Personalized items give people the opportunity to add something special to their gifts, which makes them a popular alternative to off-the-shelf gifts. You can turn the popularity of personalized items into a money-making venture.
Choose a Class of Items
You can personalize everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs and jewelry, but the equipment and material cost go up with every type of item you personalize. Custom T-shirts require silk screen printing equipment, which ranges from fairly affordable to extremely expensive, and it also requires inks and a steady supply of T-shirts. Custom coffee mugs usually call for sublimation heat transfer presses to work in any kind of volume. By picking one niche to start in, you limit your upfront costs and risks.
Once you select a niche and purchase the equipment, you still need a supplier for your T-shirts, mugs or the item of your choice. Since paying retail for those materials requires you to charge your customers prohibitively high prices, you need a wholesaler. According to "Entrepreneur" magazine, most small businesses purchase bulk supplies from distributors, and you can probably find one in your area.
Marketing and Sales
Because this industry is densely population, you can't simply say you offer personalized and custom items and expect business to appear. Set up a website and do some marketing to reach your target customers. You can work through an existing e-commerce platform, as they often prove easier to set up and give you access to an existing customer base. Although these platforms deal with the problems of payment processing and managing information technology, you do give up a measure of control and usually pay a percentage in commissions. To attract customers to your storefront, expect to purchase advertising space on other sites or through a pay-per-click advertiser. You can also encourage customers, friends and family to spread the word for in-person transactions.
- Photo Credit MASH/Photodisc/Getty Images
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