Abbie was a successful investment banker. After dedicating almost fifteen years to this lucrative profession, she suddenly experienced mid-life crisis. All she wanted to do was leave her career and chase a new career of her passion... the clothing business. The decision was really not easy as businesses are always full of risks. So, how exactly did she get into the clothing business? Here are some tips from Abbie on how to successfully start and run a clothing store.
Essentials For Starting a Clothing Store
Here is a list of points to be considered before plunging into clothing and apparel business. The fate of your venture as well as its profits depend a lot on these points.
Accumulate Sufficient Capital
One of the foremost requirements of a clothing business is accumulation of sufficient capital to run the business. Initial expenses may include purchasing or renting store premises, investment on importing clothing or expenses to transport the new clothing stock from manufacturers to your store. Be ready to shell out a sufficiently large sum in the initial stages. You need to show patience with expectations over return on investment. Do not expect to milk money from your clothing business overnight. You may have to bear the risk of losses till your business gets well settled.
Set Business Horizons
You need to have a clarity about which kind of clients you wish to cater to. e.g. men, women, infants and young children, teenagers, etc. Further categorization may include formal wear, informal wear, sports wear, exotic oriental clothing, bridal wear, etc.
Selecting Good Premises
It is essential to do a good research of prospective store locations before you actually select a site. Look out for commercial spaces available in popular shopping malls or highly popular shopping zones. If you are looking out to set up an exclusive boutique just for premium customers, then you can check up with some five-star or seven star hotels which have some store spaces in their premises. Locate your store where you can fetch the best and niche clientèle.
In the US, it is mandatory to obtain various licenses before you actually start a business. Permits and licenses may include business permits, electrical permits, import licenses, wholesale licenses, etc. You need to dedicate some time and complete all the legal formalities with the help of a professional law firm.
Christening your Clothing Store
The next step might sound really exciting to most of you. Here you actually get to pick out a name for your clothing store. Before you zero in on any particular name, check to see if it is really apt for your clothing store. Similarly, there some restrictions on using copyright names or registered names of stores. Here you need to check with business permit issuers if the store name that you have picked, has already been registered in someone's name.
Purchasing Right Apparel
Mark Twain had once wisely quoted "The finest clothing made is a person's skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this". You need to have a keen sense of fashion and latest trends before you actually start buying apparel to stock in your store. It is essential to do a lot of research on fashion trends, customer preferences and pricing. You need to actually go out and get in touch with the clothing suppliers and manufacturers. You may have to get in touch with local suppliers or craftsmen who export specialized garments from some other country. A large quantity purchase order will definitely fetch you a good bargain from the manufacturer. But you have to weigh all possible options, before you invest a huge capital into purchasing. After all, you can never be sure about the kind of customer response you can expect. My additional suggestion is to check for list of countries from which imports are banned. In the US, there is ban on clothing manufactured by child laborers.
Creating a Good Ambiance
While you deal with apparel suppliers, it is essential to start setting up your store. They say, sale can be generated by a good store ambiance. Choose some warm and pleasant designs for your store interiors that make your clients feel at ease. Include some mirrors, mannequins and trial rooms inside your store to make it perfect. Designs may vary as per the clients you are dealing with. If you are dealing in formal clothing, then your store design should ideally look classy and formal. For stores dealing in children's wear, you may adopt some famous Disney characters as store themes. Remember, customers not only pay for the clothing, but they also pay for a thrilling shopping experience.
Pricing is a key marketing strategy. Try to price the garments on offer at competitive rates. Too high pricing may drive away your prospective customers while too low pricing might make some customers doubt the quality of garments put up on sale. You need to do sufficient market research before you fix any prices and profit margins.
Update Fashion Trends
The basic factor that helps you stay for long in the clothing business is acute sense of changing fashion. Try to be constantly updated with latest fashion trends and what all is getting out of fashion. In the US, you experience changing fashion trends every month. It is essential to stock your store with new clothing accordingly. Get in touch with your suppliers and check if they have a buy back offer on clothing that is not trendy anymore.
Be a Guide
People usually love what they buy, yet they hate two-third contents of their closet. This is one of the main reasons why customers are tempted to buy clothing at regular intervals. The goodwill of your store and customer loyalty depends upon you. Your customers look up to you as guides for fashions. Making profits is naturally a business priority. However, it is essential to go beyond and persuade your customers to buy clothing that actually suits them. You need to have a good fashion sense for doing this. You can take help of a reliable and smart helper in the shop to make matters easier for you.
It is essential to constantly advertise your store through different media before and after you open the store. You may also announce some shop introductory offers to entice clientèle to check out your new clothing store. You may advertise your own clothing store by being a walking mannequin. All you need to do is don one of the trendiest piece of garments that you have on offer at your store. Also, plan a good window display for your store.
Yes, this is all you need to start a clothing store. But wait, the list is actually not over. It is just the beginning. It may take years for you to actually establish yourself. Be a sport when you face business ups and downs. Refine your marketing strategies and ultimately you will surely succeed.