Starting your own online boutique, clothing store, or jewelry shop takes work. You need to know you have buyers lined up, you have to be able to advertise new arrivals, and you need to set up a distribution network. While it may seem overwhelming, there are a few things you can do to source general merchandise and get your business up and running.


Finding Creditors


Often boutiques and clothing stores are seen as risky investments. This is because, in general, the market is fairly competitive. Whether you’re a clothing boutique in Portland, OR or in San Francisco, CA, creditors will want to know the same types of general information. They’ll need to know if you have general merchandise at the ready. You’ll also want to be able to prove that you have viable buyers and that you’ll be turning enough of a profit to pay back any loans. Unsecured creditors are available, too, but since they don’t claim assets as collateral, they’re not viewed as highly as other creditors.


To find creditors that are willing to work with you, you should have a robust business plan in place. When it comes to finances, no detail is too small. Creditors will often want to review your business plan down to the finest detail. If you’ve overlooked anything or made incorrect calculations on a finance sheet, it could greatly impact your eligibility for a loan. Even if you’re struggling to secure funding, you can look into local business grants and government loans. Small business grants are fairly competitive and they’ll want to see many of the same information that creditors request. However, unlike loans, grant money is incredibly useful because it typically doesn’t need to be paid back.



Finding General Merchandise


Once you’ve secured funding, your next goal is to acquire inventory. While you can manually browse discount stores or shop around for accessories, you may find it easier to do your perusing online. One great way to snag a ton of general merchandise quickly is through a liquidation sale. Liquidation sales happen due to excess inventory, out-of-season fashions, and customer returns. That means you can get name-brand dresses and accessories for a fraction of the price. This includes dresses from the likes of Rachel Comey and Frances May if you get lucky. You can then turn around and sell your liquidation goods at a markup so you’re turning a steady profit.


While it may be unlikely that you’ll find a red carpet gown or diamond accessories in liquidation, you never know what a sale could turn up. To determine which liquidation site is the best, review their privacy policy and their use of cookies. It’s also a good idea to see whether or not they offer free shipping.


Some sites bundle in free shipping if you make a purchase past a certain dollar amount. Others offer free shipping all the time. It simply varies between sites. It’s also a great idea to look at user reviews. See what other buyers have to say about a liquidation site. That way, you can get a better idea of how the liquidation company operates and whether or not there are any significant red flags.



Ready, Set, Sell


Once you’ve acquired your general merchandise and having funding from your creditors, your online storefront is open for business. If you’re going the route of using Etsy or eBay as your online store, use a tool like Flyp to calculate your seller fees.  If you planned ahead, you likely have some pre-sale orders to fulfill. Otherwise, you need to start marketing and advertising your business. Begin with family and friends and see if you can get a few word-of-mouth referrals.


Opening an online clothing store can be incredibly fulfilling. You need to have all of your bases covered and constantly plan ahead to succeed. However, if you persist and work at building up your brand, you could become the next big name in clothing.

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