Starting your own tea store may seem like a very difficult and expensive task at first. However, filing the appropriate paperwork and establishing a proper business costs relatively little money at first, particularly when compared with average rent and product costs.
Determine a name for your specialty tea store. Make a short list of favorite names that you would like to use, as your first choice may not be available. Choose names that are easy to remember and clearly tell people what type of business you are and what products you offer.
Apply for a fictitious name statement. Paperwork for filing a fictitious name statement is available at your County Registrar's office. The fees for this are relatively low, usually less than $100 in most counties. You will receive a DBA (doing business as) in the mail once your paperwork has been received and approved.
Open a business checking and savings account. You may choose to use the same bank where you have personal accounts to save time, particularly if your business is a sole proprietorship. In most cases, you will need your DBA on hand to open business banking accounts.
Find a space for your store. If you are planning on having a physical retail location instead of an online or mail-order store, you may wish to consult a property management group or realty company in your area to assist you in your search. Most property management and realty firms provide help to potential tenants free of charge.
Obtain a license to conduct business in your area. Business licenses are provided free of charge by local government.
Get a dedicated tax ID number if you plan on having employees. You do not need a dedicated tax ID number if you are working alone; however, you may choose to acquire one instead of using your Social Security number. Forms for Tax ID numbers can be found at a local IRS office and in most public libraries.
Get a resale license from your local State Board of Equalization. Having a resale license will allow you purchase goods from wholesalers and resell them to consumers at a higher price. Resale licenses are free; however, you will need to prove that you need a resale license, although usually your DBA and business license considered adequate proof.
Find a wholesale tea dealer in your area or one that will ship to you. While buying tea from a company not in your area, make sure you factor in shipping costs.
Find proper containers to store your tea and make sure they are not exposed to an excessive amount of sunlight. Storing your product in clear containers will cause it to degrade faster.
Consider subscribing to the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal for practical tips as well as news and information about the tea and coffee business.