How to start an online lingerie business

Online lingerie stores are quite popular. There is little difference between a quality online lingerie store and a bricks-and-mortar store, especially since most stores do not allow people to try on lingerie before buying. From basic, bargain lingerie to the high quality, more expensive brands, customers can shop from the privacy of their homes via the Internet. Knowledge of your target market, clear photos for potential customers, and accurate sizing guides will help you build a successful online lingerie business.

Choose a niche for your lingerie store. All lingerie buyers are not the same. You may want to focus on selling very risque styles, modest styles, bridal lingerie, luxury and designer lingerie, basic everyday products, or lingerie for exotic dancers.

Obtain an assumed name certificate, or DBA. You will also need to get a tax identification number from your state in order to establish wholesale accounts and collect taxes from orders shipped within your state.

Determine whether you want to buy your inventory wholesale or use a dropshipper. Dropshipping is cheaper, but be aware that you will make much less profit from the lingerie you sell, will have no control on the quality of packaging or speed of shipping, and will be carrying merchandise (and using photos) that other competitors using dropshippers will have their on websites--this is due to the fact that there are very few lingerie dropshippers available.

Decide where you will store your inventory if you decide to purchase lingerie wholesale. A closet free of sunlight, pets, and odours, a small rented storage unit in a climate-controlled facility, or a warehouse with temperature controls will work. The space size you choose will depend upon how much inventory you want to start out with.

Buy a domain name from a company such as 1 And 1 or Go Daddy. Find an e-commerce platform or solution such as Pro Stores, Core Commerce, BuyItSellIt, or Shopify.

Establish wholesale accounts with lingerie distributors, if you will be buying wholesale. Wholesale lingerie suppliers include Lovely Planet, Dear Lover, Sensual Mystique, Lingerie Mart, and The Lingerie Center. You will need to place an initial minimum order, typically ranging from £97 to £325.

Buy lingerie accessories and hangers from a company such as Display Warehouse. Packaging and shipping supplies can be purchased from a retailer such as Nashville Wraps.

Decide whether you will use your supplier's photos on your website or take your own--if dropshipping, you will be limited to your supplier's photos. If you want your own unique photos, you will need to get a few models and a photographer. Search for local models on sites such as One Model Place or Model Mayhem. To save start-up costs, see if the models will take the lingerie they model as compensation. Some photographers will agree to add the photos to their portfolio as compensation.

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