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Help please...opinions/experiences please.

VEPSVEPS subscriber Posts: 4
edited August 2008 in Selecting a Business
I am starting a sport clothing line that would target a niche market. My network at the present time are my training partners and others who are also obsessed with the sport.
Here are my 3 options, the way I see it...
1. Should I "start out of my basement" and sort of have a grassroots word of mouth/local advertising and see if my product is viable?
Then do the whole e-commerce thing?
2. Just sell my line on an e-commerce site and virtually nothing else to keep start up costs low compared to:
3. Sell my product along with related established brands (buy in bulk) to make the store more "legit". Much higher costs.
Anyone ever have this problem?


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    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    Okay, this depends on if you will be carrying inventory and if you are you need to know where you plan on distributing the products with a solid plan, or you may have a lot of sports shirts to wear for may years. I think if you are starting small, partner, of course with the retail and sports outlets, create an online store using an opensource or free web store that you may customize. If the products offer themselves with personalization then allow that in the store online. Know who your target is, where you want to be at in your 3/6 month 1 yr, 5 yr, 10 yr plan and plan each day accordingly. It is a lot of work but if you are consistant, offer quality products at a competitive price, have a market for this, then all the above should be relevent.
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    cdbartworkcdbartwork subscriber Posts: 11
    I would suggest sell online, and have a brochure (less expensive than a catalog) for the "out of your basement" sales and to help spread the word about your "niche" product. See if you can team up with anyone related to your product and have an event.
    Good Luck!
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    kathleenfasanellakathleenfasanella subscriber Posts: 0
    I think you`re putting the cart before the horse, these are false choices. I know it`s obvious you have to sell something, somehow, to realize a profit but you have a whole lot before you get to sales. Iow, you have to get to the point of having something worth selling first usually based on prototypes. Some people never make it out of that stage which is why I say it`s cart before the horse. Usually during the prototyping process, in connecting with others, you run across a lot of options that`ll come in handy further along. For example, if you have a prototype you`re flogging around, you may run across buyers who want to stock it and place orders. Even if those orders are small, you want to fill those first because there`s always unanticipated costs and your "tuition" is much lower the smaller the order.
    Most if not all, clothing businesses start really small, right from the kitchen table. That`s all I do.
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    MichaelStoneMichaelStone subscriber Posts: 0
    I have to agree with Kathleen.  I would suggets staying grass roots before you go online.  Let your customer base help you refine your product to their specifications.  Don`t tell them what tey want, let them tell you. 
    Although I would try to get online as quickly as possible, there is a risk in getting on before your ready.  As with any project, you won`t know the kinks until you start growing.  Dealing with startup problems can be a lot easier face to face.  People who buy from you "grass roots" style will be a lot more forgiving, and eager to advise if you let them. 
    Jack Canfield didn`t even get a publisher for "Chicken Soup" until he had 20,000 signatures of people offering to buy the book once it was published.
    One more thought - Be careful with "the basement."  the last thing you need in the development stage is a basement full of moldy smelling prototypes.
    Hit The Streets!
    Michael Stone


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    katscoolcorner1katscoolcorner1 subscriber Posts: 0
    From R-U New To Business
    I agree with Kathleen,
    start small at your kitchen table, wear your own products, shirts, pants, out and about, and when people ask you about it, you can show them what you have.  If you have a website, make sure you have a great camera to show the clothes, there is nothing worse than having a blurry picture when you are trying to see color, and cut.  Same thing if you are spending money on brochures.  Put some money in the properly photographed and showcased products.  Don`t keep too much inventory online.  I bet Donny Deutch from the big Idea, would tell you to load your samples in the trunk of your car, and go to the trade shows, and to the boutiques themselves or get on the phone and call them up. 
    Kat -R-U New To Business
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    Professor2020Professor2020 subscriber Posts: 0
    Think big.  Spend small.  Test online (fastest survey ever from real people how...if they like it they will buy it).  Sell on free classified sites to see if what you got is cool.  Comment on fashion or places where your target market go online and have a cool t-shirt for your picture if you can include your signature.
    Get the startup bible on doing it with $500 or less "$500 Startup:  A step by step guide to starting a business with $500 or less"  available at Go to http://stores.lulu.com/500DollarStartUp
    It`s cheap $10 and it will answer most of your questions.
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