How do those of you without showrooms, shops, stockists or other outlets meet with your clients, to decide styles, match colours and fittings?
Do you travel to their homes or do people come to you?
If you work online, how do you cope with colour matching?
I am having to rethink my way of working, as my stockist has suddenly (today) pulled out of the space we shared and I cannot remain in the space without their support.
I make from home,(part time only) but without a major rethink or sudden growth of space, it is not really practical for me to open the house up, as there are so many rules about businesses from home, rates, insurance etc..
I have read a previous thread about Millinery stores, but wondered how others managed this if they worked from home.
The Commercial Public Liability Insurance is essential - you are so right Charmaine. Only $200 - $300/yr People have public liability in home insurance but many have discovered the hard way that when money is exchanged for product it is commercial and if customer or student has an accident /fall at the home they are not covered by normal PL Insurance. For peace of mind it is worth it. :)
If the business is new and only has an online store, is any insurance required in your experience?
Make the client come to you if they are serious! As it would be easier for you to access all that you need to colour match/ compliment the client outfit or skin tone!
If you go to visit them then you have to carry a lot of stuff, set up, and also include the costs of the visit or visits in the commission.
I choose to remain where I'm comfortable and the client also gets to see completed projects and some being built thus increasing the potential of additional sale.
I only go to clients homes with the put together or finished piece with a few just in case trims if they decide to add to original!
But they are aware that cost has to be totalled in final price! Always take deposits before starting work...non refundable!!
My studio is home based and I am covered
I have worked from home for 19 yrs now. I have always been able to work with clients by first emailing to find out what they are after and then a phone call to have a chat and get more of a feel for what they want. Before I start any work, I always post them small samples of colours we have talked about for them to match against outfit and accessories (that way no come back).
During the process of making their items, I always send photos which is so much easier now with mobile phones. I have never had an issue or a disappointed client. I also have a showroom at home, but not all clients are local.
Hope that helps
In the U.S., in many municipalities, it's very easy to run a business from home. I run a business from home (not a millinery business), and I have about two or three people visit my home every day. I get deliveries a couple of times a week. In my experience, if you don't disrupt the neighborhood you're good.
I'm very interested in starting a hat business too. I've happened upon a very interesting business model accidentally. I brought my hairdresser a little hat I had made. She went bonkers over it. I'm not being modest here. It was just a little leather button with some leather trim on it. I gave it to her because I thought the color would look good on her. She suggested that I set up a little display in her shop and make a sample book. She would act as something of a vendeuse for the hats. I could meet the customer at the shop if needed. We haven't figured out the details yet, but I think it may just be a good idea.
Many of the new styles -- buttons, perchers, saucers, etc. -- don't really even need a fit consultation.
This is one of those "nothing may come of it" ideas, but it may just be one of those win-wins.
Thought I'd share it here in the event it might help someone else.