Why sell kids fashion online

The children’s fashion market is one of the most lucrative markets in the global fashion industry. The market has shown enormous resilience in the face of global economic instability and is estimated to hit a value of $173.6 billion this year - showing a stable compound annual growth rate of 4.2% in 2017.

Although children’s apparel only accounts for 12% of the overall apparel market - it’s been the sector to see the largest amount of growth in the past couple of years. In 2015, childrenswear sales grew by 6% - compared to just 4% for the men’s and women’s apparel markets.

This growth can mostly be attributed to demographic shifts. Parents in the US and the UK are starting to have children later in life when they have more disposable income and are able to spend more on their children’s clothing. On top of this - the industry has expanded in the Asia-Pacific region thanks to a booming middle-class. The region is now the fastest-growing market for childrenswear worldwide - projected to reach $76.6 billion by 2020.

On top of this - industry experts have noted changes in the way adults purchase children’s clothing that also might be beneficial to small business owners. In recent years, the children’s fashion industry has begun to imitate the adult fashion industry - with parents more concerned about their children being “on-trend”. This means that there’s more space for the market to grow-out and more opportunity for smaller brands to get their foot in the door of this industry.

Start by building a kids clothing brand

When it comes to building a children's clothing brand - you’ll want to think about the identity of your clothing brand, what sort of items you’d want to sell and to what age demographic you plan on selling to. It’s important to have an understanding of your target audience early. With Children’s clothing, branding can change substantially depending on the age-group you’re selling to. Clothing for younger children tends to be more playful and have more patterns and saturated colors, whereas clothing for older children is a bit more reminiscent of their adult fashion counterparts. This is why it’s good to have a branding model in mind before you start picking out the products you want to sell.

Also remember that the age group you choose to sell to will determine the nature of your advertising. If you’re selling to younger children - you’ll generally be advertising to their parents. However - if you’re selling to older children and teenagers, it’s best to advertise to them more directly. In surveys conducted by Canadian non-profit MediaSmarts - older children reported influencing their parents buying decisions 95% of the time when it came to clothing purchases. This means that success when it comes to children’s fashion is largely dependent on your ability to connect with the age group you want to sell to.

How to use drop-shipping to sell children’s fashion

Dropshipping is a term used to describe a supply chain management method whereby the retailer (you) does not keep goods in stock but instead outsources the management and shipment of products to third-party companies. If this is your first venture into the business world - drop-shipping is a low-cost, low-risk solution that’s perfect for beginners.

When drop-shipping your products - you can forget about designing, manufacturing or shipping stock. Drop-shipping companies do all this work for you. As soon as a purchase is made on your online store, data about the customer’s order and shipping details are sent directly to the manufacturer who ships it to your customer.

Drop-shipping allows you to pass on some of the burden of running a business to a third-party manufacturer at a low-cost. With orders being shipped directly to customer, you don’t need to worry about storing stock, shipping items on time or being stuck with expensive over-stock. Drop-shipping allows you to spend more time focused on building a presence online and branding your website and social media profiles.

Purchasing in bulk from a wholesale retailer like Alibaba may be cheaper in the short-term. In the long term however, the low-risk nature of drop-shipping is likely to be a lot less expensive. If you’re looking to have products from Alibaba drop-shipped - you can do this via AliExpress.

There’s a wide selection of Children’s fashion products on AliExpress. You’ll want to have an idea of your branding before you go shopping for the items so that you know what you’re looking for. AliExpress offers clothing for baby girls and boys as well as clothing for older girls and boys. The wide variety of options is perfect for smaller business because with so many different styles and designs, it makes it a lot easier to find a niche and corner a section of the market. If you know what niche you want to target with your clothing line - it will make it easier to select products that fit this style and build a following for the niche on social media.

Marketing your children’s clothing business

Once you’ve selected the products for your niche and established the audience you’re selling to, you’ll want to start thinking about finding that audience online. The easiest way to get started finding an audience is via social media. Visual mediums like Instagram and Pinterest usually work best for promoting fashion brands - but remember that with children’s clothing, your social media marketing strategy is largely dependent on the age group you’re selling to.

If you’re selling to older children and teens, your best bet is to promote your brand via Instagram where the demographic skews younger. Promoting on Instagram will allow you to market directly to the older children that would be buying your clothing.

You can find an audience for your brand on social media by exploring profiles and hashtags that are relevant to your audience. Think about the sorts of things they’d be interested in, such as the celebrities and brands they’d be following. Gaining an understanding of your audience will allow you to better understand what kind of content will resonate with them and allow you to build a following slowly, over time. Make sure to like and comment on the posts of your potential audience often - to increase exposure to your social media profile.

A great tool for marketing to young people on Instagram is through the use of Instagram influencers. Influencers are accounts with larger, established audiences. Generally - they’re employed by brands to promote products on their own Instagram profiles. The established credibility that influencers have will translate into an established credibility for your brand. Some influencers do charge a fee for promotion of your products, but there are also smaller influencers for niches that are more low-cost and in most cases - more effective.

Generally it’s best to post lifestyle shots of children wearing your products along with other images for branding purposes. You’re free to take your own photos or you can use the photos downloadable in our starter kit. You could even re-post pictures of your customers wearing your products as your brand grows to help build word-of-mouth brand recognition.

If you do foresee Instagram becoming your primary social-media branding network - it also might be a good idea to consider adding Shoppable Instagram Galleries to give your followers the option to purchase from your store directly through Instagram.

Business model

The most advantageous thing about drop-shipping children’s fashion products is that it’s both low-cost and low-risk. Since you’re only purchasing stock for sales you’ve already made - the cost of goods sold will always be lower than your profits. Prices for children’s clothing can vary - depending on the time of clothing you want to sell. Children’s casual shirts, for example, go for between $6-$12 on AliExpress. This means you could get away with selling the items at a price point of between $15 and $20 and still have some breathing room in the price for sales and discounts.

Dropshipping tips

If you decide to dropship through AliExpress, here are a few tips to set yourself up for success.

Free shipping can be exceptionally slow on AliExpress, and the express options are often prohibitively expensive. Try to find sellers that offer epacket shipping; it's an affordable alternative that allows trackable and quick shipping from China to most developed countries including USA, Canada, and some of the United Kingdom.
AliExpress can sometimes seem overwhelming because there are so many products. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to product selection, sort your search results by “Most Ordered”. This will put the best sellers at the top of the list and give you a general idea of what’s selling and what’s popular.
To get a better idea of what the cases look like in real life, check out the Reviews tab for product listings and view “Reviews with Photos.” Be sure to read the reviews as well, to see what others are saying about the product. Also, you’ll want to check out the “Transactions” tab within the product listing on AliExpress. If you see several purchases from one person, it’s likely they’re dropshipping the item. This tells you it’s likely a good item to sell.
Even though you might be paying next to nothing on AliExpress, don't under-price your products. You’ll want to leave enough margin for marketing, so try to sell products for three or four times your cost.
Try bundling your items into themed sets, or offering complementary products. Check out what the competition is selling to get a better idea of what product categories might be particularly relevant to your audience.
Platforms like Facebook allow you to target very specific attributes or behaviours. For example, if you use Facebook ads to drive traffic to a cell phone store, you can target iPhone 6 users for iPhone 6 phone cases and target LG V10 phone users for LG V10 phone cases. These device-specific options can be found in the ‘Behaviour Targeting’ section of your Facebook ad manager. Hyper-targeting can be applied to a wide range of behaviors and demographics.

Start your own kids fashion brand

With low-cost options for drop-shipping and our free downloadable image set - it’s never been easier to start your own children’s clothing company. Start your own kids clothing store today!