While the business world has adopted “office casual” dress, high-profile corporations offering big salaries and bigger titles continue to employ a segment of women who are religious about wearing pantyhose to maintain their status and image. Job interviews? You’ll find pantyhose there--and at formal affairs. In the on-again off-again world of fashion, you can rest assured that pantyhose are going to be around for the long haul, so seize this opportunity to turn that probability into a cyber business—one that will pay your bills while offering this dividend: Operate out of your home and you may never again have to wear the product you sell.
Things You'll Need
- Website designer
- Pantyhose manufacturers
- Business plan
- Marketing plan
- Storage/fulfillment facility
Write a business plan that outlines your ambitions for your pantyhose website. Set a start-up budget to cover site design and development; figure out how you will handle order-taking, fulfillment and shipping tasks; do some careful calculations to ascertain what it will take to break even so you can buy in bulk and then price and ship your pantyhose within that window.
Know the market. Learn all you can about materials, sizing, features and qualities of pantyhose to identify quality product from poorly made goods that can undermine your business because they rip, tear, don’t wash or don't fit well. Learn to identify fabric well enough to differentiate Lycra® (a DuPont® elastin that’s used in about half the manufactured pantyhose in the world) from nylon blends, wool, cotton and other synthetics. Know your way around denier ranges (thickness of the fiber) so you can tell a 50-denier pair of hose from an ultra-sheer 10-denier pair.
Find pantyhose resources using the Internet as your guide. Compare domestic quality and pricing to that of overseas pantyhose suppliers. Request samples of product and either wear them yourself or have others test them out before you choose vendors. Visit websites like Light in the Box and Global Sources (see References below) to get a good idea of the wide range in pricing and quality you’ll find overseas and at home.
Define your market. Target women who buy standard sizes, plus sizes, medically prescribed hose, glamor/lingerie/erotic styles or all of the above. Explain your target market to your website designer so she knows the audience you need to reach. Work with your Web staff to invent a clever site name; clear it to make certain nobody else is using it. Give the designer lots of keywords so copy is salted with them to increase search engine pickup.
Put into place creative marketing and promotional ideas that will attract shoppers. Consider contests, free shipping offers, coupons, friend-get-a-friend marketing, frequent shopper perks and other attention-getting schemes. “Borrow” great marketing ideas from other websites—but steer clear of pantyhose sites to avoid being accused of idea theft.
Draw up policies to govern your website sales. Be particularly cautious about return policies since manufacturers won’t accept returns for hygienic reasons, though most will accept them if you can prove manufacturing defects.
Launch the site and start taking orders. Set aside space in your home or rent a facility to stock, inventory, pack and prepare shipping orders. Keep growing your company so it’s always fresh and exciting for customers.