1) Caution! Don’t start online “…” yet: Everybody wants to sell on the internet as it opens up their business to the whole world. Many people try to start selling online right away through a website only to find that they make very few sales. Why? Nobody finds your site. Selling online is great, but it can take time to set up sites or drive traffic to your site. Simply put, starting a website will get you nowhere if you don’t get traffic to view it. There are many variables for Google to notice your website, but we will save that for a later article. The easiest ways to start selling online are to list your bows on eBay or Etsy. Both sites allow a beginner to display their products with ease. If your product is competitively priced and has good images to display, you should be able to immediately start selling through these sites.
2) Marketing of local companies: We recommend this as one of the best ways to start selling your hair ties and ribbon products. That is why we list it as the first “to do” item. Many people try to start selling online right away through a website. Selling online is great, but it can take time to set up sites or drive traffic to your site. To get started quickly, focus your efforts initially on your local market. Find local boutiques and children’s stores and visit us with samples of their products. Make sure you have an idea of how the two of you will benefit from working together. You can sell your bows at wholesale price or calculate a commission for the store if they agree to sell your hair bows. Get in touch with local school dance teams and entertainers. Consider creating fundraisers for the school and having “bow parties.” Beauty salons are also great avenues to sell your bows. Finally, do what we did at the start and sell at some nearby community craft shows or public events where you can buy a stand.
3) Social networks: Facebook and Twitter and similar networking sites are all the rage these days. Don’t forget to use these sites to market your business. Learn about the options for each type of site and focus your efforts on building a following by posting excellent relevant posts. Use these sites to display images of your creations and post bow ideas to your followers. Announcing promotions and sales is essential on social networks.
4) Blogs: There are many blogging sites that you can use. Blogger and Word Press are two popular options where you can easily create a blog for your business. Post photos and write about your products. Create creative designs that grab your readers’ attention. Make sure to link your blog to your website, which can help drive sales.
5) eBay and Etsy: Instead of starting with a website, start building business online with eBay or Etsy. These sites already have a large number of buyers and you can list your bows here for a small fee. Both sites allow a beginner to display their products easily and effectively. Key points for selling through these sites: Price your bows competitively and use good images and descriptions. Once you have developed a good number of sales through these sites, it may be time to consider starting your own branded website.
6) Starting your own website: We started our first website at WahmShoppes. For $ 8 a month, you can open your own eCommerce store. Customize the look of your store using any of its various templates. It takes time to start receiving web traffic organically. If your budget allows, Google’s ad words are an immediate way to start driving traffic to your website. With ad words, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Be careful as it can be quite expensive, especially if people just click and don’t buy. Organically gaining traffic is an issue in itself, but be sure to submit your site to search engines and some online directories to get started. To accept payments online, we suggest that you use PayPal and / or Google Checkout to save on monthly merchant account fees until your volume indicates that the merchant account will pay for itself.
7) Ribbon suppliers: If you are going to sell hair ties, you will need a lot of ribbon. Sure you can go to Wal-mart or Hobby Lobby, but generally the selection will be smaller and the prices will be higher compared to finding a niche online store that serves the hair bow industry. Look for a company that offers abundant variety, quality products, great prices, great customer service, and fast shipping. You want to build a long-term relationship with your supplier and these above points are key to your sanity and success. Make sure you can get color cards from your suppliers so that you can accurately match various colors in the ties you create with actual samples. Don’t rely on computer monitor images for color matching. Let your customers use the cards to choose their colors for a custom bow made to their specifications. Do a web search on a search engine for “hair bow supplies” for a list of good suppliers.
8) Hair bow templates: Save yourself a lot of time and frustration. Use hair bow templates! Always create a consistent bow size and eliminate waste of grosgrain ribbon by using a template. When you do an online search for “hair bow templates,” you will find several retailers that offer templates that you can purchase online.
9) Hair Bun Instructions: There are so many different types of hair bows that you will never learn them all. Many sites sell instructions, but others offer them for free. Search Google and even EzineArticles to find a wealth of free instructions. If you prefer video tutorials, check out YouTube for some great videos.
10) Shipping: The goal of every business is to get to the point where they have so many businesses that they can’t keep up. When we got to this point, we bought a shipping tool called Ship Rush. This program links your computer and electronic scale and allows you to click and copy customer information directly from the customer’s email or receipt. Then quickly print a custom shipping label for the US Post Office or UPS without you having to enter any address information. Believe me, it will become a huge time and money saver as your business grows if you ship a lot of packages.
11) Financial software: The number one reason businesses fail is because they don’t understand and manage their finances properly. Your business finances must be kept organized and your cash flow must be managed carefully. With money constantly flowing in and out, this can quickly become a real challenge. Using accounting software like Quicken or QuickBooks can keep your finances organized. Talk to your CPA to see what they recommend.