Wednesday, October 10, 2007

the right stuff

so in the beginning of my small business i went back to my first love which is crafting and particularly sewing. in a way its like going back to my roots since my father was a tailor and his mother before him was a dress maker. even 3 of my father's sibling were also in the trade, 2 aunts being seamstresses / dressmakers and an uncle was a tailor and is now working for a really famous sports clothing brand. anyway, i selected several projects that interested me and i got started crafting.

along the way i discovered that i needed supplies for branding and packaging my little projects but there was hardly anything close that was out there in the online market close to what i had in mind. at first i made do with what i can get my hands on by buying odds and ends from different online sellers. then i thought i see this gap in the market and i am sure i am not the only crafter looking for certain supplies. so after a year and a half of sewing and crafting, i went back to research and started compiling promising leads for suitable supplies. not long after i made a small order from several suppliers and i started developing products that fit the homespun look. i also slowly added stationery and lifestyle items to my inventory and in about a year i have come from research stage to concept to selling online.

i decided to sell on Ebay for starters as its the easiest platform to sell in. you can start selling privately and register as a business once you get busier. however, there is a lot of competition on Ebay and sometimes some customers can be difficult and unfortunately buyers always have the upper hand. but if your customer service level is above average to excellent then this shouldn't be a problem. i get to test run products and see how the market responds before i go all out and stock in bulk. some items i stock and develop take off just like that, but then some competitors come in and copy what we sell so then the profit margins go down. so to keep the business fresh and turning, i always leave time to research new products to sell. the trick is to get new items before anyone else and get a foot hold before the market gets saturated with everyone else getting on the bandwagon and when that happens, if you have a wide range of products, you wont feel the loss much should you decide to discontinue a product line. it also doesn't hurt to attend trade fairs at least once or twice a year to see how the market is trending and to just pick up ideas and contacts. sometimes its takes a while to find the right stuff, but once you do grab and run with it.

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