How to Set Up an Online Fashion Store*

Have you ever put together an outfit using clothes and accessories from different shops and brands, and wished you could buy it all from the same place? If only there were somewhere that only sold things you like. And maybe you're thinking about starting a business too, but you're not sure where to start. What about combining your two wishes, and starting up your own fashion store? You don't need to be able to make clothes, a shop to sell from or lots of contacts in the fashion world. You can start using just a website and a bit of space to store your stock. In fact, by using a drop-shipper you can even remove the storage problem. Follow these steps to get started and set up a clothing boutique*.

Choose a Market
Before you make any further moves, you should decide who your market is. Will you start selling to teenagers, to expectant mothers or to over-50s? Maybe you're targeting people your own age or even a particular style, like vintage or club clothing. You need to work out who your market will be first so you can start to develop your brand and look for stock to sell. You'll take a different approach depending on who you're selling to, so don't come at any audience from the same angle.

Sourcing Stock
Once you know what sort of thing you want to sell and who you're going to sell it to, you need a supplier for you stock. You might decide to source from several places to make sure that you only sell things you like. There are lots of ways you could stock your shop. You might find a wholesale supplier if you're looking for a way to buy the cheapest purses online, as well as other clothing and accessory items. If you do that, you need somewhere to store everything, whether it's your garage or a self-storage container. You could also use a drop-shipper, who will fulfill your orders for you. Another option is contacting local designers and asking to sell some of their unique items. Or perhaps you can look for interesting second-hand items in thrift stores.

Set Up Your Online Store
You'll need to set up a website with an online store, or perhaps create a store on eBay or another selling site. When you create your site, remember to think about your brand and how you appear to the public. Some important things to think about when you set it up are having excellent photos and product descriptions, as well as a secure payment process.

Advertise Your Site
When the site's set up, it's time to spread the word. There are lots of ways to advertise your online store, including Google Ads, Facebook and websites relevant to your audience's interests. You could also visit message boards and use social media pages to get people talking about your brand.

When you're creating your business, don't forget about all the legal stuff. It's important to make sure you register your company, get the correct structure and pay the right taxes.

What do you think? Have you got what it takes to be a budding entrepreneur?

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