One of the biggest joys of having a home-based business is waking up, going to the computer and seeing that we made sales during the night. Our bank account grew as we slept, without having to do anything.
But this is the end result of hard work.
The process to open a clothing business from home starts long before. And it’s this process we’ll see now. Ready to start?
The three decisions before opening a clothing business.
There are many decisions you’ll have to make. Many questions will have to be answered. But at this point, focus only on these three questions:
- What kind of clothes will I sell?
- To whom will I sell?
- How will I sell?
Most people focus only on the first question. But the others are also important, and should be answered together.
And this is one of the biggest mistakes I see when planning to open a clothing business from home – they don’t answer these three questions together.
But these three questions are related.
There are some types of customers who will buy more of the clothing we want to sell. As there are places where it’s easier to sell our clothes, because in these sites there are many customers who like this kind of clothes.
But then, how do we answer these three related questions? Where do we start?
I usually use the same method of work.
My method of work
Here’s how I do it (and this is how I advise my consulting clients to do).
I pick one of the first two questions. I answer it. Them I start answering the others, using the previous information.
Let’s say I start with the question: What kind of clothes will I sell?
Then I write down the kind of clothes I’m thinking of selling. For example: dresses, trousers, skirts and sweaters of classic style.
Now I’m going to answer the question “To whom will I sell?”. It’s critical you choose a type of customer you know he or she buys the type of clothing you want to sell. Let’s assume that your answer was: executive women who work in offices, for example, directors, lawyers. And between the ages of 30 and 40.
Now all you have to do is answer the last question “How will I sell?”. For this type of client, the most suitable would be Etsy, or your own website.
Now let’s assume that I begin with the question, “To whom will I sell?”
Most people prefer to start with this question. Because they answer: someone like me. This is a good way to start. If we choose, as clients, people similar to us, it’s easier to know what they like and how they think. But of course, it can be another type of person different from us.
After defining the type of customer, we answer the question “What kind of clothes will I sell?”
The answer of course is: Clothing that the type of customer you have defined before, likes to buy.
Finally, we answer the question “How will I sell?”. Again, the answer to this question should take into account the other two answers.
But this last answer is easier than the other two. Because there are several places to sell, and with customers like the ones we are looking for.
Some places to sell:
- Sales platforms, such as Etsy, Ebay, etc.
- Own website. (should be your goal, even if only in the long run)
- Social networks (yes, it’s possible to sell through social networks)
- Among others
Potential customers who visit these sites, may have different characteristics from site to site. For example, Etsy customers are very different from Ebay customers. If your products are most appropriate for the kind of customers visiting Etsy, you must choose Etsy to sell. If you have more Ebay-like customers, you should choose Ebay.
This is just a guess (but a good guess).
It’s very likely that your business, in a few years, or months, will be quite different from what you imagined. You may be selling other types of clothes. Customers may be others. And even the place you are selling may be another. But this is no problem at all.
At this moment what you have is an idea, a guess. And when you start selling, you may need to change it. But for now, you have to start somewhere. And so, start working with the 3 answers you gave.
The 3 main tasks (you only need to do this well)
Only after opening the clothing business, you really start the work. And in this work, you have to focus on 3 main tasks.
These are the most important tasks of your business, and by far. If you can become an expert in these 3 tasks, then success is guaranteed. So, focus on these 3 tasks:
- Get people to visit your business (whether it’s a online store or a social networking page).
- Get these people to buy, and buy as much as possible.
- Get these people who bought, come back again to buy.
Every day, you have to do something to improve these three tasks. And you should always be thinking how to improve these three tasks.
It doesn’t matter to start a business if we can’t even get people to visit our store.
It also doesn’t matter to start a business where people visit the store, but then they don’t care. And don’t buy anything.
In the same way, we don’t want a business where people only buy once, and never come back. Such a business could only survive by being able to get new customers. But getting new customers has costs. It costs time, and costs money. And after a while, it would be hard to get more new customers.
Take a sheet of paper. Divide the sheet into three areas. And write down each of these 3 tasks you have to focus on. For each task, start writing ideas to achieve the goal. See if you get at least 3 ideas for each task.
If you prefer, take a look at my book “How to Create a Home Based Fashion Business” and find ideas.
It’s easy to make mistakes.
When we open a clothing business from home, it’s very easy to make some mistakes. If you search the internet, you’ll easily find a few websites that explain how to start a business. But many of these sites only focus on what to do. And they forget an important part: what not to do. The reason for not explaining what to do, is that most of the people who write these sites, never opened a clothing business, nor helped anyone to open.
People say: you learn a lot from experience. And I think it’s true. But we can learn from our experience, but also from the experience of others. I’ve already opened several businesses selling clothes online. And I also helped other people opening a business. I made a lot of good things (fortunately). But I made some mistakes too (unfortunately).
Here are three tips so you don’t make the same mistakes.
1 – We should always think about the customer’s interest, not ours.
The business we’re going to create is to make money for us. But for the customer, that doesn’t matter. What interests him is his situation.
Or we find out how to help the customer find the right clothes, at the right price, or we’ll never make any money.
Luckily for us, the big chain clothing stores almost never put the customer ahead of everything. All companies think they put the customer in first place. But reality says it’s a lie. Many companies only care about selling, even if they have to deceive the customer.
This is one of the reasons why customers often prefer to shop in smaller stores. In a smaller store, every customer is important.
2 – We should not believe that just by having a lot of friends, or by having good taste in fashion, we will succeed.
Basing a business on friends’ purchases is not realistic. Your friends, even if there are many hundreds, won’t buy all the clothes they wear from your store. In reality, there’ll be many friends asking for discounts, or even free clothes.
Have you got good taste in fashion?
But can you teach the client to dress well?
It’s only important to have good taste in fashion, if we can help our customers. We have to turn our taste in fashion to our customer, and not to us.
3 – In the beginning, we should avoid spending money on advertising.
Advertising is great, but only after we’re sure to be on the right track. Until then, there are other cheap (or free) ways to test the business.
It’s easy to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on advertising, in a short period of time. But in the end, what matters is whether the revenues are higher than the costs. If advertising works well, we can multiply the money we spend. If it doesn’t work, we can lose a lot of money.
First test the business. See if it can be improved, and when you’re sure people want to buy the clothes you sell, then advertise.
Take the first step
Whether it’s to start a full-time business, or to start a side business, opening a clothing business has an enormous potential for success.
Look for the answers to the three initial decisions. Look for solutions to the three main tasks. If you need help, check out my book. But start today. Open a clothing business from home now. It’s a low investment business.
- How to start a clothing business
- How to cross sell in retail
- 10 Ideas to get new customers to your store
- Guide for store employees uniforms for fashion stores
- How to arrange a clothing store (sorting clothes)