Bootstrapping My Business

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#1 Post of My Entrepreneurial Journey

It’s Possible!
I’ve done it before and that’s why I think it’s possible. When I was in college, I started an online clothing business. I put a tee design online, promoted it via my social media and see if anyone interested. Then the customers sent me money and wait until there were, at least, another 20 orders of the tee. At that time, there was a minimal amount of tshirt to be to be produced cheaply, which was 24 items per batch. So I printed it 24 and sold the rest. It called preorder. The basic premise is to sold very unique tee design cheaply so the customers want it so bad; they have no other choice but wait for another 20 customers. At a time, I was simultaneously managing up to 6 designs online, which was worth around $1000 (ten times my monthly expense btw). It went on for months until I changed to more profitable business.

The Cause
I am currently working in 8-5 5 days per week office job that pays well. I need extra money for my future plan. I won’t reach my goal if I depend only on my current job. Another thing is I am very interested in building a business. I realized that I have to start somewhere in my life and I think right now is the best time. I am in my mid twenties, have a stable job and not yet married. So if I failed, there’ll enough time to fix it.

I posted my business ideas before, which were:
1. Making a local music magazine
I’ve been thinking about it for sometimes. Writing a local music magazine put me in a saturated market. I believe there’s no demand on another music magazine, since the fans can reach out to the celebs themselves and get the news first hand. So I changed to more niche market which is DIY zine. I’ll write about it another post.
2. Making a P2P lending platform
The problem with this idea is I have no enough resource to start it. Really. I don’t have money, laptop and coding skill. In my current state, it’s impossible to start. I decided to defer it until I have the resources.
3. Making an online shop
I think this is the most feasible idea. I have experience in running online clothing store, I am also fluent in technology. Yet there are still challenges to tackle. For example I still have to figure out how my target market behave in social media, what exactly they want and how I can reach ’em.

 

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The Plan

The idea is the same as my previous attempt, to sold very unique (or hyper niche) tee design cheaply. And then, I thought there were 2 options on how I get the goods:

1. Buy somewhere cheap, or
2. Produce it by myself

To test the first option, I went to Pasar Tanah Abang yesterday. It deemed to be the largest garment market in Southeast Asia. The results are:

1. I can’t find any stuff that even close to my clothing concept
2. There is no competitor in the current market but another online clothing store

For the second option, I am still analyzing the possibility of direct-to-garment printing and dropshipping. Direct-to-garment printing removes the minimal amount of production. It reduces the amount of money I have to invest in one design and open a possibility to test the market with one prototype. Dropshipping is surely more convenient business model for me, since I don’t have to waste my time to do mailings. There’s one printing vendor that can do dropshipping in my neighborhood yet I have to visit.

I am still thinking about the alternatives on how to get the designs. I worked as a designer before but in my current state, it is difficult to produce a decent design. Mind you, I only have a smartphone, a tablet and a pocket camera.

I think that’s all for update about my upcoming biz. I’m gonna post another update if there’s something big happened. Feel free to leave a comment or click the like button!

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