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So I was contacted by the owner of an online boutique based in New York. It's basically a site that helps emerging designers sell their products and services. (sorta like Unsungdesigners.com) They wanted to have me as one of their feature designers, among a few others. We talked on the phone and he mentioned that they will have fashion show that will showcase their featured designers' signature collections. Which is great, and I'd love this opportunity to build my portfolio!

However, there is a monthly fee of $80 [month by month payment] to have access to the website boutique to sell my product, but I get to use their free shipping system and also stay in touch with their marketing, pr, connections, celebs, etc.

But he said something about how the fashion week show most designers would pay like $600-$1000 to be a part of, which I won't be doing, because featured designers are waived. However, the only part that confuses me is the $80 per month deal. Which I don't mind because compared to some online boutiques they usually charge a percentage from what you sell, and I could sell up to 1000.00 worth and only have paid $80 for the site.

Anyway, I don't know what to do, because this site is still new, and I don't want to get conned. It seems a bit risky. I tried finding a contact with the other designers. And I tried looking up their credits, which consisted of a few shows. And I have to give the guy an answer within the next two days to secure my spot at fashion week. (since they're fairly new, I'm not expecting fashion week to be a huge exposure, just that it'd be a great addition to building my portfolio though.)

What do you think? What questions should I ask the guy? Please let me know if you've had experience with online boutiques, fashion week, etc. I'd appreciate any advice given. Thanks.

~mits

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This is just my two cents, so take it or leave it.

You shouldn't have to pay a fee to sell your product in a boutique, whether it's online, or brick and mortar. If it's an online boutique, they usually take a cut of what you sell, or buy product outright and sell it on their own, much like a brick and mortar business. If it's an e-commerce site, that's a different story. You'll pay a fee for the service, then selling is entirely up to you. I wouldn't pay $80 a month to trust someone else to promote my product. Nobody is going to promote my product as well as I, because only I have a vested interest in my success. Is this making sense? I think there's been a new wave of sites like this that promise to give you business and exposure, but the truth is these sites are a dime a dozen, so you need to be really selective. Do your research and find maybe 3 or 4 sites that you know are the right fit for your brand and pursue them. The successful sites won't be knocking down your door, you will have to seek them out.

With that said, I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a chance on a newer site. We're all trying to be successful and need the support of other new brands and websites. However, charging $80/month isn't the way to do it, in my opinion. If they are a new site trying to help designers, they should re-structure their method and maybe do commission based selling. What's the motivation for them to actually move product if they're making money of the monthly fee rather than sales?

Let me know what you decide to do, I'm curious how it would work out. What is the site, anyway?
Hello ALL!! Thank you so much for your responses! Sorry I haven't been on here in a while, just finished a project and finally got a chance to catch up on some Z's.

So the update on my decision, well I've decided not to answer their calls. Honestly, I talked to them twice. First time was with the owner/creator of the site, but I didn't have much questions as he was doing most of the talking. So I told him I'm going to sleep on it and if he could give me a call the next day. So the next day his assistant called me, and I kinda bombarded her with lots of questions. Like, "what is the date of Fashion week you guys are talking about?" (which she said was the 8th of Feb which is a Lie. Mercedes Benz fashion week is not even close to that date.) And then I asked about traffic flow and she only gave me vague answers and switched the topic to how I have control of my part of the site and posting pictures blah blah blah. I asked about their credits and press and she just mentioned a bunch of C-list celebs off of reality tv shows. Then I asked her "who are your buyers for fashion week?" and she was like, "umm actually I don't know yet, sorry I'm kinda new here I just started 2 weeks ago, but as soon as I find out I'll get back to you on that." and then the conversation pretty much fizzled from there on. So yes, I already decided not to go through with it after my 2nd convo with her about a month ago. I've heard of sites preying on start up designers like this. And the 80 dollar deal was already a red flag in my mind. I've decided to just continue to build my port, work on custom orders, and promote and market myself through word of mouth. I'm still looking around for boutiques, but in the mean time I know better what to look out for now. Thanks you all for your advice and taking the time. I greatly appreciate it. Wish you a Happy Holiday. :D :D :D


~mitsou
hi my name is sengpenchen and i wanted to know do you make all of your garments by hand or did you hair some one to help with putting them together?
Hi. Yes I do make my clothes by hand. From start to finish. I've learned how to sew from my mother and grandmother. ;)
I am cautious by nature... If they are "new" as you stated, what does their online boutique really offer for $80. per month?

How much traffic does their site receive?
Do they guarantee a certain number of sales for you?

If they are new and do not have much traffic on their site, would it be better to use that $80. per month to develop your own website to display your product? $80. times 12 months = enough money to create your own site...

I do not sell online so I do not have my own shopping cart system, but I am fairly certain that their is nearly a zillion choices... go to google and try search for "shopping cart software" or "e-commerce software". You can also try sites like Etsy I have not used that site, but have heard good things.

It is very possible that the company you contacted is very legit. However, it is really difficult to know for sure. You will have to research them and make your own judgement..

What fashion week are they talking about in New York? Are they putting on their own show? I am assuming that they are NOT talking about the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NY. If they are putting on their own show, what buyers attend the show? What media companies attend?

My biggest concern from your statements is that "the site is new". If they are new, do they really have more to offer then you can do yourself. The internet is a HUGE place. If their site is new, they may not get any more traffic then you could obtain on your own.

You are welcome to create a free listing on some of my directories. For example, Women's Fashion Directory and Fashion Boutique Directory. Those sites are still super "small", but it is free.. Certainly do NOT rely on those sites, but if you find numerous small sites to create listings, you can eventually make a mark.

Good luck. Sorry, I am may not have made much sense.. I am really tired...
Hello ALL!! Thank you so much for your responses! Sorry I haven't been on here in a while, just finished a project and finally got a chance to catch up on some Z's.

So the update on my decision, well I've decided not to answer their calls. Honestly, I talked to them twice. First time was with the owner/creator of the site, but I didn't have much questions as he was doing most of the talking. So I told him I'm going to sleep on it and if he could give me a call the next day. So the next day his assistant called me, and I kinda bombarded her with lots of questions. Like, "what is the date of Fashion week you guys are talking about?" (which she said was the 8th of Feb which is a Lie. Mercedes Benz fashion week is not even close to that date.) And then I asked about traffic flow and she only gave me vague answers and switched the topic to how I have control of my part of the site and posting pictures blah blah blah. I asked about their credits and press and she just mentioned a bunch of C-list celebs off of reality tv shows. Then I asked her "who are your buyers for fashion week?" and she was like, "umm actually I don't know yet, sorry I'm kinda new here I just started 2 weeks ago, but as soon as I find out I'll get back to you on that." and then the conversation pretty much fizzled from there on. So yes, I already decided not to go through with it after my 2nd convo with her about a month ago. I've heard of sites preying on start up designers like this. And the 80 dollar deal was already a red flag in my mind. I've decided to just continue to build my port, work on custom orders, and promote and market myself through word of mouth. I'm still looking around for boutiques, but in the mean time I know better what to look out for now. Thanks you all for your advice and taking the time. I greatly appreciate it. Wish you a Happy Holiday. :D :D :D


~mitsou
Hello ALL!! Thank you so much for your responses! Sorry I haven't been on here in a while, just finished a project and finally got a chance to catch up on some Z's.

So the update on my decision, well I've decided not to answer their calls. Honestly, I talked to them twice. First time was with the owner/creator of the site, but I didn't have much questions as he was doing most of the talking. So I told him I'm going to sleep on it and if he could give me a call the next day. So the next day his assistant called me, and I kinda bombarded her with lots of questions. Like, "what is the date of Fashion week you guys are talking about?" (which she said was the 8th of Feb which is a Lie. Mercedes Benz fashion week is not even close to that date.) And then I asked about traffic flow and she only gave me vague answers and switched the topic to how I have control of my part of the site and posting pictures blah blah blah. I asked about their credits and press and she just mentioned a bunch of C-list celebs off of reality tv shows. Then I asked her "who are your buyers for fashion week?" and she was like, "umm actually I don't know yet, sorry I'm kinda new here I just started 2 weeks ago, but as soon as I find out I'll get back to you on that." and then the conversation pretty much fizzled from there on. So yes, I already decided not to go through with it after my 2nd convo with her about a month ago. I've heard of sites preying on start up designers like this. And the 80 dollar deal was already a red flag in my mind. I've decided to just continue to build my port, work on custom orders, and promote and market myself through word of mouth. I'm still looking around for boutiques, but in the mean time I know better what to look out for now. Thanks you all for your advice and taking the time. I greatly appreciate it. Wish you a Happy Holiday. :D :D :D


~mitsou

 build your own site ... sell your own stuff ...market yourself ... good designers always get suckered in by people that have no talent just business sence as a designer YOU ALWAYS HAVE THE UPPER HAND because people will want what you have ...

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