Alternative Funding for your Business - Dapper Baby
Emma, tell me about you, your business, what you do and who you help.
I run an online children's clothing shop. And we stock brands that aren't readily available in the U.K. We help families to dress their kids fabulously!
I run the business with my husband and two friends and we have various other businesses together. But I manage everything dapperbaby.
What prompted you to look at alternative ways of raising finance for your business?
Our husbands! We wanted to start a children's clothing website and were given the go ahead but were told we couldn't have any budget to do so!
What options of finance did you look at, what did you choose and why?
We didn't look at getting a loan as this isn't our style. We had experience of using a drop shipping service before and so began to source a childrenswear one. The way drop shipping works is that you don't hold the stock but instead order it after your customer has purchased from you. So zero risk. Well the only risk is relying on others to dispatch and the stock actually being available. But there was no monetary risk.
We initially sold very basic things like packs of baby vests and these sold really well. It meant we could build up some profit to invest in the brands we wanted to stock. We eventually bought stock with the money we made as the profit on drop shipping isn't as good as stocking it ourselves.
Doing drop shipping also gave us an insight into what people were buying which was great for market research.
How did you find the process?
It was really easy. We just had to apply for a drop shipping account and that was that. We are lucky in that our partner Ben works in ecommerce so he was able to set up feeds so we could list all of their products on our website and amazon accounts and it would all automatically update stock feeds!
There were downsides relying on someone else to dispatch for you and their stock taking abilities! Luckily it didn't happen often but we pride ourselves on customer services so we were able to quickly rectify.
We've been so lucky that we've grown and grown year on year meaning we are fully self stocked. So we stock everything we sell and don't rely on drop shipping at all anymore.
What would your top piece of advice be to others looking at doing the same?
Try and find something that has the minimal amount of risk. And work hard with passion and have the end game in sight. When dapperbaby started it wasn't the website I had in mind but we had to find the funds to develop it into what it is now. Keep in mind Rome wasn't built in a day!
Would you do this again? And why do you say that?
Yes absolutely. We had nothing to lose doing it this way. And it meant we could make the funds without owing money to anyone.
To find out more about Emma’s businesses, follow the links below: