Starting a business in Ireland is very easy. Starting an online business is even easier. You can set up a Shopify website in 1 day. You can run Facebooks ads, Instagram ads and Google ads in 1 days.
The longest wait you will have is sourcing the products you want to sell. This may take weeks or even months. You will have to get samples, check the quality and check if your manufacturer is legit.
The biggest thing you need to watch out for when you start is paying your taxes. The government here in Ireland are quite lenient but you do not want to mess with them. They will get what they are owed and you should always pay your correct taxes. Hire a good accountant and that is that problem solved.
So what exactly is like starting a women's gym clothing business in Ireland during a global pandemic?
Well it wasn't that hard to be honest In fact, it really helped sales as everywhere else was closed and everyone was shopping online. It was quite the right time to start an online women's activewear business. There are positives and negatives. The positives were everyone was online as they had nothing else to do. The courier companies were never told to shut down so they were still working. The negatives were, there is a lot of online competition right now as everyone jumped online to pivot their businesses. When the country opens back up, there is a huge decrease in online traffic due to people going back to the high street to shop.
We took risks on getting many different styles of women's seamless leggings in stock and it paid off. We found some great leggings that women loved, felt comfortable in and look amazing in them. The feedback we got was excellent. We also started to see what was working and what wasn't working. Women's loungewear was a big hit and we are continually improving our selection.
The things you don't see
When you start a business there are zero days off and I mean zero. When women's leggings, bras, hoodies, joggers etc, arrive in boxes from the courier, they have to be counted, bagged and tagged - this takes hours. It is a tedious and sometimes painful task doing this, especially when you get a really big order.
When you are out enjoying one of our rare sunny days here in Ireland, you will get customer emails about sizing, about orders that haven't arrived yet or something has happened their order. These are the things you will have to do if you want to start an online business. You have to reply, you have to give excellent customer service and you have to do it fast.
Monday to Friday is spent fulfilling orders, looking over our sales and marketing data, posting on social media, writing back to customer emails and Instagram messages, dealing with paying bills from DHL or An Post, dealing with our clothing suppliers (sometimes orders may go missing or held in customs). This life isn't easy. This is the stuff you don't see in business.
Saturday & Sunday is spent tagging and bagging clothes. Team meetings on where we are going (our mission) and what we are doing for the week. We also deal with any customer emails and messages.
You have to be prepared to not get paid for at least 2 years while starting your online business if you are starting from scratch. If you some funds or some venture capitalist fund backing you then you will be able to get paid straight away but that is very rare.
There are many expenses to pay for. Let's say you ordered a pair of our women's seamless leggings. First we have to pay our supplier to make them and ship them to us. Then we have to get our Sarah Jayy bags and tags made. Then we have to market them by paying for Facebook ads or Google ad. Next is shipping the item out to you and if you do not like it then we have to pay for the return.
We are not complaining here, we love what we do here. We are just trying to show people what it's really like running a women's fashion business in Ireland. It ain't easy. You will have to be passionate to push through all the pain and challenges you meet.
We hope this little blog helps anyone who is trying to start an online business.
- The Sarah Jayy Team