If you have a flair for fashion and love the idea of working in the fashion industry, owning your own clothing store might be the right move. People who follow fashion trends buy high-profile brand names because of a brand's familiarity and appeal to vanity. Open a clothing business and stock it with the most popular brand names and your own love for fashion can transform you into an entrepreneur.
How to Open a Clothing Business With Brand Names
Handle state and county legal requirements first. Obtain a business license and a reseller's permit if required by your county. To protect your personal assets from your store assets, set up as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC or as an S or C corporation. Consult your county clerk or a tax accountant about the best option for your business.
Find your place in the marketplace. According to Laura Tiffany of Entrepreneur Magazine, "Specializing, or finding your niche in this business, is crucial to your success." Review potential customer demographics and decide what market needs you can meet. For example, the American Apparel and Footwear Association discovered that "Purchases of women’s footwear is by far the largest category of U.S. consumption." Their report showed that American consumers bought 20.1 billion garments in 2007, including 2.4 billion pairs of shoes.
Attend money management courses. The Small Business Administrative has documented how most small businesses fail because of money management issues, whether through miscalculating necessary start-up funding or over-spending on dead-end advertising strategies. Learn strategies to manage your money and make better financial decisions.
Secure financing. You will need enough funds to remodel your location, stock your store and pay for employees and expenses for the first year. An investment of $250,000 is the industry standard for small establishments, according to the National Retail Federation, but you can open a retail store with less money. Leslie Wexner opened the first The Limited store with just $5,000 he borrowed from an aunt, according to Inc. magazine.
Choose the best location for your store. You can sell exclusively online, open a store in a trendy neighborhood or choose a combination of both. The ideal physical location will have ample space to display clothing, lots of foot traffic and ample parking
Negotiate a realistic lease deal. It's possible your concept may not work so avoid a lease longer than two or three years. You can always renegotiate when your business takes off. If you must accept a longer lease, work out a sub-lease option so you can lease the space to someone else if your business does not thrive.
Buy your brand name clothes from a reputable wholesaler. You can try to contact brand manufacturers directly but most often they will refer you to a third party dealer. It's easier for brands to work with one or two dealers than with thousands of boutiques, but they can recommend good wholesalers.
Hire employees with retail experience to reduce training costs and time. Choose fashion conscious workers who will dress in style and represent the type of clothing you sell. Customers will have more confidence in their advice. .
Develop a customer interaction strategy. Upscale clothing stores often pamper their clients with lattes and other refreshments. Create an concept that will enhance your customer's shopping experience.
Market to your target demographic. Go to places your preferred customers spend their time and pass out catalogs and fliers that can introduce them to your store. Produce a low-budget commercial and buy advertising time with local television stations. Buy ad space in local print publications to get your name and store location in front of your prospects.