Hair Bow Business: 11 Tips to Start Selling Hair Bows
1) Deposit! Do not start online”…”Yet: Everyone wants to sell on the internet as it opens your business to the whole world. Many people try to start selling online right away through a website only to find that they make very few sales. Because? No one is finding your site. Selling online is great, but it can take time to set up sites or drive traffic to your site. Simply put, starting a website will get you nowhere if you don’t get traffic to view it. There are a lot of variables for Google to notice your website, but we’ll leave that for a later article. The easiest ways to start selling online is to post your ties on eBay or Etsy. Both sites allow a beginner to display their products with ease. If your product is competitively priced and you have good images to display, you should be able to start selling right away through these sites.
2) Marketing of local companies: We recommend this as one of the best ways to start selling your hair bows and ribbon products. That’s why we list it as the first “do” element. Many people try to start selling online right away through a website. Selling online is great, but it can take time to set up sites or drive traffic to your site. To get started quickly, initially focus your efforts on your local market. Find local boutiques and children’s stores and visit us with examples of their products. Make sure you have an idea of how both of you will benefit from working together. You can sell your bows at a wholesale price or collect a commission for the store if they agree to sell your hair bows. Contact local school cheer and dance teams. Consider creating fundraisers for the school and having “hair bow parties.” Beauty salons are also great avenues to sell your bows. Finally, do what we did at the beginning and sell at a few nearby community craft fairs or public events where a booth can be purchased.
3) Social Networks: Facebook and Twitter and similar networking sites are all the rage these days. Don’t forget to use these sites to market your business. Learn about the options for each type of site, and focus your efforts on building a following by posting great, relevant posts. Use these sites to display images of your creations and post bow ideas for your followers. Announcing promotions and sales is essential on social networks.
4) Blogging: There are many blogging sites that you can use. Blogger and Word Press are two popular options where you can easily create a blog for your business. Post photos and write about your products. Create creative layouts that grab the attention of your readers. Be sure to link your blog to your website, which can help drive sales.
5) eBay and Etsy: Instead of starting with a website, start building business online with eBay or Etsy. These sites already have a large number of buyers and you can list your bows here for a small fee. Both sites allow a beginner to easily and effectively showcase their products. Key points for selling through these sites: Set a competitive price for your hair ties and use good images and descriptions. Once you’ve built a good number of sales through these sites, it may be time to consider starting your own branded website.
6) Start your own website: We started our first website at WahmShoppes. For $8 per month, you can open your own eCommerce store. Customize the look of your store using any of its various templates. It takes time to start getting web traffic organically. If your budget allows it, Google Adwords is an immediate way to start driving traffic to your website. With Adwords, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Be careful, as it can be quite expensive, especially if people just click and don’t buy. Getting traffic organically is a whole subject in itself, but be sure to submit your site to search engines and a few online directories to start. To accept payments online, we suggest using PayPal and/or Google Checkout to save on monthly merchant account fees until your volume dictates that a merchant account will pay for itself.
7) Ribbon Suppliers: If you are going to sell hair bows, you will need a lot of ribbons. Sure you can go to Wal-mart or Hobby Lobby, but usually the selection will be less and the prices will be higher compared to finding a niche online store that serves the hair bow industry. Look for a company that has a plentiful assortment, quality products, good prices, excellent customer service, and fast shipping. You want to build a long-term relationship with your provider and these points mentioned are key to your sanity and success. Be sure to get color cards from your vendors so you can accurately match multiple colors in the ties you create using actual swatches. Do not rely on images from a computer monitor to match colors. Let your customers use the cards to choose their colors for a custom bow made to their specifications. Do a web search on a search engine for “hair bow supplies” for a list of good suppliers.
8) Hair Bow Templates: Save yourself a lot of time and frustration. Use hair bow templates! Always create a consistent bow size and eliminate the waste of grosgrain ribbons by using a template. When you do an online search for “hair bow stencils,” you’ll find several retailers that offer stencils that you can purchase online.
9) Instructions for the hair bow: There are so many different types of hair ties that you will never learn them all. Many sites sell instructions but others offer them for free. Search Google and even EzineArticles to find a plethora of free how-tos. If you prefer video tutorials, check out YouTube for some great videos.
10) Shipping: The goal of every business is to get to the point where they have so many businesses that they can’t keep up. When we got to this point, we bought a shipping tool called Ship Rush. This program links your computer and electronic scale and allows you to click and copy customer information directly from the customer’s email or receipt. Then, it quickly prints a custom shipping label for the US Post Office or UPS without you having to enter any address information. Trust me, it will become a huge time and money saver as your business grows if you ship a lot of packages.
11) Financial Software: The number one reason businesses fail is because they don’t understand and manage their finances correctly. Your business finances need to be kept organized and your cash flow managed carefully. With money constantly flowing in and out, this can quickly become a real challenge. Using accounting software like Quicken or QuickBooks can keep your finances organized. Talk to your CPA to see what they recommend.