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Thread: Looking for Advice

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ccorazone's Avatar
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    Looking for Advice

    My daughter is thinking seriosuly about starting an On-Line store. She has always had a dream of having a shop for crafts such as quilting, knitting, crochet, etc. Right now she has a full time job, but like to start small and go from there. If you have any advice, input, or information on how to get started, besides just "jumping in head first", please pass it on. Right now, nothing is unreasonable.

    "Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned"
    Peter Marshall

    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that
    take our breath away". - Hilary Cooper
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/2HartsCreations?ref=si_shop

  2. #2
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    She might want to test the waters using a site like etsy where she can set up a "shop" without investing in her own web site that she has to built or have built for $$$. Etsy gets lots of visitors who go there to shop on line so hopefully customers will find her.
    Wendy

  3. #3
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    I also would suggest Etsy and there are plenty of other sites as well. Zibbet, bluejay and yardsellr to name just a few. I get more sales on Etsy but also list on Zibbet and bluejay because they are free to list so I don't lose anything. There are also some facebook pages for crafters. Starting small without investing a lot of money might be better for her. She could learn a lot from the communities on these sites that would help her a great deal. Etsy has newsletters for their sellers that have loads of great ideas.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Etsy has lots to offer, BUT that being said the prices vary widly. For example, there is a king size Bargello listed for $179. You can barely buy fabric for that amount. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I have had NO luck on Etsy..it seems that you need to keep spending without results to get anywhere...I am going to try Craigslist and a few craft shows

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I think it helps to have a lot of technical expertise yourself on how to set up a website. Having a good website is a huge piece of setting up a successful online business. A lot of people pay to have this done but a lot of those websites are not very good.

    Maybe your daughter could start with eBay? There is a way to set up your own store on eBay. Seems to me that would be a reasonable transition to setting up an independent website. Not sure what the costs involved are, though. That would be part of the research necessary to develop a business plan.

  7. #7
    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
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    HP.com has free classes on how to build your own web site if she is interested.
    RedGarnet222

    "Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern ... It will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that ...one stitch at a time, taken patiently."
    *Oliver Wendell Holms

  8. #8
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I would suggest Etsy over Ebay, I sell on both. On etsy, you have to be active in order to get your items found. Join teams, join circles, favorite other people's items, etc. Ebay does not have any way to drive traffic to your listings.

    Most importantly, tell her not to quit her full time job!! Good luck!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Is she wanting to sell crafting supplies or finished items?

  10. #10
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    Yes, please start with Etsy or Ebay.

    She needs to formulate her business plan and get a good idea of what her startup costs would be if she wants an independent site: What will be her hosting costs? Can she build and maintain her own site or will she have to hire someone to help her? How is she going to attract people to her site (ad $$ and search optimization)? Is she going to sell her own stuff or sell for others? How will she maintain inventory? et. etc. etc.

    Do not quit your job. Running a business, whether on line or real, is a lot of work and expense.

  11. #11
    Power Poster
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    If it's hand made items than start on etsy or similar site. If she is wanting to start a craft supply business, does she want a storefront or a warehouse she ships from? Need more info.

  12. #12
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    Tell her she will need at least 2 yrs of money available to live on while getting going. That is the least it takes.

  13. #13
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    Look for some marketing classes (often free); some Chambers of Commerce have info on these. Also check the community college or the small business assoc.

  14. #14
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Beyond the website.....which I am going to assume she has thought about a lot.....I urge her to quickly get in contact with http://www.fabshopnet.com/ which is a trade association for fabric shop owners. (More than what most of us know as FabShopHop) Laurie Harsh is a wonder; she began this business in the late 1990s and has saved, encouraged, taught, trained, and demanded the best from many owners who are still going strong. It may be the best, fastest help your daughter can get.

    Good luck to her! There's nothing like following your passion and having it come to profitable fruition!

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

  15. #15
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    The best advice I ever heard and read was from Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks: "Never follow your dreams. Follow your effort."

  16. #16
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Speaking from experience... setting up a *serious* store online is way harder, and much more expensive, than one might think.

    If she doesn't have a lot of time on her hands, she might want to think twice about it. Beyond the initial time spent setting things up, you have to continually maintain it. When I first began selling online, I was very dismayed to find that I was spending at least 5 hours a week just answering e-mails, most of which did NOT result in any sales.

    Has she thought it all through, and "crunched the numbers"? If she sets up her own website, there is an ongoing cost to host the site, plus she will have to buy an e-commerce solution (shopping cart) and if she is not tech-savvy she will have to pay someone to set it up for her. Does she realize that she will lose 3.5% - 4% off the top of all sales, to credit card or PayPal fees? Has she figured out what it will cost her to ship her goods? Does she realize that if a package gets lost enroute, she will have to replace it at her own expense?

    Does she know that even if she builds a WONDERFUL website, it's very hard to get found on the crowded web? The very nature of search has changed a lot over the past year. If you do a search at Google now (for a product), 60% of the screen space is devoted to paid ads, both at the top and the right hand side. Is she ready and willing to "pay to play", to get listed among those ads? Can she compete with the advertisers with deeper pockets? Can she get her site found at all, if she doesn't pay to play?

    Etsy and E-Bay might be expensive, but some of those fees they charge go toward ads that will appear on Google and other search engines. Just some things to keep in mind...

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