Part I - Introduction
One question that I get frequently here at Trendy Tree is..."how did you start your online business?" So, with that answer in mind, I thought I would write an article and discuss the process we used for Trendy Tree. I'll break it up into segments so may be you won't get bored!
My brother, for years, had been after me to start an online business. He has a small engine repair shop and gradually worked into selling on eBay, then a website....then three websites.....and now he has a robust online business and several employees.
My background is in nursing and for years I thought about doing something with a website, but I honestly just couldn't think of anything to sell. When I watched my brother work, the one thing that stood out in my mind was, you have to know your product.
The inspiration to start the online business finally came when my husband and I decided to start a small choose and cut Christmas tree farm. We did this thinking of it as "supplemental retirement income."
Once that decision was made and the first trees were in the ground, the thought came to me that I could sell Christmas ornaments to offset the expenses of the tree farm. And we began.
I had no idea where to begin. Friends that knew what we were doing kept asking, "are you going to make the ornaments?" I never even thought of that as a possibility. Of course handmade items are a great seller, but it wasn't what I had in mind at the time.
The search began for Christmas ornaments......a rather broad search term for sure! But, I went to eBay and searched for ornaments there. Radko was really the only brand new I knew at the time. Three or four company names kept cropping up in the searches so I bought 3-4 ornaments from different sellers and chose ornaments from three manufacturers.
This process required obtaining an eBay account and PayPal account. (You'll need a PayPal account, but you can start with a general account if you don't already have one and convert it to a business account later.)
I paid close attention to the shipping process, how the ornaments were packed including the packing materials, etc.
Once I had my ornaments I set off to find these companies and see about placing an order. Some companies require hefty opening orders and I quickly found out that Christmas ornaments are not something that you can just order any time of the year! For the first year I was able to find one company that sold me a few hundred dollars worth so this is what I started with. Once my order had been placed and I could anticipate arrival in a few weeks I set about getting a website.