Patience is a virtue you need in spades when starting a fashion business on a shoestring budget. Just like in any other industry, your business may flop even before it takes off. A lot of research and planning goes into fleshing out the idea.
Here are a few tips to guide you as you start on your entrepreneurial journey.
- Choose a product that needs a shoestring budget
Some business ideas require a sizeable amount of money as capital. Other business ideas need just a few thousand shillings. Go for business ideas that can run on the amount you wish to invest as your start-up capital. Some affordable fashion business ideas that you can start in Kenya are selling accessories like belts, purses and earrings.
- Find the most affordable supplier
Compare offers from different suppliers for everything you intend to buy, and choose the most affordable supplier. Every cent spent in your business should count in terms of return on investment as well as the importance of your purchase in meeting your business objectives. You might have to do away with fancy expenses and channel meager funds to essentials.
Consider getting free services from friends and colleagues. For example, ask a friend to design the business logo/website for you.
- Start part-time
With a part-time venture, you have another stable source of income to cater for personal expenses, and the money you make from your business can be channelled back to the business.
- Sell online. It eliminates overheads like rent. Get a blog, social media pages etc.
Get a fashion website so you can test demand for your products. Have a reasonable initial website design and development budget, and once you are sure there is viable demand, think about growing your online reach through digital marketing.
Alternatively, test the online marketing waters through social media platforms. Many young people in Kenya are selling fashion products on Facebook exclusively. Therefore, create a Facebook page for your products, introduce your friends to your shop, and watch the number of likes grow. For this, you need excellent selling skills, appealing photographs and a fast delivery channel. You can handle deliveries yourself or hire an affordable courier service. Remember, social media is free, and manageable with the least amount of technical support.
The other option is selling through an online marketplace such as Jumia. Such e-commerce companies ask for a commission off any purchase, but they have excellent distribution networks, and a round the clock customer service department.
- Use word of mouth instead of expensive marketing methods
Market your products or services through friends and customers first, and then consider other marketing methods. It considerably reduces your marketing budget, and you can use testimonials as social media posts to reach a wider audience without spending anything.
- Be an affiliate if you cannot afford inventory
Take advantage of the blossoming e-commerce industry. Start as an affiliate marketer for leading e-commerce companies. You can also sell for land-based companies by phone or word of mouth, and get a commission for every sale. In addition to being an affordable venture, it also lets a shoestring entrepreneur learn about the industry especially in relation to products and services in demand.
Remember, man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. Start your business now!