If you have an eye for fashion and a head for business, starting a children's store could be a rewarding and fruitful endeavour. However, understand it is more than simply finding the latest trends. Managing a store and employees can be overwhelming if you've never held a supervisory position. It may be worthwhile to spend some time working in a retail store or investing in some leadership courses. Also, competition is fierce in the clothing industry; you will need to thoroughly research your market to ensure you can compete.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Business license
- Liability insurance
- Commercial space
- Assistant manager
- Fixtures and furniture
Define your target audience. Determine if you will cater to babies and toddlers or youth and teens. Learn your region's demographics via the U.S Census Bureau. Then research the area for any viable competition and determine if either market has a void that needs to be filled. Clothing is terribly important to teens. If you intend to target them, research their interests so your store can accurately represent and fill their needs.
Determine what brands and accessories you will carry. Children's clothing stores that cater to those under the age of about seven run the gamut, from offering inexpensive clothing to high-end, speciality brands or boutique wear. Research the children's clothing industry to learn popular brands in your area, among your target demographic.
Develop a business plan. Include your market research, how you intend to compete, staffing needs, insurance, taxes, space needs and advertising techniques. Visit the Small Business Administration for help on writing your plan. Present your plan to financiers, if necessary.
Establish your business by incorporating or forming a limited liability company. Register with your Secretary of State, obtain a business license and purchase business insurance. Then, secure commercial space in a high-visibility location, such as mall, shopping centre or plaza, or situated near a toy store or other kid-friendly business. Spend time at potential locations observing consumer traffic.
Outfit your kid's store with fixtures, mirrors, displays, mannequins, furniture and decor If you aren't particularly creative, hire someone to help you create a fun and exciting atmosphere that is also practical, easy to manoeuvre through and well merchandised. Update your mannequins regularly to exhibit the latest fashions. If targeting teens, consider hiring a graffiti artist to deck out your storefront windows monthly.
Contact clothing manufacturers directly to set up business accounts and purchase wholesale gear. Be sure to use a credit card that offers cashback rewards for each purchase.
Hire a responsible, experienced assistant manager to act in your stead and one or two salesgirls, as needed. Train them on the importance of customer service and your clothing lines and products. If catering to young people, ensure that your employees look hip and know how to help clients pair up outfits.
Tips and warnings
- Implement fun activities for small children to do while their parents shop, such as setting up a television and chairs at the back of the store, where kids can watch kid-friendly shows.
- If opening a youth clothing store, consider sponsoring skateboarding competitions or hosting popular, local bands monthly.
- Get involved with your community. Hold clothing drives or donate a portion of certain sales to local shelters or agencies.
- Offer monthly free activities, such as a craft day for families with young children to further get your name out there into the community.
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