Getting started with Dot Dot Smile means you’ve made a commitment to purchase (at the time of publishing this) at least 20 pieces of inventory, or a $320 investment into inventory. Outside of your initial inventory order, there are plenty of business supplies that are essential to running a successful business and can increase the cost to sell Dot Dot Smile. I’m going to walk you through some of these. These are, of course, suggestions… almost like a “starter pack”. You don’t HAVE to purchase racks and hangers, there are other ways to organize and store your inventory.
Let’s look at some of the supplies you will need and the cost to sell Dot Dot Smile!
Organizing and Storing Your Inventory
Clothing racks and hangers OR some kind of bins/crates/shelves – This is a personal choice and really depends on how much space you have. Some people are able to dedicate whole rooms to their Dot Dot Smile business, others have a closet or small space but the point is – make it work for you.
One way to organize would be by style. If using clothing racks, you can hang each style, divided by size, per rack. If you plan to use bins, you can do the same and sort by style or by size. Each dress comes in it’s own zipper plastic bag, but I’ve noticed with my inventory, not all of the bags are labeled. You can easily label them yourself to make at-a-glance sorting easier.
Photo and Video Equipment
You do NOT need a fancy or expensive camera! If you have a newer smartphone, that camera will work for both video and photos. If your Dot Dot Smile space does not have the best natural lighting (photos will look much clearer and true to color when done with natural light), you can explore indoor photography lighting options. I own these and use them often. They are easy to set up and store.
A lot of merchandisers are using vinyl backdrops to either hang (for taking photos of dresses on hangers), or to lay on the floor for flat lay style photos. You can also look at home improvement stores for beadboard, this is a popular background for some.
You will definitely want to get both poly mailers and free shipping packages from the post office, as your needs will vary depending on the size of each order. A scale can be purchased or you can get one from places like Stamps.com. Using your own printer is an easy solution for printing shipping labels – you can either get these as peel-and-stick or just print to paper and carefully tape to your packages. Many merchandisers purchase Dymo label makers, but because of the cost, you may have to wait on this.
Another popular decision is whether or not you will include “gifts” for your customers. Of course, you want to include a business card or two, but many like to add little trinkets like ponytail holders, headbands, bows, stickers, candy, etc. This one is totally optional, not necessary, and you have to remember that some customers will just throw it away.
This is the fun stuff. You absolutely need business cards. You need to include these with orders (one to keep, one for a friend), to give out when someone asks about your business or sees your own daughter wearing a dress and compliments, to leave on bulletin boards, to send in with a friend or family member to their work, etc. You can purchase digital designs that are personalized from places like Etsy or design them yourself using PicMonkey (my personal favorite!) or Canva, or right in a place like Vistaprint.
Additionally, you can decide whether or not to include a “care card” – how to wash Dot Dot Smile – with each order. You may also decide to do gift certificates, reward cards, flyers for bulletin boards, signs/banners (for vendor events), car magnets, etc. Depending on your budget, you can make that decision and add to your materials as your business grows.
Speaking of vendor shows, you may want to purchase a folding table in case you need to supply your own. You’ll also want to consider a dress form, which is a great way to show off the dress “on a person”. You might even need a tent/canopy and tablecloth, it just depends on what is provided at each event.
Because this is YOUR business, you can purchase and start with as much or as little as you want. There is no right or wrong, so consider your budget and purchase accordingly. As your business grows, you can certainly purchase additional items as they make sense.
(photo credit to my wonderful friend and upline, Kristen Chumley! Click the photo to go to her DDS group!)
Depending on what you purchase, you may be able to get the very basics for around $150 and keep the cost to sell Dot Dot Smile on the lower end. I would base your supplies budget on how much inventory you purchase. If you go with $320 in inventory, you may spend just as much on the above items to get started. You also need to research whether or not you need a business or vendors license, which is either free or has a fee. Don’t forget to consult with a tax professional as to what purchases are potential business expenses/deductions and keep ALL of your receipts! It’s really up to you how much you spend and how quickly you build up your supplies. The cost to sell Dot Dot Smile can be as low or as high as you make it.
Tip: Create an Amazon Wishlist just for your Dot Dot Smile supplies. This way, you can monitor any changes in pricing and save a few dollars if the price drops! If you join my team, I’ll help you find ways to save on the cost to sell Dot Dot Smile!
If you are interested and ready to join, be sure to let me know through the email button at the very top right or by joining my Facebook group and dropping a note! I would love to have you on my “team” and to help you get started with your new business!
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VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE edited 7/19/2017
Beginning July 21, 2017, the initial onboarding costs of Dot Dot Smile are changing!
With the launch of the affiliate program on 7/21/17, all new independent merchandisers will need to pay a $50 enrollment fee. This fee gives you:
Free standard shipping on inventory orders for 1 year
BACK OFFICE, fully loaded with information, DDS store (think logo’d stickers, etc!)
It’s at this time, when you enroll and pay this fee that you will need to enter my name (Mandi Welbaum) to officially join my team.
If you have not yet even purchased inventory, you will have the opportunity to purchase an “onboarding kit” beginning July 21, 2017. Details are TBD, but the packages should include inventory and the enrollment fee in one payment.