JUKI Small Business Seminar: Top 5 Locations to Sell Online

With the growth of online shopping over the years, especially the recent boom in 2020, you may be asking yourself if it’s time to open an e-commerce shop on an online marketplace.

There are over 100 online marketplaces in today’s age to place your product or service. Whether it’s a general marketplace like Amazon or a niche market space like Etsy for artisan pieces, the options are abundant. Some sites limit what services and products can be sold, while others allow for any piece of product, from a book to furniture.

There are benefits to selling online, like a large consumer base, more chance for sales, and getting your brand out there, but we’ll also cover those fees that come with owning an e-commerce shop.
Follow along as we go over the benefits of selling online, what online marketplaces to consider and how this journey can help your company make new sales and customers.

Going Online
Opening an online shop is easier than you think, and it can be rewarding and profitable when you take the proper steps to set it up. However, keep in mind that you will need to market your online store differently than a physical shop since you will need to bring in customers, and it can take time to build traffic.

Make sure when you’re opening an eCommerce shop to have a marketing plan in place to follow along. Without proper marketing, an eCommerce shop will have difficulty bringing in that traffic and sales you expect to make.

Follow along below as we go over our top 5 picks for eCommerce shops.

eBay
One of the original eCommerce sites, eBay is a go-to for many online sellers. Since 1995 eBay has been the spot to sell all kinds of merchandise, perfect for those who create handcrafted pieces to those who sell vintage found items.

Like most eCommerce websites, eBay charges a non-refundable listing fee for each product and another insertion fee if you list the same items in two different categories. It also charges a final value fee (usually between 10%–12%), calculated as a percentage of the total amount of the sale, including any shipping and handling charges.

eBay is one the best for online sales due to its popularity, site traffic, and easy use, helping you easily reach customers everywhere.

Etsy
One of the best-selling platforms for artisan and handcrafted items, Etsy is a perfect spot for those creating personalized or handcrafted pieces for sale. With over 60 million buyers in 2020, its popularity continues to rise, Etsy showcases an extensive platform for any seller.

Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee for each item you sell on Esty. Your listings expire every four months, so if your item doesn’t sell and you renew the listing, you’ll be charged an additional $0.20. In addition, when you make a sale, you’ll be charged a transaction fee of 5% of the displayed price, plus the amount you charge for shipping. Keep in mind these fees when opening your eCommerce shop so that you can prioritize what products you want to showcase.

Etsy is an excellent option for those new to the eCommerce world and wants to try selling online with assistance before moving on to creating their site and shop.

Amazon Handmade
With Amazon’s popularity, it’s no surprise why this is in our top five. Amazon sells over 400 products a minute, a leading eCommerce site, providing sellers like you a top-notch platform to sell your products on. With an active and built-in audience constantly surfing for new products, it’s no wonder Amazon is a top business choice for many.

With a foundation of trust and consistency that Amazon has built as a brand, your products have a good chance of being purchased through their site. Amazon offers top service and holds quality and speed as an ultimate goal. With the option for next-day delivery a standard go-to for many and usually lower rates than in-store purchases, Amazon’s audience loves to shop there.

Let’s review their fees. Amazon’s cost to sell on their platform depends on your plan, product category, fulfillment strategy, and other variables. For $39.99 per month, their minimum plan, for a Professional seller plan, you can sell more than 40 units per month, advertise your products, qualify for top placement on product detail pages, and use advanced selling tools like APIs and reporting.

Facebook Marketplace
For more community or local sales, look into sites like Facebook Marketplace. With the ability to now integrate your eCommerce site or continue face-to-face sales, the Marketplace is perfect for all products and services in your community or online.

If you choose to list on Marketplace, no fee is necessary. However, Marketplace has specific requirements and guidelines. You can learn more about the Marketplace here: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/learn-more/business

Bonanza
Based in Seattle, Washington, Bonanza is a new and growing eCommerce space. With the ability to sell just about anything on the site, over 5.1 monthly visitors check out the page, looking for their perfect product.
More focused on artisan and handcrafted pieces than branded items, the site is a middle ground between Amazon and Etsy shops. You also can set a price on a product or allow negotiation offers.

Focusing on fees, Bonanza has a different approach to other sites. While listings are at no charge, Bonanza will take a margin of the final sale price. You also can integrate your website shop, like a Shopify account, into a bonanza for more sale opportunities.

Where Will You Sell?
No matter the product or service, there is an online eCommerce site out there for your needs. When it comes to choosing a platform, make sure you find one that is easy for you to understand and use, that can help you achieve your sale goals, and will assist you in getting your brand out there.

What eCommerce sites would you recommend to those wanting to start their online market? Let us know down below!

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Marketing Strategies for the Small Business Owner

When you’re a small business owner, marketing can be challenging to do on your own. Many have trouble finding and reaching the right audience, and from there, getting that audience to visit in person or an eCommerce shop. If you’re having difficulty deciding how to market your product or services, follow along as we give options on the top strategies business swear by and how to use these strategies for your business. Having the right strategy can help you drive traffic to your store and increase shop sales.

These strategies are easy and quick to implement, making it easier to begin today and test what options work best for you and your business. So don’t get stuck on marketing, and find fun ways to get the work done right.

Strategies to Implement Today

Let’s review five strategies you can implement into your marketing plan today.

Email Marketing

Email marketing refers to those email promotions, newsletters, and advertisements you receive in your inbox from brands that you’ve subscribed to or shopped from before. You can use this as a way to inform customers of new products, promote sales, educate them on products or services you offer, and so much more.

Since this is a communication form owned exclusively by you, you can choose what’s implemented and how you will design and send these email marketing campaigns. These programs’ costs can range from $20 to hundreds depending on your needs. Below are some programs you can look into that are perfect for email marketing.

Email Marketing Programs:

  1. Constant Contact
  2. SendinBlue
  3. MailChimp
  4. ActiveCampaign
  5. GetResponse

Keep in mind that many of these services offer automated email marketing campaigns, making life easier for you and saving you time. Below are some examples of how you can use automated email campaigns.

  1. Emails upon Purchase: These can be sent after checkout and help send shipping information, customer service information, and anything else you feel is essential for the customer’s purchase.
  2. Promo Emails: Use these campaigns to promote new products, back in stock announcements for popular items, and sale promos your shop might be having like cyber Monday.
  3. Relationship Building: Use this platform as a way to share business newsletters. Share videos to introduce yourself, products, or services. Promote your blog or team members. Think of this as a road between you and the customer.

Finding Your Influencer/Affiliate partner

One of the best ways to market your service or product is finding those influences or affiliated businesses with a trusted customer base that resonates with your brand.

Influencers involve partnering with creators who align with your brand message and promote your product or services on their pages. They can bring high user engagement to your social network pages and website and create a relationship between you and your niche base. If you’re going to work with an influencer for your brand, the top-selling social media sites are Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Tiktok, and Twitter.

Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, is a business-to-business transaction. Usually, the affiliate you work with will help you generate those leads and sales you’re hoping for. These are often paid companies that find fun ways to promote your brand for you. They can share it on their blogs, podcasts, social media platforms, websites, and more.

Google Ads

This marketing strategy is a little more pricey than the ones we’ve mentioned, but let’s talk about how they work and their cost.

Misunderstood and labeled as tricky to use, Google ads can be one of the best ways to reach your customer base. The search engine can run your ads to those looking for products similar to yours by using keywords. For example, if someone searches “personalized t-shirt”, you can promote your products under this, bringing in new customers.

There are different ads you can run. One type is a text that commonly pops up after searching for a product or service. These are labeled as Ads and show up in a blue or green link URL. Another is google shopping and product advertising with images. You can place products in their shop with carousel images, prices, and reviews. These are also labeled with a small tag that says Ad for customers to be aware of.

When it comes to cost, you can go as low as $5 and higher. You only pay when your ads are clicked, and you have the ability to target your ads to the right customer base. By choosing preferences on location, search history, and more, your product has a higher chance of going to the right customer base.

SMS – Text Message Marketing

One of the new and fastest ways to reach your customer base, SMS marketing offers a new and innovative way to share sales, purchase updates, and so much more. With over 90% of SMS marketing messages opened, compared to emails that average 20%-30% opening rate, SMS is a great way to connect with your audience.

Like an email marketing system, you control what content your campaigns have. You can create promotions for sales, membership exclusives, campaigns, and more. These can also be scheduled and sent out at any time. A thoughtful and purposeful campaign can do well on an SMS campaign and bring in those sales you’re looking for. Look below for recommendations on your SMS programs.

SMS Marketing Programs:

  1. Clickatell
  2. ClickSend
  3. BurstSMS
  4. Trumpia
  5. SlickText

Get on Social Media

One of the best things you can do for your brand is exposed your business to social media sites. You can promote and sell your products and services by using social networks. You have the option to pay for your post to be boosted (non-organic advertisement) or to not pay at all and use tricks like hashtags and geolocations to bring attention to your socials (organic advertisement.)

Many social media sites are out now, and each one has its own audience and trend. To choose the right channel where you should market, pay attention to who is in your niche and how you plan to advertise to them. Choosing the right channel can also depend on the merchandise you’re selling and your goals.

Your goal when using social media as a tool for marketing usually falls along with the following:

  • Building a relationship with the customer base
  • Bringing in new leads
  • Showcasing your brand
  • Increasing sales

The best way to complete this effectively is by creating content, scheduling your posts, and automating what you can. Remember to take this a step further and communicate with your followers. Respond to comments, like posts that tag or reference you, repost relative stories, and keep up with customer-related questions. Building a relationship through these services is one of the best ways to create new and returning customers.

The Next Step

If you’ve been researching new ways to market your business, take one of these techniques and try it out! Trial and error can be the best way to see what works for your customer base and you when it comes to marketing. By taking the initiative to try new marketing tactics, you can follow the results and see what options are best for your sales and overall branding.

Some strategies will work better for others than you, and this is okay! Marketing is about finding your audience and reaching out to them on their channels—test techniques and channels to see where you can get the best response from shoppers.

Whatever technique you choose, don’t forget to change it up every while and explore new channels. Marketing starts with you and deciding what best ways will get your name out there.

Do you have tips for those marketing their small business? Let them know and leave a comment below!

Machines to start your business today

Starting a business can be exciting! When it comes to choosing the right machines for your projects, we’re here to give some pointers on which machines work best. Whether you’re creating quilts, or dog collars, having the right machine can make your business experience easier and better. Follow along as we go over different machines in our JUKI lineup, and which small businesses would benefit from having them in their studio.

Quilting businessMiyabi J-350QVP with QTC 5

When it comes to owning a quilting business, you need the proper room for creating, and the right tools to make it fun! The machine we recommend for a quilting business is the Miyabi J-350QVP, the stand-up version. The reason this machine has gained such a popular following is because of its size options, regulated stitching, programmable LCD touch screen and so much more.

The J-350QVP offers different options in frame sizes, ranging from 5ft to 12ft. it also offers 10” height, easing the tension on your shoulders and body while you quilt. If you’re starting your business, and expect to have a large number of projects and sales going, we recommend checking out the Quilter’s Creative Touch (QTC5) add-on!

The QTC5 is a quilt automation software, which means that it will allow your quilting machine, the J-350QVP, to move all by itself and do the quilting for you! The process for adding a QTC5 to your machine is simple: you add a motor to the carriage of your machine, add dry felts to the length of your frame (this is how your machine will steer), and a tablet to host your QTC5 program.

This software already includes a variety of designs, helping you stay away from the extra work of using stencils. You can also create and purchase new designs, import them onto your program, and resize them before beginning to quilt! Whenever it’s time to start working on a project, and you’re short on time, the QTC5 is the perfect addition to building your business.

Bag businessHaruka TL-18QVP with Throat Plate for Thick Fabric and Invisible Zipper Foot

If you’re a lover of bags and find yourself creating them, you know how important it is to have the right machine to handle those thick sewing pieces and materials! One of the top recommendations for bag creation, and even apparel, is the Haruka TL-18QVP, our high-performance sewing machine. Known for its durability, power, and industrial-like strength, the TL-18QVP is the perfect machine for bag creators, quilters, and apparel creators alike.

Using the same technology found in our industrial machines, this workhorse offers a 6” high by 8.5” wide workspace and includes an extension table covering 23” in length. Its industrial box feeding system is the selling point for bag makers, creating stitching that is strong enough to go through thick materials, and still creates beautiful stitches. This machine also includes button options for the needle up/down and slow-motion stitch, these features are perfect when bag creating as they allow you to move the needle up slightly, and get those tight corners.

These machines also come equipped with a Micro lifter floating function. This addition to the TL sits on the right side of the top of the machine and it’s perfect for handling thick fabrics. Floating 0 to 2 mm above the material, it can easily handle thick seams. This feature also prevents uneven sewing on velvet, and handling stretched stitches on knit fabrics. Ideal for bag makers, you can now comfortably go over layers of vinyl, denim fabrics, or faux leather.

Lastly, the accessories available for this machine offer you a versatile selection of projects you can create. From zipper attachments to buttonhole creation, the accessories available make sure you can create a bag from the first stitch to the last on one machine.

Fashion businessSayaka DX-3000QVP with Invisible Zipper Foot and Button Attaching Presser Foot

Creating fashion has never been more fun! In a world where trends are constantly evolving and growing, creating apparel is a business that many can come to love with the right machine by their side. Our recommended machine for apparel is the Sayaka DX-3000QVP. With its wide workspace area (12” throat space), digital tension, JUKI Smart Feed, and an interchangeable single needle system, this machine offer quality stitching for your garments.

The DX-3000QVP also offers the zig-zag stitch, allowing you to create beautiful seams, attach appliques, decorative stitching and so much more, bringing your pieces to life with texture. It also comes equipped with 351 stitch patterns, allowing you to decorate your fashion pieces, and freshen up old ones you love. Using the 20 professional buttonholes available you can also add button closers for blouses, button-downs, coats, and more.

Using its intuitive touch panel and bold technology, the DX offers apparel creators a vast array of options when it comes to producing their work. The DX also offers multiple feet accessories that apparel creators shouldn’t live without! Using the right foot, like our Invisible Zipper Foot and Button Attaching Presser Foot, is one of the reasons creators enjoy using the DX-3000QVP. Accessories like these offer sewist easy solutions for what’s usually a tedious task. Simplifying the work you need to do, this machine makes running a clothing business fun and exciting!

Starting Your Business

Once you have an idea of what machine you need to begin your business, it’s time to start creating! Whether you choose to create apparel, quilts, or something different like dog collars and raincoats, having the right machine will always make your work easier.

Are you ready to start your business? Learn more about how JUKI can help you here!

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Setting Up Your Logistics

You’ve finally started your small business and have a product ready to be sold, your website should be up and running, your budget and finances should be in order, and you have those customers prepared to buy. Now that you have a start-up, let’s discuss getting your product to the customer!

Logistics is how you move materials, components, and products between your suppliers, storage locations, and customers. There are three things you should keep in mind as a seller: speed of delivery, stock of a product, and logistics cost. So let’s dive into your business and review how you create your products and how you’re getting them to the customer.

Lead Times and You

When your business begins to grow in sales, you might be reconstructing your process on where you buy supplies. Buying supplies at your local craft store for a business can be pricey, and when your sales reach a larger scale, it’s not cost-effective anymore.

When you begin to set up your logistics, consider critical lead times. For example, how long will it take for a customer to review your product, how long will it take to process an order and ship it, and how long will it take for you to receive the supplies you need for your product? Asking yourself these questions can help you plan for the cost and speed of your orders and shipments.

Knowing the lead time on the processes in your business will allow you to have smoother communication and expectation within your business and with the customer.

Shipping Carriers

When it comes to your process, shipping time to your customers should be a priority, especially in today’s society we’re shipping the same day, and overnight has become the norm. Because of this, shipping companies will work with small businesses by assisting them in maintaining good relationships with their customers and offering reasonable rates. You can also inquire about assistance provided for small businesses like logistical assistance and managing inventory. Here are the top 5 shipping companies we recommend for small businesses.

  1. United States Postal Service
  2. Sendle
  3. UPS
  4. DHL
  5. FEDEX

United States Postal Service

Ships goods both domestically and internationally, offers discounts and loyalty credits to small businesses, and delivers goods within 2–8 days on average. In addition, it provides free application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow small businesses to add shipping tools to their websites easily.

USPS shipping costs vary based on package size, delivery location, and delivery speed.

TIP: Deliveries on Sundays and holidays typically come with an added cost.

Sendle

An Australia-based small business shipping company, Sendle is best for small packages because it guarantees the best price for domestic packages up to 20 pounds. Shipping is 100% carbon neutral, and there are no subscriptions or contracts involved. They are well known for beating the price charged by major carriers for packages under 20 pounds.

TIP: packages cannot pass 20 pounds, and international shipping is unavailable.

UPS

If you ship large products, UPS will be the best option for you. They offer competitive rates (large flat rate boxes start at $18.40) and have resources for small companies that can assist in preparing your packages and information on palletizing your products if needed. They also offer same-day delivery in some cases.

Small businesses can get discounted pricing from UPS, with shipping incentives ranging from 20% to 50%, depending on the desired shipping speed and the small business’s average weekly shipping volume.

TIP: Some APIs, application programming interfaces, can’t be used on customer-facing websites.

DHL

If your business has taken you overseas, DHL Express is the best for those international shipments. They have a long-lasting history in international shipping and offer resources for small businesses that engage in global trading.

Costs vary widely based on your package’s size, whether it’s an import or export, the shipping speed, surcharges, and any optional services you choose.

TIP: DHL is known for many surcharges and optional service fees, so keep a close eye on your shipping agreement to avoid cost surprises.

FEDEX

FedEx is known for everyday shipping, even weekends, which means your product is delivered faster. FedEx can assist in shipments domestically and internationally and has a shorter lead time than others. Shipments in the US are usually 1-5 days and 3-7 for Alaska and Hawaii.

Small businesses can also benefit from their small business program, offering discounts on shipping, printing, money management tools, and more. They also provide a yearly contest where small businesses can win funds.

CON: Small package shipping costs are higher than USPS. However, they can arrive faster.

Packaging

When it’s time to package, we know how important it is that your product arrives to the customer safe and on time. The first step to completing that goal is ensuring you have the suitable packaging material for your product. One of the things to keep in mind before buying your material is knowing that purchasing in bulk will save you money down the line and is worth the investment. So follow along as we share the top things you’ll need for your packaging process.

Boxes and Mailers

Begin with deciding how you’re going to ship your product to the customer. The most popular options are boxes and mailers.

Cardboard boxes can offer the best protection for many products. Whether your product is a perfect square or an odd-shaped size, a cardboard box with the correct dimensions is an excellent choice for shipping purposes. You can choose to personalize these boxes and find them in different styles, colors, and sizes. These can be bulked orders or found at your local shipping store.

Mailers are great for small or flat products and less prone to damage. You can personalize these to your company’s brand, like cardboard boxes, coming in various colors, styles, and sizes. You can also choose to purchase mailers that come with a form of protection, whether this is internal cushioning or outer material that can handle bad weather.

Depending on your products, you can choose to keep an assortment of shipping materials available to use. However, keep in mind your product when purchasing shipping material to not waste funds on unnecessary boxes or mailers.

Cushioning and Filler

Keep your items safe and secure by purchasing cushioning and filler material. When shipping, these are crucial key material pieces as you want the product to arrive to the customer exactly how it left you.

Cushioning material is used for fragile items like glass, porcelain, or ceramic. Think of bubble wrap, foam peanuts, paper as options to keep the product from shattering or breaking in its packaging.

Void Filler can be used for any product. With material options like craft paper, air pillows, shredded paper, and others, these pieces of material will keep the item from moving around or crashing into each other if you’re sending more than one product at a time.

Keep these materials on hand at all times, as you wouldn’t want to ship products out without some filler to avoid broken or chipped products on arrival.

Labeling and Tape

Once your package is well prepared and safe to be closed up, you’ll need to seal and address it before shipping. Using quality tape and labels is the best way to confirm your product arrives to the correct customer on time and safely.

You can even create personalized packaging tape to stand out from competitors since packaging tape comes in various colors and sizes. Having suitable tape will save your product from accidents in the shipment process. You can also choose to invest in a tape dispenser if your company sees a pickup in shipments, which can help the processing speed.

Labels are also created in different sizes and styles. Used mainly for addressing the customer, make sure to use good labels to ensure it won’t fall off in transport. Labels can also include your company logo, specialty stickers like “handle with care” and more. Keep in mind that you can personally create these labels and style them to fit your product and small business.

Get Ready to Ship!

Now that you have the basic information for shipping and handling logistics for your small business think of ways to make yourself stand out. Packaging and shipping don’t need to be boring and can be another way your company stands out from competitors!

Look into eco-friendly merchandise for shipping and packaging. Include thank you letters, promos, or small freebies to induce excitement and customer loyalty. Create an unboxing experience for customers by creating a process that showcases your brand when opening a package from you, like wrapped apparel in tissue paper with a sticker to open the merchandise.

Your package is a window into your business for customers, so make sure to focus on your packaging like you would your product!

How to Start Your Clothing Brand

In a generation where fashion has no limits, fashion brands and designs have continued to change, evolve and return over the past decade. Whether it’s fast fashion, one of a kind, or small shop drops, there is no limit to the options available for your closet. Even in this era of fashion where we can choose styles from all over the world, there is always room for new fashion and trends to grow, and that’s where you come in! If you’ve been dreaming of starting your clothing brand and apparel shop, follow along as we go over ways you can start planning your new business today. From figuring out your market to budgeting, we go over the things you should know before jumping into this journey.

Start With a Plan

Before beginning any business, it’s best to start with a plan. The fashion industry is more than the pieces being sold, but understanding its steps to sell those pieces. There are multiple options for creating apparel: Direct-To-Garment based apparel, Embroidery apparel, Ready-Made Apparel, Custom Apparel, and so much more. The world of fashion is not one skill set or technique but is filled with endless options on how to create.

Once you have an idea of the products you plan to create, you can build your business plan. Your business plan should include ideas for your brand and products, budgeting and sale goals, marketing ideas, and more. The more details and work put into your plan, the better chance you’ll have when it comes to the time to open your shop and sales.

If you’re looking for more information on how to create a budget plan and calculate profit visit our post here to begin creating your own today.

Who’s Your Market?

Let’s begin by thinking of who will wear your fashion pieces! By identifying your target audience and what they’re looking for when they want to shop apparel, you’ll be able to locate your niche and find your customer base. The better you understand your audience base, the better you’ll be at marketing your products to them.

The top two things to keep in mind when studying your audience is:

Demographics: age, gender, income, marital status, geographic location, etc.

When you understand your audience’s demographics, you’ll have a higher chance of completing a sale. For example, if you market your product to women in their early twenties, you’ll have a higher chance of gaining a sale on Instagram and Tiktok than marketing on Facebook. Likewise, by knowing your audience, you can find the correct places to push your products and not spend energy on a site that focuses on an older audience like Facebook, whose average users are in their mid-40s and higher.

Psychographics: hobbies, interests, lifestyle traits, and what problems do they have in life that your product can solve.

Knowing the psychographics of your audience is where you’ll be able to create the right products. Here is where you can learn what fabric to use (is your audience athletic and need breathable material?), what interests they have (can you design graphic tees for fan bases?), and more. With every detail you learn about your audience, you’ll be able to create products that are better suited for their wants and create a solid returning customer base.

Once you better understand your niche audience, you can begin creating a solid marketing plan. If you’re having trouble making your marketing plan, follow along here as we show you step by step how to begin yours today.

Focus On Your Brand

Now that we know what you’re going to sell and who you’re going to sell to let’s start talking about building your brand. Branding goes past your business name and logo and dives into what your values are, what your mission is, and more.

Create brand guidelines and a storyline for your products that customers resonate with and want to follow. Focusing on platforms like your website, social media pages, email marketing program, and more will build that relationship between buyers and your shop. The best way to bring your brand to life in today’s age is through marketing on social media!

The key to building your brand is being consistent in your message, constantly posting and promoting your brand and products, and making sure what you put out into the world defines your brand correctly. If you’re unsure what to post, look into examples like behind-the-scenes videos, how-to’s, fashion inspo using your pieces, and more for ideas. Have fun and be creative when it’s time to get your brand out there!

Let’s Start Development

Now that we have an idea for your brand let’s begin designing and developing your clothing line.

  1. Keep your Sketchbook on You

Any artist will tell you that inspiration hits anywhere and any time. So be prepared for when you want to design a new piece by keeping a sketchpad on you or using your phone as a digital sketchbook with apps like ProCreate, Adobe Designs, and Adobe Illustrator.

2. Create Samples

Start creating sample pieces of what you want to make for your shop. Whether you’ll be doing buy-to-make or pre-made pieces, having sample work is perfect for modeling on social media and understanding material costs for re-production.

3. Have Your Beginning Set

When you first open up shop, it’s best to not overwhelm yourself with product varieties. Instead, find your top 3-5 products you want to create and go from there as you begin building your audience base and receiving orders. Once you create more demand for your brand, you can start testing out new designs and growing your product options.

Now that we’re in the development phase make sure you have your station ready! Start by deciding what fabrics you’ll be using in your apparel shop, what style you’ll create, and what machinery and notions you’ll need to get there.

For example, if you want to open an apparel shop that focuses on couture dress-making, you would look into a machine like the MO-654DE that offers built-in rolled hemming and the HZL-DX7 which offers presser feet options like the button attaching presser foot, invisible zipper foot and more. Your fabric choices could be options like silk, tulle, satin, and more. 

By knowing what you plan to create, you’ll be able to have the right machinery, accessories, and notions on hand when it’s time to begin producing.

Start Setting Up Shop

Whether you’re setting up shop online or in person, having an online face is a great way to promote your business and gain new customers. Online shops allow you to reach new audiences! Below are some things to keep in mind when setting up shop.

Clothing Images: Take photos of your clothing that truly presents its colors, fabric textures, and closures. These photos don’t need to be professional if you’re working on a small budget; just have a simple lighting kit, a good camera and learn some tricks on taking professional fashion DIY shots.

Pricing, Shipping, and Handling: Make sure to have a plan in place for how you’ll be pricing your products. From shipping to taxes, you’ll need to make sure you price your products correctly to pay for your bills, time, workspace, etc. Learn your target audience’s price point and what they’re willing to pay for your product. Then, keep an eye on competitor pricing to confirm you’re in the suitable price range.

Website Design: Don’t forget to add your brand’s personality to your site! Set up your Social media, include graphics of your work, add an ‘About Me page, use your brand theme colors, bring in customers and build relationships.

Put Your Marketing Plan into Action

You’re now ready to begin implementing if you’ve created your marketing plan from our earlier steps! Start by setting up your shops’ profiles and deciding how you’ll be advertising. Organic advertising, meaning you do not pay and use search engine optimization like hashtags and tags, is a perfect way to start when you’re on a low budget. If you’re marketing budget includes spending for advertisements, begin setting up your ads by using the information you have on your niche. Focus on your top media sites for higher chances of receiving a sale.

Don’t forget the power of word of mouth, and research your options in ambassador marketing. By offering free items, or negotiating payments, you can bring in influencers from your target audience and work with them to promote your brands and products.

Let’s Launch!

Launching your first clothing brand doesn’t happen quickly or easily. It will take time and dedication, but you’ll create your brand soon with the proper steps! After that, you can begin selling in numerous ways, from your social media accounts to in-person artisan markets and pop-up shops. Then, finally, it’s time to get your product out there.

Now that you have an idea of where to start when it comes to opening your apparel shop and starting your brand, we hope to see your brands’ names soon! What kind of apparel would you create if you were to open your apparel shop?