Starting a Small Business During a Pandemic
So today I thought I would share a little bit about my experience of starting a small business during a pandemic. I had the idea of starting a baby clothing business back in 2015 following the birth of my first grandchild. I loved the idea of creating an Irish online shop to sell high quality baby clothes but still keeping them accessible for all, by keeping prices at an affordable rate.
Flash forward to October 2020 and after playing with the idea for 5 years I decided it was time. Maybe not the most ideal time given that there was so much going on in the world at that time, but then again when is the most ideal time? I knew what my plan was in terms of what kind of clothing I wanted to sell, the kind of price range I wanted to charge and the standards that I wanted to uphold. The hardest part of setting up was probably coming up with a name for my business! There were a few names in the mix but ultimately I settled on the name that I fell in love with TotsTown Clothing.
At the beginning it's fair to say that there were a few teething problems, there were some things that were far more difficult than I had anticipated. Delivery for one! Before I started my own business I never imagined how hard it would be to try and get reasonable delivery rates, well it's safe to say I learned very quickly that delivery was going to be one of the most difficult things I was going to have to wrestle with!
I knew that ultimately I wanted to have a website to sell my products from, but to start with I sold primarily from Instagram and Facebook whilst the website was being worked on behind the scenes. One of the first pieces I ordered which was a baby girl 3 piece set from Cutey Couture flew out which was such an amazing feeling, I reordered it and it's still one of my favourite pieces to this day.
Creating the website was most definitely a family effort and everybody pitched in to help, we managed to create the website in just under 2 months which was brilliant considering we didn't know anything about creating a website when we started! It was a proud day when we launched our website www.totstown.ie it was an incredible feeling to see all of our hard work in one place.
Since the launch of TotsTown Clothing I have felt so grateful for the support that my business has received. Of course starting an online business selling baby clothes at any time has those feelings of excitement tinged with worry but I was fearful at the start that setting up an online small business in the midst of a global pandemic would end in disaster. But I have been never been more glad to be proven wrong! Since I launched my business in October 2020 I have sold out of stock, placed more orders, had repeat customers, received positive customer feedback and so much more! These are just some of the highlights of the past few months, and that's not to say that there haven't been some more challenging moments too!
Some top challenging moments include getting our first set of custom logo stickers printed with our adorable babies on the front and then those stickers subsequently getting lost during delivery. Purchasing a brand new backdrop to take product images of our baby clothes and baby accessories which ended up being completely see through and did not photograph very well! Many a night was spent under the glare of a brand new ring light trying to get the perfect snap of our products!
Over the month of February we launched our very first sale on our website which was very exciting! To be in a position to be able to have a sale with big brand names such as Mini Moi was just incredible!
So its safe to say that my overall experience of setting up a small business during a pandemic has been a positive one! I am looking forward to what the future holds for TotsTown Clothing and can't wait to share it all with you!