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Starting an Onlne Clothing Store

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have any experience in starting up an online clothing store? Similar to thecorner or farfetch......

 

Is it possible to do fairly well with one?

post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 

Anyone?

post #3 of 29
Question is can you make the right buys each season?
post #4 of 29
You can do well with any online store, but you need to go into this well capitalized, and with a good plan.

Whats your plan? what are you selling? both men's and women's? are you selling well known designers, or small designers/independent designers? Price point? What kind of clothes are you selling? What's your target audience?

You'll probably get a lot more feedback if you create a good business plan then pitch it to the people on the forum for feedback
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

I have plenty of money to start it up.

 

I would sell exclusively men's clothing.... more of the "streetwear" style. Brands like Raf Simmons, Geller, APC, Kolor, etc..... My target audience would be late teens to early 30's.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CYstyle View Post

You can do well with any online store, but you need to go into this well capitalized, and with a good plan.
Whats your plan? what are you selling? both men's and women's? are you selling well known designers, or small designers/independent designers? Price point? What kind of clothes are you selling? What's your target audience?
You'll probably get a lot more feedback if you create a good business plan then pitch it to the people on the forum for feedback


 

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xhale12 View Post

I have plenty of money to start it up.

I would sell exclusively men's clothing.... more of the "streetwear" style. Brands like Raf Simmons, Geller, APC, Kolor, etc..... My target audience would be late teens to early 30's.


say goodbye to all of that money.
post #7 of 29

All I can say is, it is a lot of work and it takes a lot of time. Only reason I know, seeing the company I work for we finally launched the website on Friday, after two months of delays. 

 

A great business plan is a good start that is for sure, there is a chance you might not get the money, depending if you are going for a grant or actually for a loan.

 

As for your target market, young adults can work. Plus with an online store, you get a global audience. Yet it will feel that you are running an actual boutique of the sort. Seeing you will have people come visit the site and leave, similar to retail. Thing is, what will your price point be, will you be able to sell Robert Geller for a better price than your competition?

All the best,
ettebe

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ettebe View Post

Thing is, what will your price point be, will you be able to sell Robert Geller for a better price than your competition?


All the best,

ettebe

That's not really looked upon well in the boutique business. You will draw the ire of other people in the same position as you by doing that, and worse, you will get dropped as a sales point. I know that if I had sales points doing price wars on my product, I'd drop everybody who undersells - that is bad business and bad manners.

OP, punch some hypothetical but realistic numbers and see what you come up with, that is the start of any successful venture. There is a definite line between viability and destined for failure. Yes, you'd get yourself a bunch of nice clothes, it's like an alcoholic starting a bar of their dreams - but think about it from all sides. Also, if you're making buys, you're not gonna get a bunch of hot accounts straight off the bat, and you're gonna have to buy into a lot of non-sellers to be able to carry any given brand's cash cows, i.e. white Achilles lows, or strictly MMM 5-zips, white GATs, and sidezips - you can't just start a store and stock it with only SF's dream wardrobe du jour, a la carte from the wholesale sheets, doesn't work like that.

The playing field is full of capable players who'd take it to net for all 90 minutes if it worked that way, but in reality they're running the whole time but get very limited time with the ball.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ettebe View Post

Thing is, what will your price point be, will you be able to sell Robert Geller for a better price than your competition?


All the best,

ettebe

That's not really looked upon well in the boutique business. You will draw the ire of other people in the same position as you by doing that, and worse, you will get dropped as a sales point. I know that if I had sales points doing price wars on my product, I'd drop everybody who undersells - that is bad business and bad manners.


The only reason I say that, seeing one store that carries RG in Montreal, when they put stuff on sale it is marked down by 60%. They are almost selling it for what they bought it for wholesale. I do understand what you are getting at though, thing is if I remembered from one of my marketing classes many years ago. They pretty much taught us, do what you have to do, to steal your competitions customers away and have them buy what you are selling.

 

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ettebe View Post

I remembered from one of my marketing classes many years ago. They pretty much taught us, do what you have to do, to steal your competitions customers away and have them buy what you are selling.

That's not really a smart or sustainable business ethic - when dealing products like designer clothes you survive by differentiating yourself, not by playing the Wal-Mart game - and college marketing and the textbooks aren't going to get you very far or high in the game of selling clothes either. They are largely ignorant of the selling 'cool' as a commodity.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xhale12 View Post

I have plenty of money to start it up.

 

I would sell exclusively men's clothing.... more of the "streetwear" style. Brands like Raf Simmons, Geller, APC, Kolor, etc..... My target audience would be late teens to early 30's.
 



 


If you have the money, and are determined then:

Chose a domain name. Quite difficult as scum have registered all the good ones and are camping on them to sell to people for like 10k. assholes.

Then get hosting for the said domain.

Design the website, or hire someone

You'll need to setup a shopping cart as well, and you'll need a credit card processor. You'll also need to incorporate your business then setup a business account at your favorite bank.

Then negotiate with the brands on inventory. as impolyt_one mentioned you won't be able to cherry pick the products that you want and ditch the rest from large designers. Plus they have requirements on how much you have to buy, and give better rates for higher volume. Large retailers will get exclusive rights to the good stuff, and then you'll get whatever's left over. Some designers may require you to have a brick and mortar store. They'll have a MAP on their products, and they enforce it. If you sell below the price they'll drop you as a distributor, or you'll have to pay heavy fines and start following the rules.

You'll need a warehouse to store inventory, or you can clear space in your house. You'll need to setup a shipping area, get boxes of all sizes, padded envelopes, a ton of packing tape, tissue paper, etc.

You'll need money to advertise your site, and figure out how to bring traffic and potential customers in.

you'll need a good camera and camera skills, and a studio setup for pictures. You may need models or mannequins as well.

Will you ship international what are the rates etc? free shipping or not? What is your returns policy?

Then you'll have to field through customer inquiries: people will ask about how things, fit, measurements etc.

You'll also need to watch out for scammers and fraud. This could amount to a lot in losses.
Say If someone buys a ton of stuff, do you ship products or no? What if they want overnight or 2nd day shipping? red flags come up saying it may be fraud but at the same time it could be a legit customer who'll be angry for being accused of fraud. What if the billing info matches the credit card, but they want it shipped to a different address? payment processors like paypal won't be able to tell you shit, cause of privacy laws. They also side with the buyer anyhow.

Besides just fraud there's also the shippers. They will lose things, or damage them and you may need to require shipping insurance on packages, which adds more costs.

Then there's a bunch of other stuff to worry about. There is def money to be made BUT also there's A LOT of work. it's not easy starting any new business.
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the help guys. I appreciate it. This is definitely something I am serious about doing, and am going to start working on a buisness model.

post #13 of 29
You should sit down, think about all of the boutiques with online representation out there now, plus some of the stores with brick and mortars and weak online presence, and make laundry lists and profiles about each store and what you can infer from their model, how they sell, what they sell, how they differentiate their model, how they allot resources, maybe make up some hypothetical numbers and see who makes what - once you do that, you will start seeing some patterns, and some flavors as well. Making a store is like growing a garden.

Here on SF, there are many e-tailers, some are wildly successful, some aren't, and many are just surviving somewhere in the middle. There are some genius ideas, there are some stodgy ideas that aren't gonna sell any more clothes now than they did when the basic e-tail model was made 10 years ago (and even less now, considering this economy) and then on the far end there are some really poor marketing ideas that will lead to the demise of the store. And, as I've said, college marketing 101 is not going to teach you how to sell designer clothes - textbook learning is largely useless for selling esoteric goods with strong, yet highly individualized emotional value - each piece on those racks should essentially be one of a kind to the customer, so you're talking about marketing product at this insanely microscopic level each time.
I've read a bunch of books on clothing stores and small retailing, and they were all crap and not relevant to the world we live in now, and especially not the microcosm we're in here on styleforum. Read them for some sort of insight on basic number worksheets, but don't expect to learn a single thing else.

It looks like ettebe is more in my camp, as a producer of clothing, and not on the side of having a curated clothing store of mixed brands and looks.

I'd say, without having made a business model yet, and hearing what you've said so far, I'm picturing you in the middle or lower end of those spectrums...
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

 

Where can I find out wholesale prices of the clothes I would be interested in selling? Is this possible?
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post

You should sit down, think about all of the boutiques with online representation out there now, plus some of the stores with brick and mortars and weak online presence, and make laundry lists and profiles about each store and what you can infer from their model, how they sell, what they sell, how they differentiate their model, how they allot resources, maybe make up some hypothetical numbers and see who makes what - once you do that, you will start seeing some patterns, and some flavors as well. Making a store is like growing a garden.
Here on SF, there are many e-tailers, some are wildly successful, some aren't, and many are just surviving somewhere in the middle. There are some genius ideas, there are some stodgy ideas that aren't gonna sell any more clothes now than they did when the basic e-tail model was made 10 years ago (and even less now, considering this economy) and then on the far end there are some really poor marketing ideas that will lead to the demise of the store. And, as I've said, college marketing 101 is not going to teach you how to sell designer clothes - textbook learning is largely useless for selling esoteric goods with strong, yet highly individualized emotional value - each piece on those racks should essentially be one of a kind to the customer, so you're talking about marketing product at this insanely microscopic level each time.
I've read a bunch of books on clothing stores and small retailing, and they were all crap and not relevant to the world we live in now, and especially not the microcosm we're in here on styleforum. Read them for some sort of insight on basic number worksheets, but don't expect to learn a single thing else.
It looks like ettebe is more in my camp, as a producer of clothing, and not on the side of having a curated clothing store of mixed brands and looks.
I'd say, without having made a business model yet, and hearing what you've said so far, I'm picturing you in the middle or lower end of those spectrums...


 

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xhale12 View Post


Where can I find out wholesale prices of the clothes I would be interested in selling? Is this possible?
 
 



all you need to do is look at stores, find a median full-retail price on the pieces, relevant to your currency - the wholesale prices are about a third of the RRP.
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