Hi, this is Kara, from Kailo Chic and I am here to share the pros and cons of selling online that I have learned over the past 14 years in business.
Kailo Chic started in February 2005. I had just graduated from UT with a degree in Chemical Engineering and was ready to start working. After the first week at my new post college job, I freaked out and quit. Not the smartest thing to do, but I was scared and couldn’t imagine myself working in a lab for the next 40 years.
So, there I was fresh out of college, without a job, and without money. As luck would have it, I was also planning my wedding. Why luck you ask? Well, the day I went to the fabric store to find the pattern for my wedding dress (my grandmother was making my dress for me), I ended up finding a cool handbag pattern! So with the few bucks I had left, I purchased the pattern along with a little bit of fabric and went home to sew up some new bags.
Now, I was actively searching for a new job, but in the meantime, I was home all day with no money and needed some hobby to occupy my time. That is were the sewing began. With my little sewing machine I got as a high school graduation present, some scrap fabric, and that little handbag pattern, I started what would eventually become Kailo Chic.
Cut to 14 years later… Kailo Chic is a nation wide brand and I get to do what I love! I work for myself full time and I get to spend all day with our children. Life is great! And to think it all started when I quit my first real job on a whim with no idea what I was going to do for a living.
Everything you need is available online! It’s something you hear quite often. That brick and mortar stores are slowly dying and it’s all about the online sales channels now. While that might be partially true, I am here to share the pros and cons of selling online that I have learned over the past 14 years in business.
I started my company as an online only retailer. I hand made bags and women’s accessories and sold them online through my website that I created. Through my 14 years in business, I have stayed primarily an online retailer. Why? Because of all the benefits of selling online! The first and foremost being that you can quite literally work from anywhere. When selling online you aren’t tied to one location like you would be in a brick and mortar store, your office is your computer and your computer can travel with you anywhere. I have sold my designs online while picking my kids up from school, while sitting on the couch, and even while overseas on a vacation with my husband. That freedom is worth its weight in gold.
Not only are you able to work from anywhere, but you can also sell to anyone. When selling in person at a craft show or in a retail space, you are limited to selling only to those who are actually in the store or at the craft show. But when selling online, the whole world is your next potential customer. That means more potential customers and more sales!
Another pro of selling online is that there is very little overhead. With a retail space, you have to pay for the rent, employees, and utilities. Not to mention stocking the store with inventory. Which requires a large upfront investment. Selling online means little to none of that. You can easily set up an online shop with a shopping cart builder or use a platform like Amazon or Etsy to start selling immediately. Not only that, but you can get away with drop shipping to customers or carrying minimal inventory since you don’t have to fill a physical shop with products.
On the other hand, there are a few cons to selling online. The biggest being that you can’t have that personal face to face interaction with the customer. You can’t talk to them about the products and tell them the story behind your brand. That interaction can be key to seeing what your customers like, what they are drawn to, and getting their feedback on your products.
Another con of selling online is having to handle shipping of the products to the customer. With shipping rates constantly on the rise, customers can be swayed to not purchase if the shipping price is too high. That leaves you either having to eat some of the shipping costs or loosing the sale. Not to mention the actual packing of the orders, creating the shipping labels, dropping off or scheduling pick ups for the shipments, and handling returns. This is extra work that you don’t have when selling at a craft show or in a brick and mortar shop.
All in all with the way buyers shop and the trends of the market, it’s best to try selling online first. Then if you feel you have established your brand and business, consider taking it outside your home and selling in person either at a show, on consignment in a shop, or making the leap to opening your own store. But whatever you choose, be sure to give it your all and get those customers coming back for more!
Check out these other articles about selling online and tips for your online business.
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Darice was founded in 1954, by Pat Catan, an entrepreneur from humble beginnings who valued hard work and dedication. Today, Darice Inc. is a premier manufacturer and wholesale distributor in the craft industry.