If you live in a city with a high population density with a young crowd, a retail baby clothing store business is perfect to start. An entrepreneur having knowledge about the retail industry can initiate a retail kid’s clothing store business by focusing on the target niche.
The size of the children’s clothing market is growing and there is no shortage of potential consumers in this industry ever. The market for children’s products is enormous. The kids themselves are more sophisticated now and they have the power to influence their parents in almost every purchase decision. Children are now savvier customers than ever before.
If you are living in a small town or in a city where the population density is high a baby clothing retail store business is perfect to start.
Here are the 7 Steps to Follow to Start a Baby Clothing Retail Store Business
1. Compliance for Baby Clothing Retail Store Business
Create a business structure and meet an attorney or small business advisor familiar with the retail business to sort out these issues. Regarding, insurance liability meets a commercial insurance agent. Obtain a trade license from a local authority and apply for sale tax registration of your firm.
Create a soft winning business name that is memorable and easy to spell for your retail kid store business. You can initiate this business by having a lease or rent a property in a good location.
2. Business Plan for Retail Baby Clothing Store Business
Write a business plan for your retail kid store business. It will not only help you to be on the right track in the future but also help you in arranging finance if you need any.
Specify what segments you want to cater to in your store like clothing, toiletries, toys, kid’s furniture, shoes, personal care products, stationery, etc. what age group will be your target customer.
How you are going to compete with other established retail brands. What will be the in-shop promotion strategy? Calculate your initial capital investment and projected return on investment.
3. Setup of Retail Baby Clothing Store Clothing Business
Lease a visible and accessible store location with sufficient space for customer parking. Choosing the right retail space location is the most important factor in the retail business. Make sure your store has an attractive storefront and good signage.
To make retail kids store business a successful venture a floor plan is important. Take advice from interior experts and purchase display fixtures and mannequins. The Interior decoration of your store should be comfortable and kids friendly. If you are planning to set up a big one then try to keep a place as a play zone for kids.
4. Hire Manpower for Baby Clothing Store Business
Hiring the right personnel is an important issue in getting success in this business. Hire skilled and experienced personnel with a pleasant and attractive personalities. For in-shop activity, employees play a crucial role in making the sale done.
5. Calculate the Cost of Starting a Kids Clothing Store
One needs to invest substantially to open a baby garments store. The cost will include rent charges of the retail space, inventory, salary of staff, POS and accounting software, furniture, and promotional expenses.
If you are planning to start a baby clothing store in the United States, a minimum investment of around will be $200,000. The cost will rise for bigger formats.
6. Sourcing for Baby Clothing Store Business
You need to do extensive research on purchasing items of wholesale children’s clothing. Consider fun ideas such as stuffed animals or an exciting superhero. Carrying a particular baby brand will require you to become an authorized dealer of a popular manufacturer’s products.
You can also specialize in medium to high-end products, which often are not found in major stores. In garments, consider a balancing between creative and utility daily-wear clothes.
7. Promote Your Retail Baby Clothing Store Business
To be successful in a baby clothing store business, it is extremely important to have a properly planned promotional plan. Following are some of the promotional activities you can consider implementing:
- Create a child-oriented grand opening that children and parents won’t want to miss.
- Do some outdoor advertising activity
- Craft and hang attractive signage on the front wall of your store
- Create an online presence by creating a website. Update your products with features and prices regularly.
- Initiate an online order system and cash-on-delivery.
- Offer some introductory discounts and gifts to your valued customer.
- Keeping a record of the Birth Date of your kid customers and wishing them on the day with a small gift, definitely give a wide chance of enhancing return customers.
- Concentrate on brand building
You can start a retail baby clothing store business with low start-up capital. To achieve break-even minimum period required is 6 months and the expected gross profit is 25 percent.
Owning your own small business or retail store is a goal of many. You can be one of the few small business owners who make the dream a reality.
You just need to understand what you are in for as far as start-up costs, cash flow, as well as what it takes to be profitable before you open your doors.
Your marketing strategy needs to include understanding your target market and what products they will buy from you in enough volume with high enough profit margins for you to live the lifestyle small business owners dream of.
While I don’t believe in build it and they will come, I do believe if you go in with your eyes open, you can have it all. I’ve met thousands of business owners from all over the world who prove it.
And, you’re going to learn how to increase retail sales sooner or later anyway, why not learn the pitfalls you will encounter when you start a retail business before you take the plunge?
And if you’ve already opened a new store, read on to see how many you’ve already encountered.
42 Things No One Told You About Starting A Retail Business:
1. Your retail shop will be solicited for donations before you make your first sale.
2. People in your town will assume you are rich because you have your own business.
3. Some days you will donate more products to charities in your community than you will sell in your store that day.
4. As soon as you figure out what your customer wants, they will want something totally different.
5. Every lunch will be eaten standing up, and only one bite of a hot meal will ever be eaten hot.
6. What customers say with their mouths is interesting, but what they say with their wallets is how they really feel.
7. You will always remember the customer who managed to get under your skin and got you to lose your cool. even if you were right.
8. Every big event in your store coincides with a terrible storm.
9. Customers will have suggestions for every part of your startup – what products you carry, what events you should hold, what POS system you should buy, etc. But what they buy, attend, and otherwise support, is another matter entirely.
10. You will work weekends and holidays; if you don’t like it, don’t become a retailer.
11. Just because someone asks for a discount, doesn’t mean they won’t buy if you don’t give them one.
12. Nobody cares more about you and your business than you.
13. You will outsell your best retail employees. every time.
14. Customers never read the small print on coupons which will challenge your ideas of delivering customer service.
15. People think that because you are the business owner you have no boss, which is completely wrong; you have many. Your business loan is your boss, your retail business space is your boss, plus every customer who walks through your door is your boss too.
16. 99% of the time, that 800 number on your caller ID is probably a merchant-services telemarketer trying to get you to switch to them.
17. Sometimes a Tuesday might be your best day of the week; other times it will be a Saturday. In this business, there is often no consistency.
18. There will always be customers who won’t respect your store, products, or employees.
19. Never discuss politics with your clients in your shop or on your shop’s social media page. You will be making half of your customers angry.
20. Like most brick-and-mortar retailers, you will fight a losing battle to keep your backroom, stockroom, and desk organized.
21. Without a sense of humor, you will never survive. Okay, you may survive, but you will be miserable.
22. You’re bound to get pitched by a small business consultant who opens the conversation with, “My retail store failed so I switched to consulting.”
23. The customer is not always right.
24. There are many businesses out there whose only intent is to rip-off and scam other small business owners.
25. Sales reps can lie. even some of the best ones.
26. If you let your vendor substitute one item for another one time, the next time they will simply send you whatever products they feel like sending you, to the point that you won’t even recognize it as your order when it arrives at your retail shop.
27. You will need to force any marketing or PR firm you hire to be accountable, and you will need to fire them when necessary.
28. You’ll have to fire the friend you were sure would be a great business partner or employee.
29. Balancing income with expenses is an art form entrepreneurs rarely master.
30. You will eat, sleep, read, breathe, talk, study, compare, worry, and probably be flat broke for some time.
31. 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your sales.
32. You can always be told no and say no.
33. Organization is a skill worth working on; it’s what can make or break you.
34. The longer you own a store, the harder it is to ever pay full price anywhere for anything.
35. You will rarely have a for sure day off again.
36. You need to listen for what customers actually spend their money on, not what they say they want.
37. You must study a location for foot traffic and other variables before you open your brick and mortar; going by your gut is often wrong.
38. You’ll discover an employee you loved during the interview is unable to do the job.
39. The best parenting advice in the world doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t know what YOUR baby needs. Your store is no different. Know your baby.
40. Consistently great customer service will make your enterprise thrive, but one bad customer experience, in the face of social media, can close your doors!
41. Running a business is harder than you think it’ll be, but you won’t really have time to notice.
42. Master change. Change vendors when pricing or service don’t match, change advertising when it doesn’t drive results, change employees when necessary (especially friends and family).
But you know what? It can be well worth it.
..even with all of the maddening things that come along with being a small business owner – especially right now during the pandemic.
When you are starting a retail small business, the things you will learn about yourself, your customers, your online presence through social media, and your community will make your life more rewarding.
While you won’t start off a well-known brand, from your dedication to trying new ideas as you go along and learning from Covid-19 instead of fighting it, you can build a local brand that beats others in the retail industry.
Take my free 5-part email course to learn how your retail store can outsell any online retailer. You can get started with your first lesson by entering your name and email address below .
A friend and I are wanting to start a retail clothing store. We are doing our research on grants, loans and the such, but my main question is where to start once we do get the money. Do we look for locations immediately and secure one, or do we look for inventory, or so on? I also would like some advice. We are both young, in our early 20’s and want to be taken seriously (as we are quite serious) by bankers and landlords, any suggestions or advice? Thank you so much.
First things, first: start with a business plan. A business plan will help you secure financing for your business; as well as help you map out the direction you will take in jump starting your retail clothing store business.
If you are starting from the ground, banks or any lending institutions whom you are looking up for a loan, will definitely require you to submit your Business Plan. That will be their basis as to whether they will avail a loan for you. To give you an idea on how to make the “Plan,” you can use the guide that is developed by the Howard University Small Business Development Center at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/opadhome/mtdpweb/busplano.htm Just fill in the necessary details about your business. Also check out our listing of free sample business plans. The business planning process is essential to help you flesh out your ideas and really think through what you need to do to make your business work.
Getting a bank loan is NOT easy, more so during these tough economic times. The banks will want you to prove that you have the resources to repay the loan — even if the business will not work. Banks tend to look at existing businesses with solid financial performances more favorably than a new startup business.
If and when the banks still will consider you, they will ask for a collateral and look for assets. If you don’t have a property to use for that purpose, you may not have the chance of getting a bank loan. Banks also look at your experience in the business, as they want to assurance that their money is actually used well in the It is strange to think that banks keeps on advertising about how easy it is to get loans but they ask for so much security when you try to apply for one. You may want to read the article 12 Tips on Getting Your Bank Loan Approved before you meet with them.
Remember, no financial institution will take you seriously if you have nothing to show that would convince them that you and your friends are worth risking their money with. If you have no collateral, one strategy would be to bring someone with established credentials (known in the community or in the field) as part of your management team – perhaps in an advisory capacity (if you are not looking for an investor). That would send a very strong signal to banks, financial institutions and leasing companies that you two are serious about this business. Of course, your next task would be to find that someone, and convince him/her to support and endorse your business.
You need to line up alternative sources of financing, especially if you don’t have the requirements needed by the bank. Perhaps Aunt Mathilde has some cash that you can borrow? Also look at crowdfunding as an option for raising the funds that you need.
As for government grants, grants are normally given out by the government to non-profit organizations or a project-based activity. Rarely are there any grants to help start out a business, much less a retail clothing store. You can check with the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) at http://www.cfda.gov, which lists all grants that the government gives, and Grants.gov, which is the government’s portal for grants. We prepared an article on how to get grants and resources to help you find these grants. You have a better chance of winning grants if you find those that focus on women and youth — those are your best bets. Check out the Foundation Center’s database of grants for individuals.
For your next question, I recommend that you read my article, “Starting a Product-based Business” which can give you some hints on what to do. It will give you a step-by-step approach to starting your business.
Of course, you don’t have to have a location immediately but it will help you much if you have one. You may need some inventory of items representative of what you intend to sell. Try to limit your inventory to specific categories. Try to specialize. Will you be in Women, Men, or Children’s Clothing? You can have a little of each. It all depends on how much you can afford in the beginning. If you are limited with funds, try one line first and move as you progress later on.
We prepared a comprehensive article on starting a clothing business that may give you some ideas in setting the direction of your venture. I also recommend reading the blog post Growing Your Retail Store Business. The book featured in that blog post The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business: A Step-by-Step Approach to Quickly Diagnose, Treat, and Cure is an excellent primer of what you need for your retail store to succeed.
Nach M Maravilla
Recommended Resources on How To Start a Retail Clothing Store
Ontario provides more opportunity for retail businesses than any other province in Canada. With the highest provincial population and retail sales, starting a retail business in Ontario can be extremely rewarding. However, like all other businesses, there are a number of factors you must consider before starting a retail business in Canada’s most populated province.
Choose the type of retail business you will start. There are many different types of retail businesses in Ontario. From clothing and convenience stores to video rental businesses and hobby shops, retail is a vast industry. Choose an area that you know well and feel comfortable competing in.
Research the retail industry in Ontario and create a business plan. The retail industry in Ontario has many government-imposed rules and procedures that regulate how retail businesses must operate, industry guidelines they must abide by, and legal restrictions that must be adhered to. Rules, regulations and procedures for Ontario retailers can be found on the Ontario business website. Once you have researched and understood the regulations in Ontario, create a business plan for your retail business.
Incorporate your retail business. Once a business plan has been created, you must incorporate your business. Incorporating your business registers it as a legal entity with the government and allows you to legally operate in the province of Ontario and, should you choose, all other Canadian provinces. The incorporating process requires that you complete an application and pay an incorporating fee. Applications and more information about incorporating in Ontario can be downloaded and completed on the Ontario Businesses website.
Apply for a business number. After your application has been approved and your business has been incorporated, you must apply for a business number. Your business number acts as a corporate tax identification. The Canadian Revenue Agency require that you have a business number to assist in the monitoring of GST and HST sales taxes, import and export taxes, payroll deductions and your corporate income tax.
Obtain applicable licenses and permits. The Ontario Ministry of Revenue issues a vendor license allowing you to charge tax on the goods and services you provide. The vendor license can be applied for online by visiting the Ontario.ca or Ontario Ministry of Revenue websites and is required. Depending on the products you sell, you may need to apply for other permits or licenses. For example, if you sell video games, music or videos, you must have a license to do so. Selling tobacco requires a permit, as does the sale of lottery tickets.
Create your retail identity and open your location. Your retail identity includes your signage, price points, products, retail environment and corporate culture. In addition, the location of your retail business will be a determining factor of your success. Choose a location that is near your target market with high traffic and the potential to reach a broad audience.
Scott Ryan has been writing since 2006. He specializes in personal development, travel and language study. His work has appeared on eHow and on leadership and development websites. Ryan holds an associate degree in business administration with a major in marketing from Durham College.
Thinking about opening a used clothing store? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
The Marketability of Secondhand Clothing
Business is booming for thrift stores and consignment shops in today’s tough economic climate. Although all merchandise categories are experiencing increased demand, used clothing is doing exceptionally well as consumers eagerly snatch up name brand products for a fraction of the price they would pay a typical retailer.
There are several different types of used clothing retailers in the resale industry. Many sell general clothing and accessories for a wide range of customers; others specialize in designer brands, vintage apparel or specific customer categories (e.g. kids clothes).
But regardless of whether you decide to pursue a generalist or niche product approach, the mechanics of your operation will be the same — secure great quality merchandise at a low price and attract customers by demonstrating value.
Branding a Used Clothing Retail Startup
It takes a certain amount of skill to properly brand a used clothing retail store. Since you’re selling secondhand apparel, your store name needs to communicate both the resale and clothing aspects of your company mission. Sounds easy, right? It isn’t — and it’s even more complicated by the fact that you’ll want to make sure no one else has already branded your name ideas.
After you have settled on a name, you’ll need to create a logo that reinforces your store’s distinctive elements. Since your logo will be associated with your store for a long time (think years), you need to get it right the first time — even if it means hiring a professional marketing firm for assistance.
Inventory Acquisition Tips for Secondhand Clothing Retailers
Inventory is the lifeblood of a used clothing retail operation. Without adequate inventory, your startup is just a storefront with a cash register. In addition to stocking your initial inventory with merchandise from your personal stash and your friends’ closets, you’ll need to either buy “gently used” clothing items directly from the public or accept merchandise on a consignment basis.
To augment your inventory even further, consider shopping for high quality, used designer merchandise on eBay and other online auction sites. But keep in mind that clothing cost is a big deal for a thrift store retailer. Your customers will expect as much as a 70% discount off the “new” purchase price, so you’ll need to be intelligent about how much you pay for merchandise in order to meet your profit goals.
How to Write an Effective Used Clothing Store Business Plan
A business plan isn’t just another startup formality. It’s a core business document that will guide your used clothing store’s decisions and activities on a go-forward basis.
Accuracy and an eye for detail count when writing a business plan. To be reliable, your business plan can’t include best guesses or intentional exaggerations.
The more effort you invest in the details of your plan, the greater the payoff you will receive from your efforts. As a further guide, consider what the experts say about business plan writing.
Consider the Competition
Before you open a used clothing store in your area, it’s essential to determine how strong the competition is. Use the link below to find competitors near you. After following the link, enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of used clothing stores in your area.
Prior to opening your doors for business, be sure you fully understand the competitive landscape and where your new business will fit in.
Turning Competitors Into Collaborators
As part of your due diligence on opening a used clothing store, it’s a wise move to speak with somebody who is already in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
Thankfully, an owner of a a used clothing store in a different city may be more than happy to give you a few tips, after they realize you reside far away from them and won’t be stealing their local customers. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. In my experience, you may have to call ten business owners in order to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
The key question new becomes: how to find a used clothing store entrepreneur on the other side of the country to talk to?
No problem! Just use the link below and try a random city/state or zipcode. Then start dialing for advice until you are successful.
Guidelines for a Used Clothing Store Acquisition
There are a lot of reasons why it may be preferable to acquire a used clothing store instead of starting a new business venture.
An acquisition isn’t necessarily a bed of roses. You’ll need to thoroughly evaluate the factors involved with buying a business. The first criteria to consider is whether the existing business can be adequately adapted to your business philosophy.
If the business is right for you, the assistance of a business broker will help all of the rest of the pieces of the process fall in place and you will be well on your way to owning a proven used clothing store.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
Franchises reduce the amount of time it takes to launch a business because they leverage the expertise of successful used clothing stores and enhance the visibility of your startup in the local market. When it comes to supply chains, marketing, hiring processes, operational procedures and other areas, it’s hard to beat a small business franchise.
While it’s true that franchising has both benefits and drawbacks, our apparel franchise directory will give you the tools you need to evaluate whether a franchised startup is a good fit for you and your goals.
These interviews should be of interest to you.
More Advice for Startups
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
A boutique shop is a specialty retail store that sells unique and stylish clothing or apparel targeted at a niche market. A fashion boutique store is a very profitable investment opportunity. With strategic planning and retail expertise, you can start this business with moderate capital investment.
Most of the boutique owners sell their own designs. You can also accommodate some of the popular brands with your clothing line. Compared to a retail store, a boutique is small retail having less variety of items. Opening a boutique shop is a wonderful opportunity for professional designers.
Clothing Boutique Shop Business Plan for Beginners
Here are the steps to start a profitable clothing boutique shop business:
1. Understand the Market
Market research is the first thing you must do. The apparel industry is a bit crowded. Find out what are products customers are missing. Or a better way you can offer something to them. Boutique stores are more focused on community selling. Decide with what type of clothing items you will open the store.
Evaluate the potential competition in your area. What are the other boutiques are operating with the same product line? What is their pricing strategy? How they promote etc. Determine how much space you need. A lot of thoughtful planning is required in starting this business.
2. Create a Business Plan
Calculate your startup budget including the cost of the venue, utilities, decoration, inventory, and initial promotional budget. A detailed business plan will help you in getting finance from the bank or any other investors.
Talk to a small business consultant about the licensing part of the retail business of your area. Choose a simple and memorable ‘Name’ and ‘logo’ of your brand that relates to the store’s design and style.
After getting the business plan, starting a boutique shop attracts some of the operational steps.
3. Make your Clothing Boutique Legal
To make your clothing boutique legally compliant, it is essential to register your business. Talk to a local attorney and select a business structure that suits you best.
In addition, you also need to procure specific licenses and permits required to run a shop business in your locality.
4. Fix Location
Find a convenient location for your store. Like any retail business, location plays a vital role in a boutique business. According to your target demographic select the place carefully. make sure that you can accommodate the parking facility for your customers. Either you can have an individual storefront or you can go for the shop-in-shop option. Check whether the site is worth the rent.
5. Set up the Shop
After securing the place, the next step is the decoration. Equally, pay attention to both interior and exterior. Ask an interior designer to help you in developing a floor plan. This will help you to get the perfect plan with some trials and errors.
6. Stock Items
According to your plan gather the inventory. In the boutique shop business, having a great product is the essential foundation of a great business. Price negotiation comes here. According to your plan procure the items. If you want to sell your own product, make sure that you have sufficient stocks.
7. Price your Clothing Products
Price your products carefully. In a boutique shop, the price is not only a reference to the nominal amount of money being charged for a product. It can also refer to the “value equation” that the brand creates in a consumer’s mind.
8. Hire Manpower
Finding and choosing the right person for your boutique shop is a tough challenge. Concentrate on getting good salespeople. Procure other utilities like a computer and monitor, a point of sale software, a receipt printer, and a cash drawer.
9. Have a Promotional Plan
Create your brand image. In-store branding plays an important role in a boutique business. Before marketing your brand, it is crucial to define what it is — and what it isn’t.
In the most simple form, brands should think about key descriptions of any design or aesthetic features, define their pricing or market segments, and identify exactly who their customer is, factoring in elements like gender, age, geography, interests, and anything else that helps describe their lifestyle and preferences.
Regardless of whether you sell online or offline, it’s important for every brand to have a website. This may only require a small investment of time and money but will be a crucial way to capture the traffic that you generate when you create interest in your brand. Think of your website as the first window into your brand and your world. You can go for a soft launch before a physical opening.
Publish advertisements in fashion magazines. Ask your clients to give feedback at your site. Social media is one of the most wonderful places to get connected with your clients. You can also aware of new products on social media. Starting your website, Facebook page, and Twitter can help you get your name out there even before you open it.
No matter which social media platform(s) you decide to use, choose carefully and make sure you have the resources to keep your accounts active and engage your followers. In today’s Internet-era consumers have more power than ever before and interact with the brands they deem worthy of their time via a number of new channels. The strong brand value will give you sustainable sales in a boutique shop business consistently.
One of the greatest things about starting a retail clothing business is the number of specialties or niches you can go into.
You most probably don’t want to be “just another clothing store” selling cheap clothes that are indistinguishable from clothes carried at any department store.
To be successful with a retail clothing business in your area, you need to take a look at the community you live in. Is it “down-home rural,” “upscale classic,” full of cute babies and trendy teenagers?
Or, perhaps you want to sell retail clothing that meets a need, such as clothes for older adults, uniforms, or some other type of clothing that is hand-made by local or international seamstresses.
Storefronts can also vary, for example, strip-mall space, full retail store, a permanent vendor booth at a specific location, a small boutique, or an online-only retail clothing store.
- Retail sales and marketing
- Fashion knowledge
- Stock display
- Inventory control
- Money management
- A good eye for color coordination
- Good at matching clothing and Accessories
- Sales associates
Hours of Operation:
Depending on your location, this business runs according to retail sales hours, such as Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., if you are located in a mall you may stay open to 10:00 PM
- Acrylic Displays
- Counter-top displays
- Clothing Racks
- Display cases and counters
- Glass displays
- Grid wall
- Hat racks
- Jewelry displays
- Slat wall
- Shopping bags, tissue paper, and gift boxes
- Price gun
- Tagging gun with tags
- Size rings
- Security mirrors
- Shopping baskets
- Cash register(s)
- Credit card processor
- Retail sales software
- Dressing rooms/mirrors
- Draperies, floor coverings
- Speaker system (music)
- Seating (small couches, chairs)
- Restroom/baby changing area
- Van or truck
- General Retail Equipment
Monthly Expenses To Consider:
Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:
Bare essentials – The average startup cost will vary according to your plans, location, inventory, whether your starting online or as a storefront location.
Pros and Cons:
- You can be your own boss
- The business is Expandable
- High profits in clothing
- You may be required to work long hours
- A risky investment as sales often fluctuates with the economic climate.
- A lot of competition if you don’t discover a way to be different and offer something others don’t.
- It’s difficult to compete with brand name retailers like Zara and other top clothing retailers.
Steps To Starting Your Retail Clothing business
The steps to starting almost any small business are very similar. For example; r esearching your business idea, w riting a business plan, f unding your business, c hoosing a location. etc.
Instead of repeating the same steps in this post, I have put together an article for all the details, plus some very important points you will want to consider before you start any business. See The Essential Steps To Start a Business for all the details you’ll need.
The clothing retail business requires that you enjoy meeting people, be skilled in the art of maintaining customers, have a knack for choosing the clothes that people will actually buy, and possess a huge dose of fashion sense. The business may appear glamorous, but you must be willing to work long hours and be on your toes to adapt to every little change in the market.
The industry is very competitive, and studies show that 80 percent of retail clothing businesses fail within the first five years. Most retail stores, particularly small businesses, perish because of poor management, tough competition from department and discount stores and poor evaluation of fashion trends. Before embarking on this business, it is better to gain experience and expertise in the industry, even take training courses to give you the technical know-how of retailing.
Below are nine ways your small business can succeed in the clothing retail market:
1. Start small
One of the most common downfall of small retailers is that they tie up so much cash in inventory and overheads in the beginning. If you are short in cash, concentrate on getting select quality merchandise. As your business grows and your customers increase, you can then afford to increase your inventory. Avoid buying expensive fixtures at the start, as customers will go to your store because of your merchandise, not so much the ambiance of your store.
2. Learn about your market
Before you open the doors of your shop for business, you should try to learn as much about the demographic of your area as possible. Whether you will be leasing a space at the mall or opening a small boutique, knowing the population characteristics of your area – their income, age, population brackets – can assist in your decision making process. If your area is composed of high-income population, you may want to purchase brand names and pricier merchandise. If the area is a retirement community, you may want to look for a new location for your baby and infant clothing store.
3. Maintain quality in your merchandise mix
The success of your clothing store will in large part depend on the right product mix. This depends on your store concept, finances, space, and the expected turnover rate. Be sure to select your merchandise carefully to meet your market’s needs, and keep up with fashion trends by attending trade shows. At the start of your business, it may be smart strategy to buy specific items from within several product lines. By offering a wider selection, you can protect yourself in case a line does not sell as expected. Always make sure that all the merchandise delivered to you by your suppliers are inspected thoroughly and are of acceptable quality.
4. Go heavy on service
Because you appeal to a relatively select group of people, chances are you won’t have hundreds of customers in the shop at any one time. Make an effort to know your customers by name, and even call big spenders when you get in a shipment with merchandise just right for them. Your advantage over the larger stores is the extra attention you can lavish your customers.
5. Plan and control your inventory
In line with following a concept for your store, consider the range within a reasonable structure. Selling everything from budget to very expensive is not a sound idea. Experts suggest that you should keep your merchandise to within three prices lines (budget, off-price, moderate for example).
You must also establish a system to know and maintain your inventory level. You need to know on a daily basis what’s selling and how much, what’s not selling so it can be marked down and the current dollar amount you have in stock. The exact system you choose depends on the size of your store, type of clothing and competition. There are three methods you can use to keep track of your inventory: (a) dollar-control, which is based on selling price; unit method, which is used to confirm the results of the dollar-control method by checking the actual units of merchandise according to established variables (size, color, etc) confirms the results from the dollar-control method; and (c) ticket counts, based on tickets removed from items as they are sold
6. Listen to your customers
As the business owner, the success of your clothing business will in large part depend on the selection of your merchandise. However, it is best to always keep an open mind and be receptive to customer suggestions. Your maternity clothing store may initially focus on casual wear, but you may find that you have a lot of working women clamoring for suits tailored for the pregnant women.
7. Cross market your products
Encourage your sales clerks to offer assistance and advice on accessories. They can also give suggestions (without sounding too pushy, of course) as to what matches the outfit the skirt that the customer is buying.
8. Hire the right people
Hire employees who possess an understanding of the fashion needs of your target market. If you are running a plus-size apparel store, a size 16 sales clerk may be able to assist your clients better, not to mention be less intimidating, than a size 2 employee.
9. Market your store
If your location is good, your business may benefit from a lot of walk-in traffic. Nonetheless, you still must think of cost-effective strategies to advertise your business. If you are operating a baby’s clothing store, you may want to advertise in local family magazines, arrange tie-ups with providers of childbirth classes, or engage in direct-mail advertising.
Recommended Books On How to Be Successful in the Clothing Retail Business: