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Please help me with my market research

(8 Posts)
LRobinson21 Fri 13-Oct-17 09:12:18

Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone could help me. I am interested in keeping myself busy while I'm a sahm and I was considering making doll clothes to sell.
I have been sewing for the better part of 25 years so I have some skills that would contribute to this.
The only thing stopping me from pursuing this would be to see if there were any interest in doll clothes and whether people would want to buy handmade items or not.
I have created a short 3-5 minute survey with my main questions and I would be eternally grateful if I could get some responses to help me make my decision on this matter.

www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/V7M653J

Thank you in advance to anyone who may complete this survey for me. If anyone has any comments, questions or advice please feel free to respond. I would love other people's opinions.

Thank you again 😊

delilahbucket Fri 13-Oct-17 09:50:12

While I think this is a wonderful idea, I wonder whether you would actually make any money or even cover your costs. An eBay search for handmade dolls clothes resulted in 12500 listings (5600 UK listings on Etsy). The first one in my search is a dress for a 14" doll. After fees and postage the seller is left with approximately £2.30 to cover materials, insurances, return costs, electricity, sewing machine servicing and her time. Excluding her time, she is probably just breaking, if not making a loss. She sells a lot, but even bulk buying everything at wholesale prices won't leave her with much in the kitty.
While you could use branded fabrics to make the clothes and attract a higher price point, you must have permission from those brands (for example I have a contract with Cath Kidston to use their fabrics commercially). The likes of Disney have been known to pursue small businesses using their designs without permission.
If it is something to just occupy you and you're not really bothered about earning much then go for it. Don't forget about the Toy Safety Regulations and CE testing.

LRobinson21 Fri 13-Oct-17 10:06:33

Thank you delilahbucket for your quick response. I have looked into the various rules and regulations regarding Toy Safety Regulations and CE testing, and purchased the self certification handbook for this reason. I was leaning more towards either one off items for collectors that wouldn't require CE testing because of their price point, intricacy, etc. The other opinion I was considering was making sewing patterns for dolls clothes (either printed pattern or PDF) which wouldn't require CE testing again but I could give advice on how to make their items as safe as possible. I was just wondering if there were any interest in this sort of thing and if there was for which dolls.
I wouldn't use licensed/copyrighted fabrics for anything that I would make and if anything was themed such as a Disney dress I may use the same colours or maybe a certain style but market them in a way that would not be copyrighted.
Are you a seamstress yourself and do you make a living from this at all?
Thank you

delilahbucket Fri 13-Oct-17 11:41:18

Even doing something in the style of can be an infringement. Just don't use any phrases like "Frozen inspired" because it isn't allowed.
Going for one off collectors pieces would be a good way of reducing the certification, all you will need is a label stating not a toy, but it will limit your market, so it is all food for thought.
I am a seamstress of sorts, amongst other things, and it is my only job. It has been for nearly three years, although I have been running my current business for six years. If you can find your niche and can sell at a price people are willing to pay, you can make a good income from being able to sew or any craft skill. I see a lot of people working for £2-3 an hour and I couldn't do that.

LRobinson21 Fri 13-Oct-17 15:39:24

I'm the same I couldn't work for £2-£3 an hour, I would feel that my time could be better used else where. I did think sewing patterns might be the way to go as then it's up to the individual person how they would like theirs to look. It is a lot of work to create a pattern, with all the photos, instructions, etc, however once one pattern is designed and made I could then move onto the next one, so there would always be variety. I'm just not sure at the moment which doll or dolls to focus on as there are so many out there and so many different tastes. I do have a particular niche market in mind that would not be copyright infringement. My trouble is just getting it started as I have a habit of losing concentration easily (although I have wanted to do this or a variation of this all my life).
Did you find it difficult at the beginning? Do you have any other recommendations on where to go next?
Thank you again

delilahbucket Sat 14-Oct-17 13:23:17

It was and still is the hardest job I have ever done. The first two years I worked a ridiculous amount of hours for very little reward. By year three I was getting close to a normal full time income and into year five I was finally seeing my hard work pay off.
Start small and learn as you go along. Don't rush into it and do your research. If you want to build a proper business you need to be prepared to work harder than you ever thought you could, and then work some more. If you cannot self motivated then don't even contemplate it because it takes a long time to find your feet and earn even a little bit of money.
Some local authorities run business workshops for free, usually held at libraries or such like. It is worth looking into if you need any guidance. If you are going down the collectors route, are there any shops you could visit that do this kind of thing so you can see what they do?

gigi556 Tue 24-Oct-17 15:43:03

@LRobinson21 here's some inspiration for you.

https://www.shopify.co.uk/blog/17587420-how-one-couple-is-making-600-000-per-year-selling-digital-products

There is definitely a market for you. You could also start off on a site like Etsy and establish if it's worth your time. Good luck!

LRobinson21 Fri 27-Oct-17 08:44:18

Thank you both for your advice and information. I have been thinking about doing this for quite some time, years probably. My problem is the actively doing something. I think the main problem is the fear of failing, I think if I can just combat that then I should be alright. I don't really have anything to lose as I am a stay at home mum and I don't need to work as my husband brings in a comfortable salary. Other than market research I'm not sure what the next step would be.
Thank you gigi556 for the link. I have heard of Jason and Cinnamon and it was with them and their company that I was thinking of selling through, as they would do all the marketing, selling, etc part and I would just create the product. I believe its commission based, but again I need to look more into it.
Thank you both again, it feels good to hear others opinions.

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