Summary: Since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 forced people to stay home, indoor sports have become significantly popular. More and more people are focusing on buying a pair of cost-effective and suitable sneakers for various indoor activities without going out. At this point, many people who are niche sensitive may have an idea: How to start your private label sneaker business? If you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through the ultimate tutorial to show you how to start and grow!
Why Selling Sneakers?
The biggest event of 2020 was the global outbreak of COVID-19, where people had to stay at home to reduce unnecessary contact and prevent the coronavirus from spreading. To keep healthy, most people opt for indoor running, cycling, biking, yoga practice, etc.
COVID-19 has brought huge losses to people, but there is a potential market opportunity waiting to be captured. As many people have to stay home and head to indoor sports, some might think that selling niche sports equipment that people want is a good idea. Do not! You have overlooked the important fact that there are so many different sports equipment on the market, and then you may need a lot of market research and observation to determine which sporting equipment niche is best.
Can’t we find some common ground in this field? Such as what necessities they need. By going through this, you can find that no matter what people are doing indoor or outdoor sports, both will wear sports shoes; what’s more, all of us need sneakers every day!
If you accept that selling sneakers are a good niche, you might still have such a question as others do: why can’t we just sell the famous branded sneakers/designer shoes? Now find your answer in the following section.
Why Selling Private Label Sneakers?
Comparing the private label shoes, just a newborn baby, the well-known brands or designer shoes are already giants. Even though some of the shoes have become collectibles, many sneakerheads rent a sneaker bot to purchase flash deal shoes on well-known brand official websites and resell these shoes at the original price to earn money.
That’s why some wonder if this isn’t a better way to increase income. To answer this question, I’d like to show you something different before you are going to make the decisions.
First, think about this: Is selling shoes just a hobby and a part-time job, or do you want to create more value by creating your own private label? And then, take this question into your mind and then walk through the below comparisons of reselling giant branded shoes and creating private label shoes.
Pros and Cons of Reselling Giant Branded Shoes
- This is a good business to earn extra money if you got a stable or up-to-date sneaker bot.
- You don’t have to worry about these branded shoes cannot be sold out.
- You’re just a middleman, getting the money difference from this business.
- You may be tired of constantly explaining to customers that the shoes you’re selling are genuine.
- You may need to update the difference between real and fake products constantly.
- Selling shoes without authorization is risky, and the profit is likely to be lost at any time.
No one can guarantee that the sneaker bot will always be up-to-date, and this is unfair competition, so the shoe vendors will fight against these bots to protect the real customers’ rights, which could result in your income not being as much as stable as you’d like.
Pros and Cons of Creating Private Label Shoes
- Customize the shoes with your favorite logo and sell freely without worrying about infringements.
- Register the trademark with your logo and have all related designs printed with your logo.
- You could sell on any business-to-customer platform (B2C) as you have your trademark.
- You could build up your brand’s official website and gather relevant fans to buy from it.
- You can focus only on a lower-competitive category and develop your fans.
- You can set up your distribution network to greatly sell your shoes in the country or worldwide.
- You will have to learn some business skills and be able to handle the stress issue.
- It would be best if you took the time to build your fanbase and make them your first customers.
- You must invest a certain amount of money and maintain a stable capital chain in the early stages.
- Shoe factories have a minimum order quantity; you should generally place your first order following their MOQs.
In general, owning your private-label shoes gives you more freedom. If you have a certain number of fans and can make shoes specifically for their needs, you can start your own business faster and have a more stable and profitable business.
Running your own business has its challenges, but that’s where we need to go into detail in this article. We will explain to you how to develop your private-label shoes through a set of detailed processes for your reference.
Steps To Start An Online Private Label Sneaker Business
Step 1: Sneaker Niche Analysis
Almost every market can be further refined or differentiated based on specific needs and preferences. Determining if it is a niche market can be determined by the following.
- Price (luxury, medium, discount)
- Consumer characteristics (gender, age, income level, education level)
- Quality (quality, handmade, economic fit)
- Psychology (values, interests, attitudes)
- Geographical characteristics (inhabitants of a country, city or even community)
By focusing on a niche market, you can better serve a specific group of consumers, and the competition will be less intense than if you were a large market. If you already have some trending products in mind, you can start with a niche market and dig deeper into niche products with market demand. If you don’t, don’t worry; there are some places where you can easily research before getting started.
- Find buyers’ complaints from social media platforms, e.g., Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
- Find buyers’ negative reviews from e-commerce platforms such as eBay, Amazon, etc.
- Find users’ real reviews from sites like Trustpilot, Sitejabber, etc.
- Find breakthroughs from your family and friends’ feedback.
Remember to write down every complaint or useful review in your notebook, as these contents are useful for helping you design your own styles.
Step 2: Design Your Styles
After completing your research on niche sneakers, take your time; you still need time to browse as many relevant sneakers on the market as possible. Imitating your competitors is a shortcut. There is no shame in imitating, but be careful to avoid copying exactly what they are doing. Finding some gaps in the market that they have yet to have time to address or have missed is the best.
If you have found your niche sneakers, now is the time to hire some help to design your shoes. Yes, turn your ideas into a sketch; if you prefer minor customization, you can also go to the shoe manufacturer’s catalog and find the style you want; we, clarco.com, are one of these shoe manufacturers and what’s even better is that we have our design team so that we can provide you with new styles every month. We are just an email away if you want product catalogs from us.
For full customization, you should visit fiverr.com or peopleperhour.com to find someone good at designing shoes, find such a seller and communicate with them one by one and finally decide which one you would like to place an order for. Remember that you should also register your brand name as a trademark, and if your patterns are unique, remember to apply for pattern protection.
Step 3: Find A Trust Shoes Manufacturer
When you have your shoe concepts that are willing to bring them to life, you will need to find a trusted shoe manufacturer to help you; there is plenty of shoe manufacturer out there in the market, simply put, there are many ways you can find desires ones:
- Through B2B platforms such as alibaba.com, made-in-china.com
- Use Google to search with the relevant keywords to find the shoe manufacturer’s website, e.g., china shoe manufacturer, china shoe factory, china shoe supplier, etc.
- From online business categories.
Whether how you source your shoe manufacturer, you will have to prepare some questions before you start contact with them.
- What is your minimum order quantity (MOQ) for each style and color?
- Do you own a factory, or are you a trading company?
- How do you inspect the shoes?
- What is your current production lead time?
- Can I visit your factory?
- What other brands you’ve worked with?
- How long have you been in the shoe manufacturing business?
- Please provide a testimonial from an existing customer.
- How many assembly lines does your factory have?
With our powerful equipment and consistent quality at competitive prices, you can count on Clarco as a trusted partner for your start-up business. In addition, we have worked with many of the world’s leading brands, so we can help you gain a leg over your competitors in your local market with our skilled experience. Please feel free to browse our about, what we do, and product page to know more about us and see what we can do for you. If you would like to talk, email us, and we will get back to you very soon.
Step 4: Make A Sample For Quality Test
After you find a shoe manufacturer you trust, the first step is to turn your sketch into a real product; yes, send all the graphic materials, such as your brand logo, your shoe design, the upper material of the shoe, the insole or outsole material you want, etc. to the manufacturer. They will help make a sample shoe and deliver it to you for confirmation.
Instead of rushing to have someone take pictures or design a website for you, you should first review sample shoes or even ask your friends, your family, or even your neighbors to quickly test your sample shoes and see what they want to say about them.
Write down all the comments in your notebook and talk to the manufacturer to find some possible common ground to perfect your sample shoes. If all goes well, the next step is to hire someone to build your website and take nice pictures of your shoes.
Step 5: Prepare the Brand Website And Photographs
At this stage, we need to develop a good name for your brand or shoes. To name it, the most basic need we have to consider is that when people see it at first glance, it is easy to be remembered and even willing to be introduced to others. This greatly reduces the cost of product awareness and communication costs.
There are several factors that can be followed to create a good name:
- Meaningful: It conveys the essence of your brand, allows consumers to quickly conjure up an image and fosters a positive emotional connection.
- Distinctive: It’s unique, easy to remember, and can help you stand out from the competition.
- Easy to understand: People can easily understand what it is, spell out your brand name without any obstacles, or be willing to help you spread it to others. (Even if you have an unusual or strange name, it must be well understood).
- Protectable: It is a name that can be registered as a trademark.
- Future-proof: It can follow the multiple developments of your company and can always remain relevant, i.e., it can be adapted to different products and brand extensions.
- Visual: You can translate/communicate through design, including icons, logos, colors, etc.
One important thing you should always remember is that after choosing your name, you should also register a website domain name that is the same as your brand name. For example, Clarco is now a registered trademark and the domain name of our official website: clarco.com. This can help you minimize your brand marketing costs because when people type the domain name into the URL bar, they will not hesitate to type in this way: brandname.com.
Now it’s time to take branded photos of your shoes, research the market and see what your competitors have to offer in terms of product shots, website design, marketing methods, etc. And record all of them and combine these features with your ideas to form a preliminary design concept. Also, before you start designing your website, you should make a budget, talk to at least 3 or 5 designers and see what they can achieve for you to the maximum extent within the budget.
Below are some lists you need to prepare for building your website:
- Keywords: Collect your core keywords and long tail keywords from some SEO tools and then insert your keywords into your website in a reasonable way, which are frequently searched by people and have low difficulty in ranking for the keywords so that when people search on Google, your website can rank better in the search results.
- Images: After taking photos of the shoes, you also need to ensure that the images are manageable but still have high-quality viewing – people hate slow-loading websites, and the large image size is the biggest factor that causes the website to load slowly.
- Server: Deploying your website on a faster responsive server allows your customers to stay on your website longer, which increases the chances of converting website traffic into purchase conversions.
- Live Chat: Provide a live chat or easy contact method for your customers to chat/contact you on time so that you can take advantage of every opportunity if some customers are willing to ask before they buy.
- Product video: While taking product images, you can also ask your shooting service provider to record some product videos at a good angle so you can upload them to YouTube or your website for viewing. Nowadays, people prefer to watch videos rather than pictures.
- Product price: Set a reasonable price for your shoes, and remember to add shipping and other related charges as costs to your pricing.
After getting your website under construction, you can move on to the next step, placing a small bulk order from the shoe manufacturer to have your shoes ready for immediate sale. Note: Generally, shoe factories have a lot of orders in progress, so if you want your order to be on time, it’s best to place your order in advance before all plans are disrupted. In addition, estimated shipping costs and deadlines are other important factors.
Step 6: Place A Small Bulk Order For Marketing Test
In order to test the local or online market for your niche sneakers, you need to focus on a lot of things, such as knowing how customers will react after buying your shoes, whether they will buy again, or how many times they will buy. This is usually a marketability test by putting your shoes into a small, credible consumer environment. For example, your fans, your community, etc.
Remember, you should simply filter the feedback that says it’s not so bad or not so good, etc and collect those absolute good or absolute bad ones so that you can calculate the percentage of satisfaction and dissatisfaction and find out where you can improve your shoes and make them better for the next time.
This is to check whether your shoes have some sustainable potential for you to quickly capture the market and ensure that other companies cannot easily imitate or replace you.
Step 7: Write High-Quality Blogs
Testing the market is one way to gather customer feedback, then writing a quality blog is a content marketing strategy. You can write how-to posts that instruct customers on how to clean sneakers, take care of shoes, lace up a sneaker, etc. In addition, you can also write some content about trending designs, the latest colorways, the history of certain sneaker models, and how they have evolved.
In addition, you can also create a “sneaker of the week” feature, where you highlight a different sneaker each week and provide detailed information on the product, including pricing, materials, and availability.
Overall, creating quality informative, engaging content relevant to your target audience is a great way to build a loyal customer base and increase brand awareness and sales.
Step 8: Promote On Social Platforms
Promoting your sneaker brand on social media platforms can be a highly effective way to reach a large and engaged audience.
Some strategies you can use include:
- Creating visually appealing content: Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are highly visual, so creating high-quality images and videos of your products is important. This can include lifestyle shots of people wearing your sneakers and detailed product images and videos.
- Utilizing influencer marketing: Partnering with fashion and sneaker influencers can help increase your brand’s visibility and credibility. You can work with influencers to create sponsored content and product reviews to reach a larger audience.
- Running social media contests and giveaways: Running contests and giveaways on social media can greatly increase engagement and build your following. You can ask followers to share a post, tag friends, or use a specific hashtag to enter the contest.
- Leveraging user-generated content: Encourage customers to share photos of themselves wearing your sneakers on social media and then repost or share these images on your accounts. This helps create a sense of community around your brand.
- Utilizing paid advertising: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok offer a range of paid advertising options that can help you to reach a targeted audience. These can include sponsored posts, story ads, and video ads.
By implementing these strategies, you can increase your brand’s visibility and reach on social media, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty.
Step 9: Cooperate With Internet Influencers
Cooperating with internet influencers can be a highly effective way to promote your sneaker brand and reach a wider audience. Influencers have a large and engaged following and can help to increase your brand’s visibility, credibility, and trust.
Here are some strategies for working with influencers:
- Identify the right influencers: Research popular influencers in the fashion and sneaker community, and look for those with a large and engaged following that aligns with your target audience.
- Establish a partnership: Reach out to influencers and propose a partnership. This can include sponsored posts, product reviews, or collaboration on a new product or design.
- Provide influencers with incentives: To increase the chances of influencers promoting your brand, you can offer them incentives such as a commission on sales or even a free pair of sneakers.
- Collaborate on content: Work with influencers to create high-quality, visually appealing content that showcases your sneakers in the best possible light. This can include lifestyle shots, product reviews, and even video content.
- Track and measure the results: Track the performance of the content created by the influencer, measure the results and analyze the ROI of the partnership. This will help you to determine which influencers are most effective for your brand and to make adjustments accordingly.
By cooperating with internet influencers, you can increase your brand’s visibility and credibility, reach a wider audience and attract new customers to your brand.
Extend Your Business On Local Retail Stores
Extending your sneaker business to local retail stores can greatly increase brand awareness and sales. By having your products available in physical stores, you can reach a wider audience and allow customers to see, touch and try on your sneakers before purchasing.
Here are some strategies for extending your business to local retail stores:
- Research potential retail partners: Look for local retail stores that align with your brand and have a customer base interested in your products.
- Approach the store owner: Reach out to store owners, introduce your brand, and explain why your products would be a good fit for their store.
- Prepare a wholesale catalog: Create a wholesale catalog that includes detailed information about your products, including pricing, materials, and availability.
- Negotiate terms: Once you have found a retail partner, negotiate terms such as the price of your products, the amount of inventory to be purchased, and the payment and delivery schedule.
- Support and training: Provide the store staff with the necessary training and support to help them sell your products.
- Promote the store: Use your social media platforms and website to promote the store and your products.
Extending your business to local retail stores can increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience. Additionally, having a physical presence in retail stores can increase customer trust and credibility, leading to increased sales and long-term success.
Make Statistics of Income And Expenditure
Keeping track of your income and expenses is essential for the success and growth of your sneaker business. By regularly monitoring your financials, you can identify areas of your business where you are spending too much money and areas where you can cut costs. You can also identify areas where you can increase your income and make better use of your resources.
Here are some strategies for keeping track of your income and expenses:
- Create a budget: Create a budget for your business that includes your projected income and expenses. This can help you identify areas where you are overspending and where you can cut costs.
- Use accounting software: Use accounting software to keep track of your financials. This can help you to track your income and expenses and generate detailed reports easily.
- Keep accurate records: Keep accurate records of your income and expenses. This can include invoices, receipts, and bank statements.
- Track sales data: Track your sales data, including the number of units sold, total revenue, and average sale price. This can help you to identify which products are performing well and which are not.
- Analyze your data: Regularly analyze your financial data to identify trends and patterns. This can help you to make informed decisions about your business and identify growth opportunities.
- Monitor your cash flow: Keep track of your cash flow, which is the amount of cash coming in and going out of your business. A positive cash flow is necessary for the business to operate, pay bills and grow.
By regularly monitoring your income and expenses, you can better use your resources, increase your income and make informed decisions about your business. This can lead to long-term success and growth for your sneaker business.
Here are some additional tips for running a successful sneaker business:
- Keep your product line fresh and up-to-date: Keeping your product line fresh and up-to-date is essential for maintaining customer interest and attracting new customers. Consider regularly launching new products, colors, or designs to keep your customers engaged.
- Provide exceptional customer service: Providing exceptional customer service can help to build trust and loyalty among your customers. Make sure your customer service is responsive, friendly and helpful.
- Build a strong brand: Building a strong brand is essential for the success of your business. Make sure your branding is consistent across all platforms and reflects your brand’s unique identity.
- Use SEO techniques: Use SEO techniques to optimize your website for search engines, which can help to increase visibility and attract more customers.
- Use data to improve your business: Use data and analytics to track your sales, customer behavior, and website traffic. This can help you to identify areas of your business that are performing well, and areas that need improvement.
- Continuously improve your products: Improve your products, take feedback from customers and consider new technologies and materials that can improve the quality and performance of your sneakers.
By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success and growth for your sneaker business. It’s important to be adaptive and flexible to the changing market conditions and customer needs and continuously work towards improving your business.
Selling sneakers can be highly lucrative, and the demand for high-quality sneakers continues to grow. Selling private-label sneakers can be a great way to stand out in the market and offer unique and exclusive products to customers.
However, weighing the pros and cons of reselling giant branded shoes and creating your own private-label shoes is also important. Reselling branded shoes can be a quick way to start a business, but it could be risky as the demand can be unpredictable and the profit margin is lower. Creating private-label shoes gives more control over the design and production, but it requires a significant investment in time, money, and resources.
Starting an online private-label sneaker business requires planning, research, and hard work, but it can be a highly successful venture with the right strategies in place. To extend your business, consider opening a physical retail store, cooperating with internet influencers, and promoting your brand on social media platforms.