In June 2010, I opened up a boutique in Detroit. No plan, less than 10k and only 20 years old. I literally just did it like Nike lol. I thought it was the best next thing and I survived for four expensive years. God bless my little soul. My first 3 month at this shop was great, (at least, I thought). To give you guys the CNN version in four years of the business, I moved three times and changed my name once. I remember trying to figure where to get clothing, how to get an account with vendors and trying to have the best POS system. By the 4th yr, I had kind of figure the business out but I had put so much money into it and I was starting to think differently. I just want to disclose that this store was one of my best lessons. I made good money sometimes and lost lots of money other times.
One of the things that use to get under my skin is when some of my best friends and loved ones would not spend with me but shop at my competitor's. Or buy Louboutins at Saks but wanted a discount from me or even free. Now, don't get me wrong I had some friends and family who did support me. But of course, I gave more attention to those who didn't. Today I really want to focus on what you should do if you are going thru this with any fashion based company.
1)You are too sensitive! Get out your feelings and do not take it personally. I know it is hard not to because this business is like your new infant. People are not always going to buy from you because you think they should. You would think they would but DO NOT ASSUME THEY WILL. Instead, figure out why they are not purchasing from you. Do a survey where people can submit anonymously.
2) They do not see the value in what you are selling. Chances are these people love you and don't want to hurt your feelings. You may not be appealing to their particular market or share the same taste as them. Maybe they value electronics instead of fashion. EVERYBODY IS NOT GOING TO PURCHASE WHAT YOU ARE SELLING. So focus on products for a particular niche; one that is not being cater to enough. Provide a product people need! I feel like this was the biggest lesson I learned. If you focus on a niche that people need you won't have this issue.
3) They do not know how much this means to you. Tell them Most people never even think to start a business. They do not understand the struggles of being an entrepreneur. Explain how you feel and move on. Instead focusing on why they are not supporting, focus on better marketing your business.
4) Build quality relationships and come from contribution!!! Lose pennies to make dollars. Do something nice for someone in your field hoping for nothing in return. Invite people who inspire you to coffee and pick their brain. The money will start flowing out of nowhere because you are creating raving fans. People will think of you as soon as they hear of an opportunity. Be sure to focus on them.
Overall, our supporters always outweigh our naysayers. If not then you should consider a new business idea. Tell us why you think your friends don't support your business.