Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Anna Hirsch
The handbag business is a highly competitive one, as are most fashion and fashion accessory businesses. It will require careful planning as well as excellent execution in order to create and run a successful business. Whether you are designing your own custom handbags or retailing top designer bags, it is imperative that you understand your customers, the faction market and business. The first step in designing your business is to create a solid business plan.
There are two primary types of handbag businesses: design and manufacture, and retail. If you are focused on designing and creating handcrafted bags, your business planning will need to include securing suppliers for high quality raw materials, as well as the time necessary to make your creations. Retail sales of other designers' handbags requires storing inventory. Your goal should be to carry as little inventory as possible, be able to quickly order more of high selling items and get rid of slow sellers.
If you are designing and manufacturing handbags, you will need to arrange for retail distribution. It can take years of persistence to get your bags carried in national retail chains, but you can start small with a website, Amazon.com, or placement in local boutiques. As a handbag retailer, you should have a keen eye for spotting future trends.
Calculate all of your costs before you begin. It is easy to forget about overhead expenses, such as legal fees for drawing retail contracts, replacement of tools, such as sewing machine needles, photography for each of your new handbag designs and packaging for shipping. Have an adviser, such as a volunteer from the Small Business Administration, go over your budget with you.
Beware counterfeiters. Ensure that your suppliers of retail bags are scrupulous about providing proof of authenticity. It's your store's reputation on the line whenever a customer buys from you, so do your homework. As a designer, you must protect your designs both for the sake of your reputation and for your copyrights and trademarks. The law may require that you attempt to prosecute infringements, or you may lose the rights to your design.
While most business owners hope to turn their ideas into gold, it's smart business to accurately judge the potential of your company before you start. Calculate how many bags you have the capacity to make or to sell per year, given your current manufacturing or retail distribution ability.
Evangeline Marzec is a management consultant to small high-tech companies, and has been in the video games industry since 2004. As a published writer since 1998, she has contributed articles and short stories to web and print media, including eHow and Timewinder. She holds a Master of Business Adminstration from Thunderbird School of Global Management.