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Getting An Online Business Started Web hosting? Shopping cart software? Web design? Upload inventory? Check out the answer here.

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Old 09-25-2007, 01:55
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Norfolk, VA and all around due to the Navy
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Default Where to start?

HI girls,

I purchased the SBB instructions about two months ago and I'm really motivated to start my own bowtique but I am at a loss as to where to start. I've purchased my own domain name and hosting site. I am getting the website set up soon. But as far as the amount of ribbon to buy and what colors I'm lost. I cannot afford to buy all the colors in all the sizes at one time. So how much do you buy and what kinds, etc.

I am NOT an ebay fan at all. I don't even like shopping there so that is out of the question for me but are craft fairs profitable? Am I being overzealous by starting the website first? I just didn't know what to do so I bought the name I liked so it would still be there. I have a lot of bows made up now to sell at a craft show next month. Thanks for any tips.
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:32
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I don't like Ebay either.

I have my own website and I think I will be moving it to www.wahmshoppes.com soon. I like their setup and it comes with a shopping cart.

I am not in the US so I tend to buy a lot of ribbon at once to save on shipping. I spent $360 on my start-up costs, which isn't horrible, but is high. That included all my findings too - 1'' heabands, 40mm snap clips, and alligator clips are the most popular.

I ordered white, red, orange, 2 pinks, 2 yellows, 2 greens, 2 blues, purple, brown, and black in 1/4'', 3/8'', 5/8'', and 7/8'', and 1 of each of those colors in 3/8'' swiss dots.

The ribbons I have used the most of so far are 3/8'' green, 3/8'' red with black swiss dots, and a few patterned ribbons in 3/8'' for dragonflies.

I sell mostly at craft shows and word of mouth custom orders.

The things I sell the most of are dragonflies, ladybugs, korkers, lined clips, and 7/8'' bows that match school colors. I also expect the holiday bows and clippies to do well as those season approach.

Hope that helps!
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:25
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I think one way is to sell online and the other way is to sell locally (craft show, local boutique store, the friends...)

I don't sell locally because I don't think my English is good enough as a salesperson. So online is my way and I think eBay is a must. It brings a lot of customers to my online store www.hipgirlclips.com. So many people search on eBay so it's an advertise just like Google (which is a must too). I only list 1-5 items on eBay everyweek.

Here are the top 5 traffice sources to my store in last 7 days:

(direct) ((none))

35.88%google (organic)

23.61%hipgirlclips.com (referral)

15.21%sewforum.com (referral)

5.62%groups.yahoo.com (referral)

1.86%

The 3rd place is from eBay because I advertise my store as www.hipgirlclips.com on eBay.

Michelle
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiff705 View Post
Michelle~

Since your store is ribbon and hardward and your homemade stuff, what do you sell more of? Your supplies (appliques, ribbons, clips) or the clips that you actually made? Just curious because I know your store does well because everytime I order I get a number and I see how fast the number has gone up since I ordered last! I love your appliques by the way! Thanks

Sarah
I used to sell hairbows and clips only in my online store and the most orders are from eBay, not from the store itself. I did sold a lot of hair clips (butterflies etc and the applique ones) last year holiday season. I'd say at least 200 character clips and 500 applique clips and 200 lined clips.

I'm going to switch to ribbon and hardware only because I don't have time to make clips. I just removed all hairbow and headband items from my store and rose the price of character clips to $15-$20 (means I don't want to sell them, just an ad). And that's the reason I'm selling the appliques and bottlecaps-don't have time to use them.

Ribbons bring far more orders than hairbows. The difference between them is the cost of the startup. $1000-2000 will be enough for a bowtique but as the ribbon supplier, I think it's $20000-40000 .

Michelle
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:25
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I love this site! I have to say I am starting to visit more and more..LOL!

One of my greatest walking adverstments is my daughter. Everyone says.. where did she get that bow? YOU MADE THAT????? I just beam ear to ear!
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:26
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I forgot to add- I live in a lower income area. We have alot of people who just can't afford 6-15.00 per bow. So I make the smaller bows and keep them really low in price. That way- no matter what I am selling something.
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:48
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I started very small...maybe around $100-200.
then as demand increased my inventory did too. In the beginning I would use most of my proffits to add to my store ( I have an eBay store and I think this is the best way for advertising and getting customers)
I didn't buy ribbon in wholesale because I think that variety is more important to the customer, if they like one thing from you only they are likely to go and purchase from another seller that has more variety and would save on shipping.
I recently started to purchse the colors that I noticed have the highest demand wholesale in bulk...it made more sense for me this way.
Good luck with your business.
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majdjn View Post
I think that variety is more important to the customer, if they like one thing from you only they are likely to go and purchase from another seller that has more variety and would save on shipping.
Agreed 100%. Variety+quality+price.

Michelle
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Old 09-25-2007, 03:23
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Originally Posted by tiff705 View Post
Very interesting Michelle! I do have to say, I love all of your ribbon and appliques. It is great quality and you are a great person to do business with! I recommed you to everyone in my yahoo groups when they are looking for something you have in your store.
Thank you Sarah. I'd really appreciate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiff705 View Post
I also love that you have this forum. I have learned and shared what I have learned so much on here. You sharing your instructions and tips is so generous! I would have never thought that those 30mm snap clips with the mini bows would have sold well and I made about 10 pairs and sold them all the first day! By the way, do you think selling them for $2.00 is too low? I just sell to people and craft shows. I was thinking to sell them at $2.50 from now on. What do you think?

Sarah
Last year when I found the lady sell the applique clips on eBay, the price was about $30/40 for 12 clips. (by the way, I think she's in the group too. Somebody posted her eBay items and she replied). Now the price is much lower because too many competitors on eBay. But if you sell on craft shows, I suggest $3 for 1 clip, $5 for 2 and $10 for 5.

Michelle
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativekiddos View Post
Michelle I agree with you on many things you have said . I think it is a smart move to get more into the ribbon if you are making a better profit and have more time with your children. I started out with bows and made very little money with them on ebay. Then I got into selling headbands for moms and bow makers.
I made bows and sold headbands for over a year before opening my website.
I use ebay as a marketing tool for my website and it is the best advertising money can buy! My goal is to have enough traffic on my website that I can decrease my powerseller status and sell less on ebay and more on-line, and possibly at craft fairs to decrease my expenses. Even though I am selling over $1,100.00 a month my hubby says I still need to earn another $300.00 a month & lower my expenses. He says we have no idea of what I am actually making in profits after expenses. He bought me microsoft money to track all our expenses.

I have never tried a craft show but I am opening a small space in a craft mini mall to sell all the creative things I make. I am hoping they will do will there. I love using my creative abilities but some times you need to sell what pays the bills. With ribbon you are so lucky to have founds a wholesale source, I have had very little luck re-selling ribbon.

I still think you should try the craft fairs. My mother in law is Thai and her English is not perfect. She is a thai chef, people don't care about her speech, just her yummy food. People will think the same thing about your character bows. They sell them self. You are a great business woman I can tell. Do you mind me asking what your career job is?

Heather

Thanks Heather. The craft show tent cost too much ($700 for a 3 day festival). That's another reason. And my DD can't keep hairbows on her head so I can use her .

I'm an Oracle DBA. I spend most of the day with computers.

Michelle
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