Once you have a niche, it’s time to choose your products. Will you be selling short-sleeve shirts or dresses? The clothing and apparel market is almost infinite, and you can be sure there are a bunch of options within the niche you’re selling in.
However, if you’re tempted to jump in and sell everything, this could be your undoing before you’ve even started. When you’re starting an online store it’s always advised to start off small and slow and then branch out your lines as you grow.
As Mrs Bow Tie did, start small and simple as you get your product list off the ground. Adding too many products upfront will not only add extra admin costs every step of the way – from product photo shoots to web setup – but it can add complications when you first launch. Complications can affect the service you give, and as a new store in a very competitive market, customer service, or the lack thereof, can make or break your business.
As we know, fashion and clothing fads are ever-changing. Choose stable products at first that can be easily changed to suit the changing styles, such as bow ties or t-shirts as shown above. If you do decide to go more mainstream fashion, plan for the changing styles by creating a store that adapts, such as dropshipping orders, which will ensure you’re not stuck with unsellable stock. Ultimately in the clothing game there will always be shifts, so success will depend on your ability to always think ahead and be innovative and creative in dealing with the changes.
Yes, be as specific and narrow as you can at the beginning, but have an eye on the end goal. Think about where you see your online clothing brand extending in the future, and make sure that you’re focusing on the end goal. This will ensure that, as you add products to your range or line and grow your store in your niche, you will be able to implement new or trending products onto your store more seamlessly.
Now that you know your niche and have an idea of the types of products you want to sell, it’s time to pick a business model for your online clothing store business. There are four types of business models that online clothing and apparel stores fall into: print-on-demand, custom cut-and-sew, private label clothing line and dropshipping. Each business model has their own pros and cons and choosing between them should be based on your overall objective, your budget and your skills.
This kind of model is when you buy blank, or label-less clothing items, and then add your custom design, label or tag before selling them in your store. This can prove to be a lot more cost effective than print-on-demand as you can negotiate better rates for bulk buying. Unfortunately there are some drawbacks, such as having to deal with fulfillment and inventory management yourself.
Similar to print-on-demand, dropshipping clothing stores allow you to sell clothing that is fulfilled from wholesalers. This is a cost-effective route as you don’t have to deal with buying stock up front, storing, packing or shipping. The disadvantage is that your products won’t be as unique and there could be a variety of stores selling the same products as you.