The U.S. has been hit hard by a recession in the last few years, as homes are
foreclosed, unemployment rates skyrocket and big retail stores shut
down their doors. Some have wondered how to survive this massive recession, while others are turning to the online marketplace, which has thrived even in a sluggish economy. Notably, consumers spent $459.3 million online over the three-day weekend (excluding travel) following Thanksgiving, CBS News reported.
Small business owner Vijay Harkishnani, who runs BellyScarf.com, has captured part of the online retail market. Before, there was money to be made the stock market, then in the real estate market in the early 2000s, and now the gold rush is online, he said. As one-income families become a thing of the past, people need another source, like an online website, to survive, he said. “You have to work smarter, not harder, these days, and take advantage of the tools that the internet offers to make money,” he said.
Vijay opened an easy-to-build online store in October 2009 and offered wholesale clothing to retailers and small businesses. With just $20 in startup costs, and after many late nights of online research, he has sold thousands of products in his first year of business.
Vijay grew up in India, where jobs were scarce, so everyone had small businesses of their own. Either they sold jeans in the local market, or shoes at the boutique mall. And as jobs in the U.S. are dwindling away, he said he sees a similarity of the shift from 9-to-5 jobs to more small businesses, as is more common in countries like India and China.
“It’s our innate ability to survive, adapt to changes and succeed in whatever economy we are in, so when jobs go away, people turn to small businesses and create their own jobs,” he said. And more and more people are adapting to this change by learning about buying in bulk from wholesalers or manufacturers, and selling at retail prices. Online companies let you do that, so more and more people are taking advantage, he said.
Before starting BellyScarf.com, Vijay was stuck in a job without the chance to reach his earning potential. “The nice thing about owning your own business is that the more work you put in, the more money you make, and no one can take that away from you,” he said.
To increase his success, he has opened up his wholesale business to the public ,so anyone can buy in bulk and sell to retail outlets or flea markets, or to their social connections. For example, his wholesale hip scarves are $6 each, which can be resold for between $20 and $25 each. After a year of successful selling, here are his words of wisdom for starting your own online business:
1) Start with a product or idea with good intentions of helping people
2) Work your tail off because there ain’t no free lunch
3) Honesty and integrity are the key in any business or relationship
4) If you help others, they will support you back. If you manipulate others, they will make sure you get what you deserve.
Owner Cell: 425-283-9342
Email: [email protected]
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