How to Start a Trophy Shop

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A trophy shop provides custom engraved trophies to winning sports teams or individuals recognized for their achievements. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, trophy demand continues to increase as sports grow more popular. A trophy business requires a relatively small investment, in the $2,000 to $5,000 range. Engraving equipment is usually available at building supply or home improvement stores. Depending on the market size and number of trophy customers, a yearly profit of $10,000 may be realistic.

Things You'll Need

  • Business license
  • Sales tax number (if applicable)
  • Building signage
  • List of local sign-making businesses
  • List of local framing galleries
  • Wholesale product order details
  • List of local seasonal sports teams
  • List of local bowling leagues
  • List of local companies with awards programs
  • List of local martial arts leagues
  • List of other local groups that hold recognition events
  • Choose your business structure. Meet with a Certified Public Accountant familiar with businesses selling both products and services. Consult with a commercial insurance agent with similar expertise. Obtain a business license from your city or county clerk's office. Finally, contact your state department of revenue about your need for a sales tax number.

  • Find a highly visible location. Select a storefront accessible from major highways and on a well traveled main road. Install a display window to showcase a changing trophy selection and use colorful signage to attract customers.

  • Find your competition. Although there may be few local trophy shops, remember that trophy products may include plaques and framed certificates. These products may be carried by sign-making businesses and framing galleries. Find these businesses on a regional map and anonymously inquire about their products and rates. View the companies' websites (if applicable) to gain additional knowledge.

  • Hire creative trophy experts. Find staff with trophy or sign shop background and a "can do" customer service attitude. Encourage your employees to develop their technical expertise, while you provide incentives for them to hone their sales skills.

  • Order your trophy and plaque supplies. Compile a wholesale order that includes trophy stock, wooden plaques, engravable metal plaques and specialty items such as acrylic award stock. Include a good selection of most items and use quantity discounts where available.

  • Contact group trophy prospects. Designate an outgoing staffer to market to teams and clubs. Visit seasonal sports teams, as well as bowling leagues, for conventional trophy work. Contact corporate customers as well, as larger companies may have awards and recognition programs.

    Finally, look to martial arts leagues and other groups that promote personal achievement. Target sales of personalized plaques and framed certificates. Offer introductory discounts for single purchases, or frequency savings for customers who commit to multiple trophy or award purchases.

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