How to Open Your Own Shop That Sells Clothes & Shoes

Clothing and shoe shops can be opened at physical locations or online.
Clothing and shoe shops can be opened at physical locations or online. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Risks and challenges exist when taking a leap into the retail business. Opening up a new clothing and shoe store requires advanced planning, research, and knowledge of the retail industry. Physical store locations and online stores are both options to consider. A love and eye for fashion and trends will help a new store stay ahead of the competition. A specialty niche will also help set the store apart from competitors.

Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Domain name
  • Wholesale license (optional)
  • Website

Pick out the type of items to sell in the online clothing and shoe shop. The shop's target market will determine what items are needed. General merchandise shops include Items for women, men and children.

Sort through old clothes and shoes if the shop is selling used merchandise. Selling used item require little or no upfront cost for merchandise. Selling new items requires purchasing the clothing and shoes from a wholesale supplier.

Create a name for the online clothing shop. The name should be different and not currently used by another business owner. A good way to check to see if a name is being used is to type the name in a search engine and see what results come back.

Register the business name with the county where the physical business owner is located. Even though it is a Web-based store, state law requires business owners to register fictitious business name statements and in some states a business license might be required.

Apply for a wholesale license with the Secretary of State in your state. A wholesale buyers license is only required if selling new shoes and clothes items. Purchasing new items will require a storage location.

Build a website for the business. Many services are available for business owners to create their own websites, however, if time doesn’t permit, hire a professional website designer.

Take pictures of the items for sale and begin listing them on the website. Include the item's price, material descriptions and size along with the item picture. Adding fun names to each item is a way to attract the customer.

Set up a merchant account through a bank or online merchant company. Customers are more willing to purchase from the Web shop if they know their credit card transactions are secure.

Promote the online clothing and shoe shop to friends and family. Marketing materials in the form of flyers, business cards and email marketing announcements are all effective ways to spread the word about the new business.

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