Tips and opportunities for starting a fashion accessories business in South Africa.

fashion accessories

Opportunities certainly exist if you plan to grow a fashion accessories business in South Africa.


Clothing sales have been declining worldwide – but sales in fashion accessories are an exception!


Worldwide growth in the fashion accessories market

Store lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic have had a huge impact on sales of clothing and accessories in bricks-and-mortar stores. But price and convenience have kept the accessories sector one of the most buoyant in the fashion industry.


Fashion accessories can cost as little as R10 and they’re often impulse buys. They’re quick and easy to purchase. You don’t need a changing room to try on a pair of sunglasses or a handbag. Often, fashion accessories are bought on the run and as gifts.


Other reasons for the segment’s buoyancy include:

  • expanding global markets outside the West
  • increasing online access and smartphone penetration
  • emerging worldwide middle classes with disposable income
  • technologies to create experiential e-commerce
  • the power of celebrity and influencer culture.

How to start an accessories business

When you’re starting any enterprise, there are steps to follow. These tips are specific to starting a fashion accessories business.

  1. Research the market. Knows what’s available by researching the market leaders in fashion accessories.
  2. Select your niche. Catering to a specific (and desired) niche can help establish a brand.
  3. Locate business premises. Find and set up an office space for your business. Don’t get tied into an expensive, long-term lease.
  4. Find storage space. To start a fashion accessories business, you’ll need space to store stock.
  5. Register your business and open a bank account. Here’s what you need to do.
  6. Locate and select suppliers. See below.
  7. Set your price. Set a fair price point – not too high – that will give you profit.
  8. Select a business name and website domain. Make sure it’s easy to remember and spell.
  9. Create a website. It must be fast, highly customisable, mobile-friendly and the shopping cart must contain more than 20 products with a secure payment gateway. This article will help you set up an online business.
  10. Curate content. Create excellent product descriptions and photographs, including sizes and measurements.
  11. Deliver on time. Partner with a reliable and reputable logistics company.
  12. Consider third-party selling. A leading e-commerce site such as Takealot (Amazon is coming to South Africa in the next few years) will take some of your profits but it opens a huge customer base.
  13. Begin mass marketing. Consider professional SEO to improve your ranking in search engines and start social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sourcing wholesale accessories in South Africa

It’s important to find the right supplier(s) if you don’t plan to manufacture fashion accessories yourself. Make sure they’re reliable, ethical, environmentally-friendly and, in an ideal world, local.


There are many ways to source wholesale fashion accessories in South Africa, including networking, searching online, visiting factory shops, and attending trade shows and expos.


Selling fashion accessories online

During global lockdowns, many customers moved online for fashion purchases.


In the US alone in 2020, the e-commerce fashion industry accounted for 29.5% of fashion retail sales. Statistics project that accessories and bags will be one of the healthiest segments in e-commerce fashion, with an 8.7% increase by 2022.


Considerations and tips for success

To succeed, you’ll need to find a reliable source of inventory at a low price point and market it effectively online.


You’ll also need to consider your approach to products. For example, find a balance between offering variety (in price range and products) and developing a hero product. A best-seller may turn into a collection.


Consider whether to focus on seasonal basics or more distinctive styles. It can also be effective to incorporate pop culture in product lines.


Some tips and tricks for marketing accessories online are to:

  • showcase products on social media
  • consider incorporating a “shop by outfit” experience online
  • run competitions with giveaways to increase product awareness
  • hold seasonal and holiday promotional events
  • offer irresistible discounts
  • aim to get off-site coverage about your brand.

Selling fashion accessories in South African markets

In South Africa, fashion accessories are big sellers at weekend fairs, craft markets and informal stalls and shops.


Increasingly, customers look online to buy fashion accessories. Fashion – including accessories – accounts for 31% of online sales in South Africa.


It’s important to have a presence online. If you don’t want your own website (or as well as), you can stock your products on online marketplaces in Africa


General tips for growing a fashion accessories business

The fashion accessories market turns over very fast. Bear in mind these general tips for growing your business to avoid being left behind:

  • price to sell with a high margin
  • offer something for everyone
  • supply strong product variety
  • incorporate smart displays
  • ask questions.

Fashion accessories storage for e-commerce businesses

When looking at storage options for your stock, you must consider:

  • location – easy access by road
  • security – 24/7 surveillance and on-site personnel
  • extended access – visit at times that suit you
  • flexible terms – rent by the month.

At XtraSpace, we offer clean, secure self-storage units that are ideal for storing stock and inventory – ideal if you plan to start and grow a fashion accessories business in South Africa. Contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.


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