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05 September 2023 • Resources

How to start a purse business: A step-by-step guide with helpful tips

How to start a purse business: A step-by-step guide with helpful tips

Do you dream of launching your own purse business?

This dream can become reality if you give yourself the means to achieve your ambitions and follow the essential steps for creating your own business selling handbags.

Vegan leather, recycled canvas, innovative materials, a capsule collection in limited quantities with a unique design... Rarity, quality, and choice of raw materials will be central to attracting as many shoppers as possibles, consumers who are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to fashion and trends.

What's more, you'll need to surround yourself with the best solutions and IT tools to make your dream come true. Whether you want to launch a physical boutique or an online store, follow this guide to boost your chances of success!

Starting a purse business: Before you begin selling handbags

Is selling bags online profitable?

Selling bags on the internet can indeed be profitable, but success depends on various factors. First, the demand for handbags is generally consistent, offering a steady market. However, profitability can be influenced by factors such as competition, pricing strategy, product quality, and marketing efforts. High competition may require unique designs or niche targeting to stand out.

Pricing should balance attracting customers and covering costs. Ensuring good product quality builds trust and leads to repeat business.

Marketing plays a vital role; effective digital strategies can boost visibility and sales. Shipping and fulfillment costs must be optimized to maintain profitability. Remember that customer service and reviews impact reputation. What's more, adapting to trends and utilizing social media can enhance exposure.

In summary, although selling bags on the internet can be profitable, strategic decision-making, product differentiation, quality, and a customer-focused approach are essential to succeed in this competitive market.

What should you consider in purse design?

When launching your own purse business, you can opt to sell handbags made by other brands or those you create yourself. If the second option is more appealing to you, keep in mind that designing purses requires creativity, functionality, and attention to detail.

Here are some elements to consider to help you produce unique and appealing purse designs:

  • Functionality: Balance aesthetics with practicality. Think about the purpose of the purse, its compartments, closures, and ease of use.
  • Materials: Choose quality materials that match the intended style and function of the handbag. Leather, canvas, or vegan options offer various looks.
  • Shape and Size: Experiment with different shapes and sizes. Consider versatile options that can transition from day to evening use.
  • Hardware and embellishments: Select hardware like zippers, clasps, and studs that complement the design. Embellishments can add uniqueness.
  • Color palette: Choose a cohesive color palette that resonates with the vision you have for your business and appeals to your target audience.
  • Details and accents: Pay attention to stitching, lining, and other small details that enhance the handbag's overall quality and aesthetics.

Note that designing purses is a blend of artistic expression and practical design principles. Strive to create pieces that are not only visually appealing but also enhance the lives of those who use them.

How do you set up a handbag business from home?

First of all, in order to launch a purse line and start a business from home, you need to set up your business. To do this, there are a number of business structures that will enable you to sell bags on the internet, with the options available to you depending on your specific location.

For example, in the US, a sole proprietorship can be suitable for starting a purse business due to its simplicity and low startup costs. However, keep in mind that it doesn't provide liability protection, and your personal assets are at risk. Consider factors like potential growth, legal liability, and long-term goals before choosing this structure.

A limited liability company (LLC) is another favorable option. This business structure offers liability protection for your personal assets, separates business and personal finances, and simplifies taxation. As an LLC owner, you're not personally liable for the company's debts or legal issues.

This structure also allows flexibility in management and can be owned by a single member or multiple owners. What's more it doesn't require extensive formalities, making it advantageous for small businesses. 

Consulting legal and financial professionals is advisable to ensure you choose a structure that aligns with your purse business's needs and aspirations.

How do you find suppliers?

As mentioned earlier, to begin your own purse business, you have two options: creating your own designs or selling third-party designer pieces. 

In the first case, if you want to create your own designs, you'll need to draw your bag designs, find the materials best suited to your creations (from a wholesaler, for example), find the craftspeople and designers who can help you assemble your bags, and then produce your prototypes until you sell your pieces.

There are numerous trade shows, such as Première Vision in Paris, where you can meet the most qualified craftspeople in France.

If you want to sell other designers' handbags, you'll have to look for the best product to offer at your point of sale, whether at trade shows like Who's Next or TraNoï in Paris, for instance.

With both strategies, it'll be important for you to think about how much inventory you need to start your boutique or launch your business as this is going to affect the materials or merchandise you'll have to obtain from your suppliers.

There's another way to sell products created by third parties under your own brand: suppliers can work with you on a white-label basis, allowing you to put your name on their models. This commercial system exists in ecommerce, but also in dropshipping, in which case it's up to the suppliers to manage the logistics between your customers and your website.

How do you create a brand and stand out from the crowd?

Creating a brand isn't just about entering a market in the short term. Creating a brand is, of course, about finding good products to sell in your market, but above all, it's about imposing your vision and unique creations on a specific target audience.

Competition is fierce, especially in the world of handbags: to be able to propose your vision and succeed in your sales objectives, you'll need to come up with a unique business name, craft a recognizable logo, and tell your story in your own way to inspire consumers to discover your world.

Next, your marketing and communications plan will be crucial to giving visibility to your creations. Take inspiration from the success stories of brands born on the internet, also known as digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) to build your image: these examples are often very inspiring and full of innovative ideas to help you stand out from the crowd.

How do you get started selling purses?

Conduct market research

The first step in setting up any kind of business is market research. Why? Because this highly detailed work involving the environment in which your future business will operate provides all the information that characterizes the sector: target customer, buying habits, competition, innovation, history, materials used, newest trends, services offered by brands, etc.

In addition, market research involving the fashion industry will play an important role in enabling you to understand all the important aesthetic details: design, creation, shape of the ideal product, competitors' business model, place of manufacture and production of products, choice of current colors, materials used, type of leather, etc. Your market analysis is the foundation stone of your future brand.

This study is the cornerstone of your professional project: it mustn't be left to chance.

Join a leather goods franchise

As we saw earlier, to create your own bag brand, you can sell products from other brands or your own creations, provided you know your market well.

Some retailers choose to start by selling handbags as part of a franchise, as this allows them to test the market in a physical boutique and understand the expectations of local customers.

It can also be a beneficial source of training: the entrepreneur will benefit from all the knowledge and resources of the franchise, and they'll be able to use them in the service of their future handbag brand.

Franchising is therefore a step in the right direction for a purse-creation project: it's not compulsory, but it can be a temporary solution for long-term success.

Create an independent business to sell your purses

As we said, you can go straight into creating your own bags, and thus start your own boutique.

To do this, you'll need to build up a large stock of handbags before you can start selling your products. Also, you should have built up a unique brand image and a communication plan that'll allow your creations to shine, whether in a physical boutique or on the internet.

As a first step, we advise you to test your creations on a panel of target customers: you might start out with your family and friends, later approaching the physical retail stores around you to discuss customers' needs and even leaving a few products to test their popularity directly?

On the digital side, you can start by creating social networks fed with photo and video content featuring your products, perhaps also devising an online advertising strategy to get these images in front of your target audience. There are many examples of brands that have launched themselves solely on social networks, and today have become key players in the fashion world: anything is possible!

Launch partnerships with influential figures

In the fashion world, influencers and public figures can give a boost to young brands just starting out and in the early stages of developing their companies: that's why you might want to include an influencer marketing strategy in your communication plan.

You have two options:

  • You can try to contact internet influencers or influencer marketing agencies directly, in an attempt to build visibility partnerships.
  • You can contact communication agencies for your brand, who will take care of contacting their database to spread the word about your business. In this case, the agencies will also be able to make you known to the press and journalists in the sector. A boost to your visibility can only be beneficial to your brand's launch!

Set up your online sales site

Once your first prototypes are in production, and you've built up a stock of products that will enable you to start making a profit, then it's time to launch your store on the internet.

The advantage of launching an ecommerce business is that the cost to start an online boutique generally won't require you to spend as much money as you would setting up a physical store: you can concentrate on selling your products and marketing.

With the WiziShop solution, you'll be able to start an online boutique and begin selling your purses without delay and without any need for IT knowledge: we'll take care of all your site maintenance and the integration of all the tools you need to succeed in ecommerce.

In addition, 400+ ecommerce features, 50+ SEO optimizations, a team of business coaches at your service, and free ecommerce training await you with your WiziShop subscription.

What's more, if you want to stand out from the competition, you'll be able to set up an ecommerce site that reflects your vision, thanks to our super-easy website customization. Simply click and drag all the modules of your choice to build the ideal online store for your products.

You'll also be able to take advantage of our exciting AI tool to save you time in generating a variety of texts for your website: product descriptions, titles, meta descriptions, reformulations, blog articles, and more!

Don't wait any longer! Launch your own purse business and sell collections on your WiziShop store: test the ecommerce solution with a 3-day free trial and start making your dream come true.

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