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  • #986936
    Bubbles23
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    • Total posts: 21
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    Hi there,

    Myself and a friend want to start an online baby boutique store but I have no idea to start. We want to be distributors for brands we like, but we also would like to purchase wholesale goods from overseas.

    The end goal is to have a store, but we need to work our way up to that as it isn’t a viable option at the moment.

    We want to launch a website, facebook page etc, but we also want to do parties at people’s homes to showcase our products. We think there would be a big market for this at baby shower’s, mothers groups etc. This is where I can see us making most of our money as this is our point of difference.

    We have never had any experience with running a business or where to start.

    Does anyone have any advice on where to start?

    Do we start with a business plan and then decide on how much money we are willing to invest. Or do we decide how much we want to invest first up and then see what is possible with the funds we have?

    Thanks all :)

    #1160263
    SocialMediaWorks.co
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    • Total posts: 20
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    Bubbles23, post: 184953 wrote:
    Hi there,

    Myself and a friend want to start an online baby boutique store but I have no idea to start. We want to be distributors for brands we like, but we also would like to purchase wholesale goods from overseas.

    The end goal is to have a store, but we need to work our way up to that as it isn’t a viable option at the moment.

    We want to launch a website, facebook page etc, but we also want to do parties at people’s homes to showcase our products. We think there would be a big market for this at baby shower’s, mothers groups etc. This is where I can see us making most of our money as this is our point of difference.

    We have never had any experience with running a business or where to start.

    Does anyone have any advice on where to start?

    Do we start with a business plan and then decide on how much money we are willing to invest. Or do we decide how much we want to invest first up and then see what is possible with the funds we have?

    Thanks all :)

    Hi Ladies,
    Its a great idea. Now how much research have you done? This is a very competitive market especially online but also in the promotional party zone.

    You need to compile this comprehensive research and all of your ideas into a business plan outline. (A concise version of a business plan.)

    If you’d like some idea of where to start look online via Google.

    Also Sticky Marketing has a great form which asks important questions that you need to answer, as part of its client request form. Take a look there. Sticky Marketing can also build an ecommerce site when you are ready and can assist with this business concept development phase.

    This is an important stage and you need to get all of your questions answered before you start building a website.

    I wish you the very best in this exciting development phase and hope I can be of assistance when you need social media managed or some training so you both can do it brilliantly yourselves.

    #1160264
    Bubbles23
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    • Total posts: 21
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    SocialMediaWorks.co, post: 184954 wrote:
    Hi Ladies,
    Its a great idea. Now how much research have you done? This is a very competitive market especially online but also in the promotional party zone.

    You need to compile this comprehensive research and all of your ideas into a business plan outline. (A concise version of a business plan.)

    If you’d like some idea of where to start look online via Google.

    Also Sticky Marketing has a great form which asks important questions that you need to answer, as part of its client request form. Take a look there. Sticky Marketing can also build an ecommerce site when you are ready and can assist with this business concept development phase.

    This is an important stage and you need to get all of your questions answered before you start building a website.

    I wish you the very best in this exciting development phase and hope I can be of assistance when you need social media managed or some training so you both can do it brilliantly yourselves.

    Thank you for your reply.

    We’ve downloaded a business plan template to start creating it and we’re doing our research now, which by the sounds of it we may have to do a bit more thoroughly than anticipated.

    We know there really isn’t any competition in our town for boutique type items, but there is a pram warehouse. Nor are there any promotional parties so we are hoping to be the first. We want our point of difference to be that people can actually see the products before purchasing them online, hence why I think the parties will be our focus. We won’t be aiming to get most of our revenue out of the website. Our town isn’t huge so word of mouth will definitely play a huge part as long as we supply a quality product and excellent service.

    We both have marketing experience, so our marketing plan and executing it won’t be a problem.

    #1160265
    Anonymous
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    Hi Bubbles23,

    Great to see you doing lots of research and planning before you kick off :)

    This post contains links to some threads that might be helpful for you: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/starting-business/14182-starting-business-please-read-before-posting.html

    Good luck – we will follow your adventures with interest :)
    Jayne

    #1160266
    MissSassy
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    There is no quick answer to this question and it is wonderful that you both have marketing experience as this is often the hardest part.

    Perhaps do a short course or workbook – Enjoy the info on flying Solo as there is plenty and do plenty of research.

    Ask lots of questions, get a business adviser if you can, also get advice about going into a partnership as they are notoriously difficult. Partnerships are rarely successful and there is a lot you need to get in place first, just like the business plan you also need a partnership plan.

    #1160267
    Tony Manto
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    Hi girls, you are defiantly on the right track. You business plan template will help you a lot. It will prompt you to answer questions you have never thought of. Some business plan templates don’t have enough question on lead generation, so make sure you have a good lead generation system in place. Set yourself a healthy budget for marketing as you will need it. Don’t forget to add a contingency budget of 10% to 20% of your overall expenses. You may not need it but its good to allow for it. If I was to give you one single piece of advice, it would say take it one step at a time, start slow, test and measure everything and don’t expect it to happen over night.

    Good luck…

    #1160268
    BiNiGlobal
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    • Total posts: 16
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    Hello,

    I understand the market is quite competitive and there are hundreds of online stores in the market. However it all depends on the type of products you stock, customer service and your virtual presence (I mean strong social media, blogging etc).

    Building a website, sourcing suppliers and creating a facebook page is relatively easy. The trick is to get your customers engaged to your website. Besides product knowledge, you will also need some sort of IT knowledge too to help you maneuver your website, understand your site statistics, conversion rates, affiliated marketing, google page rank and customising your site for SEO..I am sure you will cover this under your marketing strategy as part of the business plan.

    We are about to put an offer on buying an existing eCommerce store. Being an accountant I have done a lot of research on these areas. Happy to share if you would like to know more.

    Good luck with your venture.

    Cheers,
    Niraj

    #1160269
    alliedib
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    • Total posts: 453
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    Hi Bubbles,

    Great idea that you have, but I have one (important) question for you – where will you source your products from (Australian manufacturers / wholesalers or overseas)?

    The reason I ask is that, if you are importing you become the deemed manufacturer under Australian Consumer law. This generally becomes a lot more involved than if you order from an Australian supplier..

    Feel free to ask anything and I will hopefully be able to provide some general pointers to you!

    Regards,

    Mark

    #1160270
    Simply Money Honey
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    • Total posts: 78
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    Hi Bubbles 23

    You need to start with a solid business plan. You need to ask yourselves a lot of questions to determine how you would want the business to run.

    Which products would you like to sell? Email the wholesalers/ distributors and ask what their minimum order quantities, wholesale prices and shipping costs are.

    Would you have the stock on hand or sell at parties and then order the stock?

    How big a range of products would you carry?

    How would you deliver the products? Would you charge for shipping?

    Would you provide bonuses to people who hold parties? What would these bonuses cost you?

    Who is already selling the products you would sell? What is your point of difference.

    Do you research and a plan and then start. There is only so much you can learn by research, a lot of learning comes from doing.

    Try and start with the lowest cost/ risk as possible and then grow rather than investing a huge amount at the beginning.

    Cheers

    Gabrielle

    #1160271
    Bubbles23
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    • Total posts: 21
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    Thank you everyone for the wonderful advice. You have all made me feel a bit more confident as many of the things that have been mentioned we have already thought of or are putting strategies in place to help our success.

    We’re confident in the online space as this is our current profession, but it is the business side of things we will need to figure out a bit more. Hopefully once we have finished our business plan, it will give us a bit more confidence and a definitive path to follow.

    Thank you all again for your help.

    #1160272
    Elizabeth-FE
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    • Total posts: 127
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    Hello Ladies,
    Great to hear you are working on a business plan. This is key.
    Researching the market thoroughly to be fully aware of your competition, determine the best price positioning, product assortment, branding etc….
    The Children’s market is very competitive but I have worked with many clients who have found a gap/niche and are trading quite successfully to very targeted markets.
    Major opportunities for customer engagement in this category in many ways.

    Good luck!

    If you need specific advise please feel free to contact me.

    Also have a workshop in Melbourne next week if you able to attend this could really assist you. If you can’t make it, I would be happy to send you the notes.
    http://fashionequipped.com.au/starting-a-fashion-business-workshop/

    #1160273
    Bubbles23
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    • Total posts: 21
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    Thank you again for all your replies.

    The advise has been wonderful. Thanks again

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