To Local Guidelines
Even if you're running your business entirely online, pay attention to local guidelines regarding how you conduct your business. Different locations will have stricter requirements for start ups, particularly when it comes to funding your business and local taxes. This might vary even on the county level; for example, there are 67 counties in Pennsylvania, and each will have different guidelines for starting small businesses.
Keep Your Website Up To Date
No matter how you end up designing your website to sell your clothes online, it's important to keep it thoroughly updated and properly functioning. Without a well-designed website, you're unlikely to make any direct sales. There are no hard and fast rules about how often you should redesign your small business site, but the typical shelf life of a website is two to three years. Keep tabs on when you last updated your website and stay up to date on various online trends to make the most of your online search results.
Make Sure You're Marketing
In all of the difficult work involved in running an online business, it's easy to forget about taking the right steps to market your business. Sharing your links on social media is a good start, but if you want to make sales outside of your own personal network, you'll need to devote a bit of extra energy to marketing yourself. Show off how your looks can be worn on a day-to-day basis, and take full advantage of digital platforms to share your clothing items.
Starting a small business is difficult in any industry, but this is especially true for smaller fashion designers and other creators. While there are existing e-commerce platforms you can make use of to sell your items, you'll want to go a step further if you're looking to take your business to the next level. These tips can serve as the foundation for a growing fashion business and help you get ahead of your competition. Next time you're looking to make a clothing purchase, remember to support small retailers and creators like you - they might even return the favor and support your growing fashion business.