11 June 2013

Top Tips for Starting an Online fashion Business

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You've probably bought some of your hottest looks online, either from indie boutiques or reliable favourites like Topshop. Yet have you ever thought about starting up your own online shop? If you spend your days dreaming of the perfect outfit and saving up for your next shopping spree, you might want to think about how to turn this interest into profit. More and more fashion followers are finding ways to start ecommerce businesses of their very own, armed with little more than a blog and an eye for today's top trends. Running your own fashion business from home can be a dream come true, but it's important to keep the following tips in mind to stand out from the competition!
Follow fashion and marketing trends.
Before you jump into starting your own business, you'll want to become a fashion sponge. This is the fun part! Take a closer look at your favourite fashion blogs, magazines, and online shops and think carefully about what makes them stand out. You can make a list of potential competitors or shops you would like to emulate, and see what promotional tools and layout they use that makes them successful. This will help give you inspiration as you get started.
Choose a niche fashion market.
Although it's natural to shoot for the stars with your new online boutique, you'll probably just want to keep it simple at first. Online businesses tend to thrive on offering unique, one-of-a-kind items to their customers. Rather than trying to offer a little bit of everything, narrow your focus to a niche market such as handmade accessories, vintage from a certain era, or hip children's clothing. This will help you target potential customers more easily and stand out from larger competitors.
Write a business plan.
You may only have the bare bones of an idea in your head, but it helps to put it in writing as you get started. Look at elevator pitch examples to get an idea of what a clear business idea looks like, or use free templates. Don't worry if you can't fill in a full business plan template at the start; you can always fill it in as you go along.
Find safe storage for inventory.
Many online business owners choose to use methods like drop shipping to fulfil retail orders, but if you are designing your own clothing or looking for truly unique garments you'll need to store your inventory somewhere. This could be as simple as your garage or basement, but be sure that your location is cool, dry, and free from any odours. 
Use both online and offline marketing opportunities.
With your shop up and running, the next step is to get the word out there! Keeping a fashion blog is a great way to interact with your readers and convert them to customers. Social media is also extremely important for online businesses, because this allows you to spread the word about new products, sales, or promotions that you're running. However, don't forget about more traditional forms of marketing. Although it may seem old school, selling at local flea markets, trade shows, and fashion exhibitions can help you expand your business and make important connections.
Most importantly, don't forget to have fun with your new business! You can set your own schedule, choose products you love, and take your interest in fashion to the next level.  

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