Clothing design is the most rewarding part of my job as a sewer. I love the creation process, but the selling part seems more challenging to me. It consumes most of my time. Offline, I could say it is a fairly successful small business. I have my returning clients and a steady income. But when it comes to selling online I had my struggles when I started and I still do. So, how to sew my clothing line online?
Let’s say that you have your collection ready. The garments are in stock and you are ready to make people happy wearing your unique and made with love garments.
This is what you should cover:
1.Build a relationship with your clients.
- Have your brand name and logo. Get creative here and give it a good thought, because this is not something you should change in time, it is your name and face to the word. Most of your online clients are going to recognise you only by your logo. I was told by clients that they couldn’t find me and my products just because I’ve changed my profile picture once.
- Try to make your website look professionally build. You can use a ready-made platform to do so or pay to a developer. I always prefer the first option as long as I can keep things more under control and close to my taste and preferences. Those platforms are kept up to date by a lot of people so you don’t have to worry about updating and paying extra fees to a developer to do so. It could be done almost for free apart from the expenses for a domain name and a hosting plan (even these expenses are optional). Prestashop is a great solution for an online store and it has all the features for a professional look and shopping experience. Another popular platform for e-commerce is Shopify. An e-commerce theme on WordPress could be a good solution, too.
- Reply to any question as soon as possible. The fewer questions you leave unanswered, the chance to close a sale is bigger. Have in mind that visitors to your web store might not even bother to ask, so give them as detailed info as possible.
2. Think about pricing.
Some of the designs I’ve created were not suitable for catalogue selling because they were high priced. They were easier to sell offline to returning costumers. In my experience, if you are not a recognised brand name, high-ticket garments are harder to sell online. You should always include them in your catalogue, though. It is an enormous market and someone might have been looking for exactly this dress of yours, no matter the price.
On the other hand, don’t try to compete with the low-priced retail clothes. Always have in mind that your designs are unique.
3.Ship on time.
- Research shipping pricing, terms, and conditions. Decide where you are going to ship to, your country only or abroad too. You should have this information available on your website. It is not something you should figure out after you begin to receive orders. This doesn’t seem professional and can lead to a lot of stress for you and frustration for your customers.
- Establish a relationship with one courier of your choice. This might get you a good discount and will limit unpleasant surprises in your day to day business together.
4. Good descriptions.
Selling online (especially clothes) turned out to be very different from selling them in the atelier. It excludes the possibility for the client to touch the fabric and feel it, try on the garment or see how it fits. There should be a size chart in the description of every garment. If you create all of your designs according to one size chart, you should mention that and redirect to the page with the size chart.
5. Good pictures.
Pictures and description of the product are the only way your potential clients can get information about your garments. All of your pictures must be high quality. The more professional your pictures look, the better. It is always better to shoot on a mannequin than on the floor or a hanger and it is the best to make a photo of a real person.
To avoid additional expenses, take a picture of yourself wearing the garment or a friend of yours if it doesn’t feel comfortable to do it yourself. Some Photoshop skills might help to fix colours for example or other issues with the photo you’ve made. You should have an excellent light (if such equipment is unaffordable use sunlight). A nice camera is an absolute must have (no way to avoid expenses here). You could make close pictures to small details like buttons or zippers if you want to stress on that detail.
6. Good marketing strategy.
Good marketing strategy or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential to get visitors to your store. Only visitors can become clients. Although online marketing has a lot in common with marketing in general, there are some specifics. You can always pay somebody to do this for you, but it is usually expensive. Or, you can manage your marketing yourself. To do that, you must learn the basics of building and maintaining a website, use social media and drive traffic to your web store. But be careful, there are a lot of scammers online who offer quick results. The truth is you have to put in a lot of work if you want to succeed.
7. Connect with fashion magazines, bloggers, follow fashion trends and news.
This will keep you up to date with fashion trends and will help you make friends, interested in fashion. Good connections are important in any business, no matter online or not. If people mention your name and refer to you it eventually leads to more sales.
8.Rethink producing capacity and quantities in stock.
There is an enormous market on the internet and you actually may be surprised how many new clients you get. Having too small quantities in stock is not remunerative in terms of making photos, but also when you produce. Small orders are always more expensive in factories and if you make every peace by yourself it is very overwhelming to catch up. On the other hand, producing too many pieces may end up in, not selling them all and having them in stock forever.
Finally, you should experiment. Some things might work for you and some might not. One product would sell better than others. Some product that sells great in your store might be ignored on your website and vice versa. What is most important is consistency. If you believe in your product keep showing up and things will get rolling.
If you want you can follow my experience trying to sell on Etsy.com here.
If you want to share your experience and add up to that list, please leave a comment below.
P.S. There are some of my most requested designs, I hope you like them. 🙂