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We are 2 fashion students planning to launch a transactional website for children clothing. What are the main things we need to consider?

How do we get brands to allow us to sell their merchandise on our website and what is the best way to build up a reliable supplier base? How much money do you think we need to invest?

Children’s cloths are a good market to be in, but a highly competitive one too. You will be competing against the likes of Mothercare, Next, JD Williams or Littlewoods. These are big players and don’t underestimate their marketing budgets. So first I would find a niche that you can exploit. Then getting the right brands on board won’t be much of a problem. The question you have to ask yourselves is: Do you really want to dive into the tasks of fulfilment, customer service, order and stock management, warehousing etc. or might it be better to launch an affiliate site where you simply go to the different affiliate networks and try to sign up to the brands you like. If the brands are reasonably large and trade online, chances are they are with one of the big three networks. You won’t have all the trouble of logistics and trading but could focus on generating great content for your target audience, drive marketing to your site and get money from “selling” the brands you like. Setting up a well designed, fully functional e-com site can set you back anything between £30k and £150k, really there is no limit. An affiliate site could come in at £10k-£40k depending on the level of integration and control you want to have over the content and gizmos you want to use (Flash based catalogue etc.).

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