Eco-friendly products for Families shop - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 04-19-2011, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just posted something about how I am struggling to get things off the ground, here, but I saw another thread about cloth diaper online shops so I thought I would ask for opinions.

 

I am launching a store that will sell eco-friendly products for families. I haven't seen any good stores that you can go to and buy only green products. It is such a PITA to find these products. I know there are some really HUGE green shopping sites out there but they honestly sometimes overwhelm me and they focus on things like solar panels. I have spent HOURS sifting through info in order to figure out which brands are safe and "green" and then trying to figure out the best place to buy them from. Most people don't have the time to do this, but I did it before deciding I had enough knowledge to launch a site like this. I am definitely going to have a website that covers things like cloth diapers, green cleaning products, organic gardening, reusable products instead of disposable, etc. and then a separate shop where you can buy those safer, eco-friendly products.  I'm also going to do videos reviewing most of the products I am selling or showing how they work. I'll probably put the videos on both the shop site and info site. 

 

Do you think this is a good idea? What would the shop have to offer for it to be somewhere you think people would want to shop from?

I might also do ads / affiliate links on the info site itself to generate income. If the shop doesn't work out then at least I might be able to make an income from all the articles I have written..

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#2 of 12 Old 05-26-2011, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any thoughts?

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#3 of 12 Old 05-26-2011, 06:34 PM
 
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I think it's a great idea.

Sounds like a big endeavor, but if you build a bit at a time, it should be very fruitful!


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#4 of 12 Old 05-26-2011, 07:52 PM
 
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Cool idea but a HUGE undertaking.  Couple of thoughts.  Be sure you are clear who your target customer is and how you will reach them, websites and stores have very different marketing plans. 

 

Also, it will probably be necessary to do one thing at a time (a website then a store or vice versa--they really are like having two separate businesses).  Keep in mind that for your sanity you'll probably need an inventory system that can track both and that's $$. 

 

Videos are a lot of work--more than they seem like they should be if you're going to do them well.  I've lost track of how much time we've put into videos and we only have 25 up.

 

Not trying to be negative, just honest :)  If you can find a way to start small and grow that's generally best unless you have a huge amount of capital to invest up front.


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#5 of 12 Old 05-27-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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It is a lot of work.  2 FT jobs, at least, but you need to not pay yourself for awhile.  I am always the negative nancy here, but it's true.


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#6 of 12 Old 05-27-2011, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does it sound like it could be profitable, though? I guess I will have to start small, then. I am going to focus on the info site, and then add the store later then. Thanks for the advice so far!

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#7 of 12 Old 05-27-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliope84 View Post

Does it sound like it could be profitable, though? I am going to target young families with kids. In fact the store is Eco Chic Family.

I guess I will have to start small, then. I am going to focus on b-ecochic.com...the info site, and then add the store later then. Thanks for the advice so far!



I think that's a really good idea.  It will get you experience managing a website (including SEO) with limited start up costs.  It will also give you a chance to start gathering statistics and feedback as to what products people are interested in, etc.  You'll be able to see what pages are hitting Google effectively, which ones get passed around Facebook, etc.  Until you sell products yourself, you may be able to become an affiliate for places that do and bring in a little money on the side.

 

As to whether it can be profitable, that's a tough question that's ultimately dependent on how high the demand level really is, whether you can compete with existing companies with established traffic, the margins you have on products and how well you can keep your costs under control.  It's a challenge for sure!


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#8 of 12 Old 05-27-2011, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that's a really good idea.  It will get you experience managing a website (including SEO) with limited start up costs.  It will also give you a chance to start gathering statistics and feedback as to what products people are interested in, etc.  You'll be able to see what pages are hitting Google effectively, which ones get passed around Facebook, etc.  Until you sell products yourself, you may be able to become an affiliate for places that do and bring in a little money on the side.

 

As to whether it can be profitable, that's a tough question that's ultimately dependent on how high the demand level really is, whether you can compete with existing companies with established traffic, the margins you have on products and how well you can keep your costs under control.  It's a challenge for sure!


Very true! Do you think free shipping is a must these days? I know I will leave a site sometimes if I can get free shipping elsewhere. I just wonder if that cuts into the profits quite a bit.

 

 

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#9 of 12 Old 05-27-2011, 11:43 AM
 
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Very true! Do you think free shipping is a must these days? I know I will leave a site sometimes if I can get free shipping elsewhere. I just wonder if that cuts into the profits quite a bit.

 

 


Free shipping = the nightmare for every small business owner LOL.  It's getting harder not to offer it yet I don't know many small businesses who can (shipping rates are generally negotiated so Amazon is likely paying 75% less than I am to ship something).  We have had good luck with flat rate shipping (currently $3.99 but I'm looking at bumping it up to $4.99).  In the end though it probably just depends on what your competitors are doing.  If they're offering it, you may have to to be competitive.

 


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#10 of 12 Old 05-27-2011, 12:35 PM
 
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One more thing about shipping rates...it's much more costly to be located on an extreme end of the US (we're in Oregon for example).  Shipping stuff to the east coast for example is insanely costly and that has to be factored in.  If you're in the middle of the country, it's way less costly to ship but since it looks like you're in Florida, you'll likely have the same issue we do.


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#11 of 12 Old 05-27-2011, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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One more thing about shipping rates...it's much more costly to be located on an extreme end of the US (we're in Oregon for example).  Shipping stuff to the east coast for example is insanely costly and that has to be factored in.  If you're in the middle of the country, it's way less costly to ship but since it looks like you're in Florida, you'll likely have the same issue we do.



Hmm.. hadn't thought of that. I didn't open a store when I was in Hawaii because there it was super expensive to ship. What about offering flat rate and then free shipping on orders over $50 or $75? Some of my products might need to be dropshipped at first, and my supplier does get to negotiate good prices and is in the middle of the country!

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#12 of 12 Old 05-27-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliope84 View Post




Very true! Do you think free shipping is a must these days? I know I will leave a site sometimes if I can get free shipping elsewhere. I just wonder if that cuts into the profits quite a bit.

 

 



It is a must in my business, and in almost all industries.  The rule used to be, if you can't get the product anywhere else, you can charge for shipping.  But now even LL Bean and Gap (make their own products) offer free shipping.  It is a huge part of the profits and makes things very hard. 


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