Are you thinking about selling your handmade bows but don’t know where to start? Starting a business is exciting, but the unknowns can be daunting. Although it may seem intimidating at first, turning your hobby into a business is easier than you might think. Whether you have been crafting for years or you're just learning to make your first bow, you will have your bow business up and running in no time if you follow these steps!
Taking the first step is always the hardest part. We have created the ultimate step-by-step guide to get your business off the ground and running. This easy to follow checklist shows you exactly what you need without spending any more than you have to.
1. Online platform and other sales options
What platform will you use to sell your bows? Shopify? Etsy? Facebook group? In person? There are many options.
- Consider the fees associated, the marketing capabilities and how easy it is to shop. Maybe you have been making bows for friends and family as gifts and now realize how lucrative selling your products could be. Or maybe you've been selling to a wider audience via Facebook and you are ready to take the next step towards a more formal business.
- What are your goals for your business? A simple business plan will help you identify your priorities, challenges, potential costs and so much more.
- Take your time to review each option and determine the next best step. It doesn't have to be forever but rather something you find easy to work with (and that won't require fees so high that you aren't profiting enough. After all, that is the goal).
- Partnering with a local business is an excellent way to get your brand name out there in your community. Selling locally as well as online expands your customer base and reaches a wider audience.
While this might sound stressful, accounting for a small business doesn't have to be! Platforms like Shopify can simplify the back end of a business and summarize the profits for you. Even if you choose to stick to Facebook groups or other similar methods of selling, check out online programs like QuickBooks that make accounting easy and won't cost you more than necessary.
3. Pricing and cost consideration
Now you need to decide how much you will charge customers for your bows. Let's take cheer bows, for example. Say you list your cheer bows sell for $9 - $12 per bow. Costs to consider are supplies (ribbon, clips, hair ties, zip ties, embellishments, etc), packaging, shipping costs, platform and other set up fees. Don't forget to take into consideration the time you will spend to operate this business!
Let’s say you buy 50 yards of grosgrain ribbon for $38.50 from the RABOM website. With 50 yards, you can make 60 bows. If you sell each bow for $10 you can make more than $500 in profit after accounting for the initial expenses.
4. Photography and Design
When choosing to sell online, it’s important to make sure your product images are professional, clean, and clear. It’s easy for customers to tell the difference between a high quality image and a hastily-made, low quality image.
Here is an example of a high quality image with bright lighting, a neutral background, and a clear angle:
Here is an example of a low quality image with dark lighting, a distracting background, and a distorted angle:
The product photos on your website are what the customer will notice first, so make sure to spend a few extra minutes to make them look professional!
We are all influenced daily by the products that are marketed to us. As you know, advertisements are everywhere! Think about how your ideal customer might find you. Google Ads and partnering with other businesses or influencers who have a wider audience can be useful tools. Fall back on what you know best - self advertising through your social media networks and word of mouth can be powerful!
As you have seen, starting a bow business doesn't have to be stressful – in fact, it should be fun! Selling your bows online is a great way to display your talent and get your brand out there. And the best part of it all is you are doing something you love: crafting! Visit RABOM at our website to shop for all your ribbon needs - we are cheering you on!
Good luck out there future business owners!