Aside from the tots who are wearing them, nothing quite elicits refrains of “Ooh, look how cute!” and “Oh my goodness! How adorable!” quite like children’s clothes. Whether they’re shopping for play clothes or for fancy holiday outfits, it’s no secret that parents love to shop for new duds for their kids. In fact, the children’s clothing industry is estimated to be a $10 billion a year business -- and is expected to continue to grow. If you are a talented and motivated seamstress with a knack for creating sweet styles for pint-sized fashionistas, you might be able to transfer your skills into a thriving children’s clothing business.
Check out the competition. To succeed in any business, you have to understand the market. The children’s clothing industry is no different. While you’re obviously not going to be able to compete with the marked-down prices at your local chain stores, your prices should be competitive with local children’s boutiques or independently-owned clothing stores. After all, if you’re charging $40 for a pair of size 2T pants, and your competitor is only charging $20, you’re going to have trouble moving merchandise. Before you launch your business, take some time to play gumshoe and scope out the market.
Set up a shop. If you are planning on opening up a physical store, you’ll of course need to scout locations and get your storefront ready for business. If you’re planning on selling out of your home, consider setting up a store on a site like Etsy.com, which bills itself as “the world’s handmade marketplace.” Another option is to start your own website using a website like shopify.com, which will help you set up your own e-commerce website. Come up with a catchy name for your store, and, to make it look professional, consider creating an official logo for your business.
Create an inventory. Figure out what services you want to provide and what type of merchandise you want to sell. Are you going to focus on children’s couture? Everyday wear? Fancy getups for holidays and special occasions? Once you determine your niche, get to work creating your inventory. After all, you don’t want to have to turn away customers or rush to fill orders because you only have one or two of each design available.
Promote and advertise. Once you have your inventory ready to go and your storefront -- virtual or physical -- ready to roll, you’ll need to promote it. Depending on your budget constraints, you can take out an ad in your local paper, buy ad space on popular blogs, or set up a social media page for your business, which you can use to promote sales, new products or special events. If you’re opening up a physical store, plan a grand opening event with door prizes or other giveaways. If you’re starting a virtual store, consider giving first-time customers special discounts like 10 percent off or free shipping.
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As a mother, wife and recovering English teacher, Jennifer Brozak is passionate about all things parenting and education. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and St. Vincent College, Jennifer writes features for the IN Community magazine network and shares her daily escapades on her blog, One Committed Mama.
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