After the talking to people about what they wanted and didn’t want from a website and confirming that what I was now planning was along the right track, my next step was to prove that I could actually sell a dress. Even though 31 out of the 32 people who saw my original paper websites said that they would order, it was no proof that people would actually part with money for a one of the new designs. So my next challenge was to sell a dress.
I had no prototypes or sample dresses, just the drawings from my original paper websites. I also needed to start finding out what my ‘minimum viable product’ was. What was the smallest amount of information that I could give to people to get them to buy a dress? When I know this, I can then work out what the minimum amount of content I need to launch my actual website is.
I decided to use my original paper websites in the next experiment. I cut out the original drawings of the different options and priced them all. This part was difficult. All the way through the original thinking I’d assumed that I’d go to China or elsewhere outside of Australia and find a factory to manufacture the dresses, but now I wasn’t so sure. Giving the control of that part to someone else worried me so much. I was now thinking that manufacturing in Australia might be the way to go so I could easily oversee everything. I’ll write another blog post about this dilemma soon. Choosing where to manufacture is such a key decision.
I decided to test the idea of manufacturing in Australia with the pricing of the dresses. I had no idea how much people would be prepared to pay, so I priced the dresses roughly at the price they would be if they were being made here. I again put the call out on my Facebook page. This time I didn’t limit it to people who could come and see me in person. I could Skype or use messenger and photos for this part. Again, I had a fantastic response. I Skyped, messaged, and saw people in person and I sold 4 dresses. These results blew me away. Not only did I sell dresses just from drawings, without a real website or many of the features that I want to include in it, but I sold them at a price that means that manufacturing here in Australia is a real possibility. It’s also the first real proof that I have a viable business, that people want these new dresses and will pay actual real money for them. Thank you to the girls who took that chance. Your orders have taken me a huge step further forward in this journey and I can’t wait to make the first dresses from the new collection for you.
Selling these 4 dresses and having it confirmed that this new idea was starting to look viable led me to make an huge decision – I decided it was time to stop accepting other orders. I already have booking for the rest of this year, and I’ve designed and quoted for gowns for next year, but if I take on many more I just won’t have time to work on the new online range and the website. The thought of having less money coming in is really scary. I’m going to have to budget really well during the early stages of getting the website off the ground, but hopefully it will be worth it.