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18-12-2007
  166
windowshopping
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
Gender: homme
Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bambini85 View Post
I too am launching a luxury online boutique in AW 2008
It is all very exciting and buying is my passion and love. I buy instinctively and I have doubled my AW 08 budget... my designer list just kept growing so I had to allow for growth. I have now finished all the buying for AW 08 and have started the PR side. All other start ups have been ironed out and put into production eg. packaging, office, web development, content management, accounts, staff, couriors.. and so much more.
The PR is great.. I had my first write up a fornight ago in the national sunday paper... it felt so rewarding seeing my business' editorial. I have also secured some editorials in our leading fashion magazines which I can't wait to see.
It is also very easy to have blogs and fashion websites create a story on your business in the 'fashion news' section.
I recommended it to anyone thinking of opening any business of their own... it is such a great feeling
I worked for one of our leading designers for a few years.. it was an amazing position for my Cv... but I felt I needed more.
If anyone would like some help, I will try to help as I can.
Hey, I'm currently buying into a few Australian brands such as hem and haw, Mjolk. Australia seems to be a hot bed for new brands these days carrying on the scandinavian look forward so would be interested if you knew of any brands to keep my eyes on. I viewing the collection for chronicals of never for next season also.

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18-12-2007
  167
windowshopping
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
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Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquid fire View Post
I was just wondering (i know it will vary from company to company/designer to designer) on avg. what the minimum order size/amount of inventory a site must hold in order to open an account with a company/designer?
Completly vaired from brand to brand.

some have no minium orders and some up to 50k in my experience.

it's also important to understand the varied account types you can hold, Credit, pro-forma, SOR etc and the different Terms and conditions each company will have. Many brands will also sell there invoices to debt companies.

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18-12-2007
  168
scenester
 
go_extreme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Toronto
Gender: femme
Posts: 61
Thank you - bespokeboutique
[quote=bespokeboutique;3877528]

1)Get a professional to build the site.

2)By space do you mean server size?

______
1) I am looking into this at the moment and agree with you 100%

http://www.storefront.net/ is great software I have come across and would like to customize my store similar to this one. Any feedback?

Also, how do I know that the webdesigner is not using software like this one, but charging me to build a customized eCommerce (sorry new to this -might be a silly question)


2)by space I mean how many items at one given time? 150-200 is what I am estimating, which I believe will be about 1gb and then another 1gb for photos?

Any ideas?

Thank you for everyone that answers..this thread started in 2005 and I know many people starting a retail business/online boutique reference a lot.

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18-12-2007
  169
scenester
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by go_extreme View Post

Also, how do I know that the webdesigner is not using software like this one, but charging me to build a customized eCommerce (sorry new to this -might be a silly question)
Not at all a silly question! I don't know how you would know, unless you are in the industry or have done a lot of research. I almost ended up paying someone to build me a "customized" site which was actually just a shopping cart program! I had contacted these people who "built" another site I really liked and was planning on using them, however they were completely incompetent and never got around to building my site, although I was ready to pay immediately for it. After I had been in contact with them for a while, they actually mentioned the shopping cart software they used! They were complete idiots and total slackers who somehow managed to "design" a fairly prominent online boutique. They could have made easy money off me if they had their act together, just because I didn't (and still don't, to a large extent) understand the basics of e-commerce design.

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18-12-2007
  170
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BetteT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Los Angeles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bespokeboutique View Post
No online customer buy in bulk unless it's sale stock. Depending on your price point online customers are much more fickle than instore. as it's a bigger comitment to buy a product you have not felt or tried on.
One of my clients is and on-line retailer/boutique. She told me that the biggest problem she has is returns ... just for that very reason ... that they have not touched the fabric nor tried on the garment until they get it. So returns are higher than they would be in a brick and mortar store ... and she find's that a hard issue to deal with.

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19-12-2007
  171
windowshopping
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
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Posts: 16
[quote=go_extreme;3878220]
Quote:
Originally Posted by bespokeboutique View Post

1)Get a professional to build the site.

2)By space do you mean server size?

______
1) I am looking into this at the moment and agree with you 100%

http://www.storefront.net/ is great software I have come across and would like to customize my store similar to this one. Any feedback?

Also, how do I know that the webdesigner is not using software like this one, but charging me to build a customized eCommerce (sorry new to this -might be a silly question)


2)by space I mean how many items at one given time? 150-200 is what I am estimating, which I believe will be about 1gb and then another 1gb for photos?

Any ideas?

Thank you for everyone that answers..this thread started in 2005 and I know many people starting a retail business/online boutique reference a lot.
As for companies using this sort of software i would say it's not really a worry, as the sute will be tailored for you so cannot really be done easily with this sort of software...but just incase...when you log into the back of house system it will tell you what company designed that system. plus you can look at the base code (by viewing the source) this will show up any auther tags...which will also mention the software used. but really if you use a repital company this isnt a problem...looking at there portfolio should give you and idea.

as for space...this also isnt really an issue. most web companies will have their own dedicated servers which have more space than you would ever need.

the problem is when your site becomes more popular you may need faster servers and maybe upgrade your level of hosting to deal with the bandwidth required for the amount of traffic you will hopefully be receiveing. It's not really something you as a client would have to worry about.

hope that helps.

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19-12-2007
  172
windowshopping
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetteT View Post
One of my clients is and on-line retailer/boutique. She told me that the biggest problem she has is returns ... just for that very reason ... that they have not touched the fabric nor tried on the garment until they get it. So returns are higher than they would be in a brick and mortar store ... and she find's that a hard issue to deal with.
Yes, same with us, about a third of all stock purchased online is returned. on the plus side within you UK you only have to offer a full refund if the item is returned within 7 days, so most of the time we just give out credit notes, so at least it's not too much of a loss after transaction costs. I think the best thing you can do is just be as detailed as you can about the product and have great photography. With Jeans I think it's a good idea to liken the fit to a brand the customer may be familiar with so say "fits like a 501 but straighter in the hip". But hey guess you can never stop refunds.

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13-01-2008
  173
front row
 
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Posts: 391
Hey here's a question for bespokeboutique or anyone else who wants to answer!

Im really nervous about the shipping AND returns situation. Im thinking about giving them three weeks to return an item for money back and otherwise give them a merchandise credit. But what if a customer returns something and it turns out that it's damaged or washed or something like that? Do I just send it back and not accept it? And is it a good idea to have them contact me before they make a return?? Im really not sure how I should set up the terms or go about this at all.

Thanks!

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30-01-2008
  174
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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One more question!

Is there a rule of thumb when it comes to how much you spent on advertising compared to how much you spend on your merchandise? For example 50% of your potential profit or something?

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30-01-2008
  175
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^don't bother spending with advertising... i havent heard any special boutique stores that really had a figure for advertising expense nor was successful
maybe a lil traffic but designer boutique is a very niche market
just get your name out there

i read your blog, i dont think you need professional photos to post your merchandise in the website your better off getting a dslr and your friends to model

you just save yourself some $$$ then otb or better cash flow

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31-01-2008
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I'll have to respectfully disagree with some of what you are saying, bluespring.

"Getting your name out there" is done by advertising ... and it's a very important part of your business ... along with marketing and public relations.

An example .... An other client of mine is an on-line designer and she used to take pictures herself before 2002 ... but she knew that to kick up her business to actually make a profit she would have to ramp up the pictures and the advertising. (She knew this, because her major in school was entraprenurial studies ... or studying how to run a small business.) She started using professional models and us ... a team comprised of a photographer, a stylist (me) and a hair/makeup artist. After about a year, I asked her if she saw any difference in her business, since she started using professionals ... and she told me that her business had tripled. She knows what she's doing ... she's still in business after about 10 years (almost unheard of ... most fold in the first year) ... and it's still growing.

She had to budget for this ... she planned it for years ... it is very expensive, but also reaps good results. Of course, you have to do the right advertising, where you reach your customers ... you have to know your demographics. It's all part of running a successful busines.

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31-01-2008
  177
scenester
 
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BetteT, when you say she is an online designer, do you mean she has her own clothing line or that she owns her own boutique? Because I definitely agree with you if you are talking about a clothing line. A lookbook is obviously incredibly important for that.

But most online stores either use stock photos taken from those lookbooks or they use mannequins or they use their employees standing in their store with their heads cropped off (ie Creatures of Comfort and Impulse). Not that I agree with this...I much prefer original photography and don't think there are very many sites out there which do it well. But the status quo does seem to be crappy photography, so I don't necessarily think it is a requirement for success.

Regarding advertising, online stores like La Garconne are incredibly successful, yet I have never seen them advertised. I personally have found most of my favorite online boutiques via word of mouth or google. I feel like online boutiques are a whole different game than brick and mortar. What type of advertising would you suggest?

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31-01-2008
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Not exactly ... she designs her own line and sells it on her own site (her on-line boutique) and sells wholesale to small boutiques around the country. So she shoots her on-line catalog and a lookbook for the boutiques to see at the same time. She just has to wait to put up the pictures on-line until she's in production on the particular items. The lookbook is used pre-production.

She has tested her market with photos of regular people, with low end freelance models, and mannequins and has proven (by statistics) that using the agency repped models increases her sales across the board. She's a sharp cookie ... that is why she has succeeded where so many other have failed.

Part of the adversing and marketing is (I forget the technical term) cooperative banners on sites like this in addition to some magazine ads.

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31-01-2008
  179
windowshopping
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
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Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberwyn View Post
Hey here's a question for bespokeboutique or anyone else who wants to answer!

Im really nervous about the shipping AND returns situation. Im thinking about giving them three weeks to return an item for money back and otherwise give them a merchandise credit. But what if a customer returns something and it turns out that it's damaged or washed or something like that? Do I just send it back and not accept it? And is it a good idea to have them contact me before they make a return?? Im really not sure how I should set up the terms or go about this at all.

Thanks!
Hey, Online you are legally obliged to to refund customer within 7 days if they're not satisfied, after that it's your call, most customers will take it as a given that after 7 days the best they can hope for is an exchange or store credit. Also if an item is damaged or shrinks etc the customer is also entitled to a full refund after the 7 days.




As for everything mentioned on advertising there is no set amount but spend as much as you can and spend it wisley. figure out where your customer is, what they do, what they read, where they go and make yourself known at those places.

i was told spend 2% of your net profit on advertising but i dont think you can set an amount.

Always start your ad campaigns to coinside with your new collections.

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31-01-2008
  180
windowshopping
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
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Posts: 16
Yes, getting a professional to do your photography is a must. It's real easy to see where you can cut back spending, but it shows, and you end up with a very unprofessional look. you need to inspire confidence in your business. Also, with great photography you can capture a products detail exactly as you wish, The biggest barrier of shopping online is the customer is loosing out of being able to feel and look at the product so the more detail the better i say.

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