How to Be Successful Selling Clothing Online

 

How to Be Successful Selling Clothing Online

Selling clothes online is an experience that many have these days as a one-off ?time to get rid of this expensive x,? but who among us have what it takes to turn it into a successful side hustle ? or even a full-time ship-from-home business? Truly, everyone who is willing to put in the time and effort required to build a successful brand online can succeed at selling clothes both new and old online. The trick is to know where to start.

Know Your Market

While this is a cliched term for a cliched idea, knowing your market is perhaps the most important aspect of building a successful business. This involves both marketing your items to the people who desire to buy them as well as switching up your inventory to serve your current customer base as necessary.

Where you market, and how you build your brand, is also important. If you choose to sell on a website such as eBay, Poshmark, or Facebook marketplace, you start at an advantage, as these sites allow you to build your business within a known framework while simultaneously marketing to your desired locations. This is especially helpful for those new-to-the-biz self-starters who need to build a base quickly or don?t know how to build a brand otherwise.

The alternative option is to build your own website on another host, such as Shopify, Squarespace, or WordPress, where you can fully customize your brand and your base ? and maintain full responsibility for your website traffic, as the marketing tricks of the trade such as purchasing advertisements, SEO-optimization, and hyping up your products are entirely on your shoulders. If you believe you have the chops to truly thrive in the business, taking this risk might be worth the freedom granted.

Photography

For a material-based business, photography is the best (and only) way to truly show shoppers what you mean when you say ?one-of-a-kind, high-waisted, lace-backed jeans with zebra print stripes down the side and a giant golden buckle.? While descriptions are critical and should be carefully considered ? do you want to be funny? Edgy? Business-serious? ? they are not the end of the line as far as the customer experience. Photography gives shoppers a clear idea of what you?re selling ? and is another way to market to your base more effectively.

When taking pictures of your items for sale, there are a few key features that should make it into the photo, including: full views of all sides; labels (especially if claiming name-branded); any visible flaws; and any ?fancy? details such as embroidery or lace. One of the tricks here is to upsell through your photography without lying. You want to emphasize the good qualities of every piece while also being honest about any blemishes that your second-hand or factory-defect options possess.

One way to do this is to be selective with your background and lighting. It?s best to work with solid, neutral or non-irritating colors, and choose (or curate) lighting that is most flattering to every piece posted. For full-time sellers, investing in a mannequin or dress form is the best way to show off those clothes as they will fit a human, which can both boost your sales and curb your returns in the long-run.

Consider Your Prices

Online shoppers are seeking to shop in their underwear and get a good deal doing it. As a new clothing seller, you?re seeking a solid return on your initial business investment. While these two objectives may seem at odds, this is the nature of any business (minus the shopping only in your underwear bit), and there is a sweet spot to be found if you know where to look.

Competitive pricing is critical to succeeding as an online shopper, as anyone looking at those classic Levis on your store can probably find a slightly more beaten up pair on eBay for half off. To know your margins, search for that exact or similar items online ? a basic Google search should do it ? and gauge the current market price points. Select a price that is on par with ? or even slightly below, for new sellers ? these prices.

If you?re a ship-from-home business, that means you?re doing a lot of?well, shipping. And shipping is expensive. If you?re willing to eat the shipping cost on every item as a cost of doing business, this should be taken into consideration when pricing. If the customer pays for their own shipping, this is more money out of their pocket ? if your prices are quite high to begin with, and then they have to pay $25 shipping on top of that, you may have just lost a sale.

One strategy many online sellers have is to list an item some percentage higher than they expect to get out of it and hope that some customer bites. If that doesn?t occur within a set period of time, usually two or three weeks, you can drop the price to something more reasonable and watching the purchase orders roll on in. This way, you can ?reduce prices? without actually losing any money.

Brand It Up

Building a brand is often an underrated aspect of selling items online from home. While it may seem simpler to just list a bunch of clothes at low prices and watch your products fly off the metaphorical shelves until you?ve built a customer base (and then jack up the prices like one of those no-good corporations), this isn?t compatible with a long-term business plan for most individuals.

Picking a name for your online business might seem to be underrated if you?re on a marketplace such as Facebook or eBay, but it is an essential central component of your brand that can be transferred when you?re ready to make the leap to your own personalized website. Keep it appropriate to your products and your market; if you can, throw in a pun or other little wink-wink to bring a chuckle to your customers.

Knowing your niche is a lot like knowing your market. You are selling to people who want to purchase your products ? stick to items that those people, or customers like them, will want to continue buying. Unless you have the room to run a full clothing store out of your basement, it?s best to select and maintain a few styles or sizes, or maybe build your brand as a seasonal store so you can move your product in and rotate them out again in three months (which allows for potential to rebrand if you think you made a mistake a season ago).

The most important part of building your brand is selling yourself. This means both marketing and humanizing yourself. People are more likely to buy your products if they feel that there?s another person at the other end of every transaction. Social media marketing is a wide-cast net that allows you to be human with all of your customers, former, future, and potential, in a single post, while also promoting your brand. It?s also important to keep in communication with your customers through every step of the purchasing process, from answering their initial inquiries to letting them know payment is received to even sending a quick ?Thank you!? blast to your email list at the end of the day.

There is No One Secret to Success?

 

?but there are several key steps, features, and processes you can factor into your business plan in order to maximize your potential for success. It all starts with knowing your base market and builds from there ? horizontally with your practicality, and vertically as you expand your merchandise, best business practices, and marketing presence. At the end of the day, while it takes a lot of work to achieve, success is conceptually simple:

  • Market
  • Picture it
  • Price it
  • Brand it

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Use Siteground (And Why YOU Should Too!)

Currently I use Siteground for my hosting as when I finished researching it seemed to be the best use of my money. My old website hosting company had become somewhat defunct to the point where I could not even access my websites through their portal. I hopped online and watched countless Youtube reviews and looked at what feels like endless blog posts to get an idea of a next step.

After dealing with Etsy fees I decided Siteground would be worth a try for the free month. My experience was so positive that I have decided to stay since.

I currently use it to run all of my websites, including where Make Money B4 College is located.

Here are some points as to why I use them and why I think you should too!

  • – Amazing affiliate sign up deal wherein I received a good portion of my initial year investment waived
  • – Very easy to use when setting up multiple websites, backups, email accounts, etc. The ability to customize nearly everything is also a nice benefit.
  • – Performance of my websites since my hosting switch as been night and day. My websites are faster and experience no downtime which both me and my readers enjoy.

I would highly recommend any and everyone looking to start making money online on their own to use Siteground.

Below is my affiliate link to provide you with information on Siteground. Siteground is offering a free month to try it out their services and I say give it a go! Cancel before the month is done if it isn’t working for you, but I did the same a jumped onboard.

Read what they have to say and see if this is right for your business.

 

How I Made $20K Revenue Using P.O.D. While In College

I have to put this upfront due to my own mind goblins. This process took me 3 years to accomplish, and this was not $20K in profits, this is $20K in revenue.

I began in my Tumblr account in summer of 2010 and my Etsy store around 2011.

I did around 2.5K in revenue that Winter Season of 2011.

I kept doing and ballooned to around 10K revenue in Winter 2012

Around 5.9K in Winter 2013, then 1.5K in 2014.

This was not some get rich quick scheme and it did take a number of years.

Why am I writing this?

I felt the need to tell my story simply in hopes of helping the next person like me out there on the internet. I didn’t have a job and I needed money to help support myself. If this sounds like you and you want to try to make some money utilizing free platforms then I feel my story my help. This is by no means a gloating story and I am by no means an expert. If you always dreamed of wearing clothing you made/designed yourself then you might find this writing helpful.

  1. Table of Contents
    1. What I Used
    2. My Story
    3. How You Can Do It Too
    4. How I Would Improve
    5. Materials and Resources

1. What I Used (at that time)

      1. Tumblr – Used to cultivate a social media following that enjoyed the same fandoms and pop culture references used on the shirt prints. Tumblr allowed me to curate my own content based on what others had posted without having to create my own. Eventually creating my own content allowed people to follow me and grow my follower count but reblogs and favorites was my starting point.
      2. Spreadshirt – The print on demand service I used and still frequent to this day. Along with printing services, Spreadshirt also has a few features which could be leveraged. Features such as their marketplace, both design and product, and their storefront can help the most bootstrapped individual to put together a great store. The design marketplace allows those without artistic ability to find some great artwork to use for their shirts, at a fee of course. This is good for either designers or shirt sellers.
      3. Etsy – Etsy is where I decided to house my store at that time due to me not liking my design eye when it came to backgrounds/ color composition for my custom Spreadshirt storefront. Etsy allowed me to create a store relatively quick as well as leverage the credibility of Etsy for my own. My shoddy store wasn’t going to convince people to buy products but a bland Etsy store was not as off-putting due to Etsy’s credentials.

2. My Story

(The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)

I began by wanting to make some money before college. Granted this journey took me around 3 years to do so, the humble beginnings are important. The summer before college (2010) I had nothing to do, I had recently found out about Tumblr and decidedly spent my last 3 months at home on the website. I was enamored by the community and while I at first only reblogged and favorited posts that appealed to my likes (anything pop culture, gaming related, other artist?s fan art, photography, etc.), I eventually began to post original text posts and pictures. I began to get into printed graphic designs and coupled this with more fan art.

After this I would use Spreadshirt to create samples of the created art and then post onto my Tumblr page to see if anything garnered attention. At first I wasn?t getting any favorites or reblogs as my designs were too simple but after some feedback I began to gain attention from my posts. This would start to show my Etsy page love as people began to trickle in from my Tumblr posts. The first year seemed to go by both at a snail?s pace and lightning fast. However the second year is where my growth became explosive. The first year was a slow build of growing pains while I was learning both the platforms (All Tumblr, Etsy, and Spreadshirt) as well as getting my designs out in the Tumblr community and getting attention and a following.

It wasn’t until around 2011 that I created my Etsy store. I did around 2.5K in revenue that Winter Season of 2011.

At this stage I was excited, This is working; people are enjoying my designs and buying them. This was my motivation and pushed me to keep doing and come the same time the following year I had ballooned the previous amount to around 10K revenue in winter 2012.

Around 2013 I began to feel the drain of school as well as the constant filling of order in my rudimentary fashion. I wasn’t on Tumblr as much as I would travel. During travel I would bring my laptop with me and sometimes I did not have access to Wi-Fi which meant I had to try and handle all these orders from my phone. IT WAS NOT A FUN TIME. And the statistics show that. Around winter 2013 I had lost around half the revenue of the previous year coming in around 5.9K.

The final straw came when in my ?final? year I had lost all motivation and both my schoolwork and store came to a screeching halt. I had some personal family events occur and while on Spring Break, I tried to fulfill orders and then my Wi-Fi ended. I became so enraged and frustrated that I quit the process. The stats for that year ended around 1.5K in 2014.

3. How You Can Do It Too

      1. As long as you have access to a computer and internet access, you too can start a clothing line and follow the steps I used to promote it. All of what I used was free of charge and within some time I was able to grow.
      2. Create an account on Tumblr
      3. Create an Etsy account
      4. Create a Spreadshirt account (Or a Printful Account)
      5. Every day, have reblog some new content to your Tumblr. If you?re not going to be able to do so, you can line up posts within a queue for your blog which will post at a designated time on a designated day, all chosen by yourself.
      6. Brainstorm some content you would like to wear yourself, create some mockups using Spreadshirt. This will give you both the product to sell as well as a mockup photo you can use for your Etsy store and for your Tumblr posts.

How I Would Improve

“Hindsight is 20/20”

Looking back now I am able to see where I could improve and make better decisions. For one, I would improve my social media game. Only being on Tumblr was great because it allowed me to give focus and attention to one platform but that was also an inhibitor. Once profits started to roll in, I should have begun to automate some processes. From other people to handle other social media accounts (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Etc.) to the order placement and customer service. I stopped my own due to burnout over my clothing line needs as well as college work needing attention. Had I invested in virtual assistants, I believe I would not have had to stop being active with my clothing line.

Currently, Instead of using Spreadshirt I am using Printful. This is due to their Etsy integration which makes orders seamless. A customer places an order on Etsy, I get notified and Printful takes care of the heavy lifting. This is opposed to my experience with Spreadshirt where every time and order was placed on Etsy, I had to go into Spreadshirt and order the shirt to the specifications and take the customers information from Etsy to input it into the order on Spreadshirt. This was very time consuming and frustrating when I was traveling and had orders.

The next point I would bring up would be using Etsy vs creating my own storefront. At the time, Etsy seemed the best way to go but now I believe I should have started on my own webpage. While it may have been a harder route to begin on, in the end it would have been beneficial as I would be able to few more detailed analytics and control where my customers go. In a sense, I refer to marketing. If I were to market and attract buyers, if I am on Etsy there is a chance they could see something they like in Etsy’s “Something Else you might Like” section and I might lose them. Whereas on my own website, it is all my content. So there would not be a loss of funds if I were to spend a marketing budget to send traffic to my website.

How To Start A YouTube Channel From Scratch

This has got to be one of the most searched for topics on the internet? If you have heard of Felix Kjellberg’s (PewDiePie) whopping $15 million earnings from YouTube, you probably are aware that this platform is a goldmine. YouTube started out as a personal video blog but has grown into a multibillion-dollar platform. Who would have thought that posting videos online would become the day job that millions of people all over the world do? YouTube offers an approach to money-making that highlights fun and purpose, giving users the opportunity to build a community that buys into their content and ideas. There are also opportunities for partnerships. Starting a profitable YouTube Channel is not too big of a deal. Let?s take a look at the steps involved in getting your YouTube channel up and running.

Think Identity!

There are millions of accounts on YouTube but something that is common to the successful ones is an understanding of what their videos will be about. I put this as the first step because oftentimes, people jump to the next only to realize that they could have gotten this down first. The good news however is, it’s never too late. Although, it can change over time as you discover what your community would rather watch. Also, you would have to come up with a name for your channel. A lot of people name their channels after themselves. You can use your nickname or draw up some combinations, for example, Bella’s bay or Seanalley. You can also come up with a name that boldly states what you plan to offer for example DressUpChallenge or MakeUp Tutorials, etc.

Create Your Channel

You can create a personal channel or a brand channel depending on what you have in mind. This is very easy and all you need are a Google account, a computer, and an internet connection. Search for “YouTube” in your browser. It is usually the first search result that pops up. Also, some devices come with a preinstalled app. If you do not already have a Google account, you do not have to worry. You can simply create one. After doing this, you simply need to locate and click on “Create a new channel”.

The About Section

To help differentiate your channel from others, YouTube requires that you fill in the appropriate profile details requested. Also, you will need to fill out the “About section”. This is simply a description of what your channel is about in the most understandable of terms. This is like passport photographs and it helps viewers decide if the content you give interests them. Also, it will feature in multiple places on your channel. Hence, you should put in a lot of effort into it. You can also include links to your social media and website here.

Further branding

You’ll need a cover art that puts your channel in perspective. You can make this yourself or have a friend create it for you. It could be a photograph, a flyer, banner or painting. Also, there is no serious standard except that it should be clear and just right for your channel. Likewise, you can have multiple designs which you can change over time. The requirement for your cover art is 2560 x 1440 pixels of at most 4MB. What people see has an effect on their interest most times, so give it a good shot.

Create Videos

Of course, you have to create videos for your channel. YouTube is filled with tonnes of videos of different qualities and length. However, it is advisable to go for the quality you can offer. Truly, the quality of your video depends on the gadgets available to you. You can record videos that look good with your smartphone camera or you can get a DLSR or camcorder. The only major problem with using smartphones is the low volume associated with some videos. You can remedy this with a good microphone. Most videographers have told us time and over that what differentiates a poor video from a great video is more than the camera. You have to have good lighting and angle. With properly positioned LED lights, you can make top-quality videos. You also need to decide on what you would like your background to look like. You can have a plain background, spice it up with some art, or fairy light, etc. Regardless of your choice of a recording device, you need a tripod stand to give you stable images from any angle. After recording, you need to edit your video. This can be done with the easily accessible Windows MovieMaker.

Upload Your Video

After filming and editing your video, it?s time to post it. You can find the upload button at the top right corner of the screen, just beside your profile icon. While uploading, you will need to fill in a title, video description and, tags to help position it properly on the platform. This seems simple but it makes the difference between a highly viewed video and those with low views. It takes quality thinking time and will be mastered over time.

Make noise about your video

Following your upload, you can earn viewers by letting people know that it is out. You can add it to the home page of your website or blog about it. Your social media accounts also come in handy in this regard. Talk about it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You can share it multiple times with different captions just in case somebody missed it.

Grow your channel

One video is not enough to have a successful YouTube channel so, you must be consistent. Engage your community by answering questions, and encouraging comments and suggestions. As time goes on, you might want to try YouTube Ads to publicize your channel too. Take care to learn, unlearn, and relearn new ways of making your channel better.

Creating A Passive Income With Spreadshirt

One way of the earliest ways I have found to create a stream of income is by using an online print on demand service called Spreadshirt.

Well what is Spreadshirt?

Well, if this snippet taken from their blog post here doesn’t explain then I dunno what will.
“Spreadshirt is an online merchandise company that allows people to design, buy and sell products on the Web.”

This means, you do not have to print and press any clothing you want in your own home. Spreadshirt does it all from their warehouse and they also handle the logistics such as storage and shipping.

Who can create a passive income utilizing Spreadshirt?

Anyone can create passive income using Spreadshirt. There are multiple ways one can utilize Spreadshirt to create passive income from those looking to launch a clothing brand to those who just want to list designs. Obviously marketing your shop will increase the visibility and thus amount of sales you obtain.

Why use Spreadshirt?

What are some different ways to start earning income using Spreadshirt?
So far I have only experienced 2 different methods to create income using Spreadshirt.

  • 1st – Creating a store, filling it up with items and selling them

Creating a store and placing items to sell in it is the #1 most used strategy when it comes to Spreadshirt. Using P.O.D. services eliminates the need to house inventory as every order is processed, fulfilled, and reviewed at Spreadshirt’s warehouse before being shipped out to the customer. Spreadshirt has been regularly adding new items to their customizable product list, so shirts aren’t the only products you can sell.

  • 2nd – Creating and selling designs

While creating your products, you have the option to use already created designs from the Design Marketplace for a commission fee. All of these designs were created by another user. You can create and upload new designs to be placed on the marketplace for others to use. This can become a pretty steady source of passive income if your designs have a purpose and are priced economically. If you create a design based around a holiday then chances are this design will be picked up and used by a designer.

Conclusion

There are many online Print On Demand (P.O.D.) services and Spreadshirt is one of the most prominent. With their ability to allow designers to create their own clothing line without needing the skills to design their own artwork is a huge plus. Spreadshirt is giving people the ability to create their own stream of passive income.

So you have created the next great holiday themed shirt/hoodie/coffee mug; Now what? Next we will be taking a look at online marketplaces to sell your newly created designs.