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Want to open a bead shop

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  • Want to open a bead shop

    Hi all

    I'm researching the possibility of opening a bead shop at the moment.
    It'd be online and based in Ireland.

    Would love some input and tips/advice?
    What do you look for when buying from an online store?
    Does paypal as a payment option put you off?

    Also, am looking for info on suppliers too.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks in advance

  • #2
    Hi Purplefizz

    This is an extremely competitive market so my first piece of advice would be to research, research, research! Where is there a gap in the market? How would you be different from the many that are already out there? Apart from the cost of buying your stock, what sort of other costs do you need to cover? Can you be competitive once you've added these costs into the equation and still make a profit?

    Are you already part of an offline network of beaders? If so, I think their input would be good as although you've said you want to be online, don't discard the possibility of selling offline, especially if you're not close to such a shop.

    I think it's fair to say that excellent customer service if essential and speedy delivery seems to go down well too.

    I use Paypal in my store and have managed to grow my business with that, however I have received some negative feedback from potential customer who have had problems paying with Paypal or simply don't trust them. As a result I'm now looking to set up with a traditional payment processor. However, Paypal has served me well for getting the business up and running. If you were to look into an alternative you would need a business bank account, an online merchant account and a payment processor - it all starts to get quite complicated!

    I can't help with suppliers but it takes a lot of effort and a very long time to build up a supplier list that offers variety, quality, speed of service and good prices. As a result, it's unlikely that anyone also selling beads will reveal their sources. Try researching trade shows for that industry and even if they're in the UK or elsewhere overseas, make the effort to go as it will be worth it to meet so many in one place, see their products, check the quality, discuss terms of business and gleen all round advice. Wholesalers want you to do well because it's in their interest for to stay open (many businesses don't last their first year, sadly) and order more products in the future and consequently usually offer advice too.

    It's also important to work out how much time you have to put into your business and take this into account with your business model. For example if you're working full time and have 3-4 hours a day to put into it, you might think about marketing yourself as a niche supplier so you sell higher volumes of fewer products so your time doesn't become consumed by dealing with a huge amount of suppliers and you can keep your focus on where it should be - your customers.

    There are other things to thing about like finding software that's scaleable, business plans, marketing, postage, website terms & conditions, tax etc but you could probably get a lot of this from local startup agencies near you.

    Best of luck with your venture if you do indeed decide to go ahead with it!
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    • #3
      I would tread carefully. The market peaked in 2009. I was talking to other sellers at the Lakeland fair last Sunday and they've all been affected by the recession. I know some shops that have closed, others that are considering closing, etc. A lot (but not all of course) beaders are spending less money and less often.
      We had no problems filling our workshops last year but it's another story this year.
      Just make sure you study this and that you have some money to see you through the first year.

      HOWEVER they are so few Irish bead sellers, that that I know of, that you have a local market to grab. Postage from the UK to Ireland (south) is the same as posting to Europe so Irish buyers might welcome you on that basis.
      Bead Shop, 91 Liverpool Road, Penwortham, Preston, PR1 0QB, Lancashire. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-4pm, Sunday 11am-3pm.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bea View Post
        HOWEVER they are so few Irish bead sellers, that that I know of, that you have a local market to grab. Postage from the UK to Ireland (south) is the same as posting to Europe so Irish buyers might welcome you on that basis.
        I was thinking exactly the same thing. We sell card making supplies rather than beads and get a lot of orders from Ireland which makes me think there aren't many Irish based online craft shops. Not sure what the postage costs are for sending parcels inside of Ireland but if it's cheap in comparison to UK-Eire costs that could give you a good selling point to distinguish yourself from all the UK based suppliers.

        Be warned though it is tough out there like Bea says and it takes a lot of work to get your name out there in the first place - there's no point having an online shop if no-one knows about it. Do make sure you do LOTS of research before jumping in as I've seen a huge number of online craft shops disappear over the past few years.
        Visit Natty Netty for a huge selection of Iris Folding supplies


        • #5
          I wish you all the luck in the world with the research in opening a shop.

          Paypal as a payment option would make me want to look and place an order on your on-line store as it makes me feel like I am shopping with a place that wants there customers to feel safe and know they have buyer protection while shopping with them.

          I have paypal on my website and that seems to be the most popular payment method used.

          Other than the paypal logo I also look at the layout, colouring and attractivness of the website. I personally don't like websites that look plan and bland I like them to look vibrant with lots of detail and most of all the theme changes from time to time. I change my theme based on colours for medical condtion awarenesses weeks and if there isn't 2 medical awareness weeks in the one month I leave my webiste one colour for the month. Last month my webiste was different shade of green and it was to raise awareness of ASTHMA and I raised money for ASTHMA UK over May. I only riased £50 but that £50 means the world of difference as it could pay for 1 child to go on camp with them and have fun and leave there paents knowing that there child is in safe hands as ASTHMA UK take medical people with them as well as spare medication incase a child takes ill while away and needs anti-bios or steriods or just needs a dose on a nebuliser


          • #6
            Thank you all so much for your replies - its greatly appreciated.
            As highlighted in the responses, i do see a gap in the Irish market and that's the main reason I'm researching this.

            Personally, I feel comfortable using paypal as a payment option but have been surprised by the amount of ppl that find it a turn off and think its not a "real" store if they only use paypal. I feel its an ideal starting off point though.

            I'm due to begin a SYOB course shortly which will be useful and as for asking for info re suppliers.... that was always a long shot

            Thanks again for the input


            • #7
              I think Ebay is a suitable platform.
              It has a lot of customers.
              You just need to find a stable supplier.
              Supply and wholesale high quality european beads.


              • #8
                And don't forget to do your financial forecasts, and factor in the costs of importing (if you source overseas) - I'm not sure how VAT works in Ireland but over here we have to pay it unless VAT registered, and also there may be import duty on some items from outside the EU. In addition, bank costs over here for making payments abroad (whether in sterling or other currency) can be very high, so find out about this before you start.

                Another suggestion is to look into whether they do bead fairs in Ireland so people can come along to see you and your beads in person. Good luck.


                • #9
                  It's massively competitive. Like the previous comments you really need to look at the competition and your buy prices etc. Margins are thin and clicks are expensive


                  • #10

                    I can' t comment on Ireland but I set up a bead shop just outside Colchester in Essex at the beginning of May. I was initially looking for somewhere to pick and pack my orders from but a gorgeous little shop came up and I just had to have it. I am so pleased I took the plunge..even though I had an established website to fall back on, the shop has exceeded all my expectations. I did have a look around at my local competition but we are all reasonably spaced out and offer slightly different shopping experiences and so far there seems to be enough to go round. I use paypal on my site but you must have the facility to take a credit/debit card in your shop....nobody seems to carry cash these days and cheque guarantee cards are being phased out. I hope that helps a little..