How to start a shoe shop

Written by laura petrolino
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How to start a shoe shop
Stock a mix of high-fashion shoes and practical favourites to attract shoppers. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

People always need shoes. Starting a shoe shop is a fun and rewarding way to own your own business and fill an always-growing need. To start a successful shoe shop, it helps to have a passion for shoes, a demand in the community, and adequate financial backing. If you have these elements in place, you are well on your way to being the owner of a profitable small business.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shoe distributors
  • Marketing materials

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  1. 1

    Find a location for your shop. Choose a location based on the type of shoes you want to sell and your targeted demographic. For example, if you wish to sell children's shoes, look for a location with a high residential percentage of families and schools. Once you find a few vacant shops you are interested in, figure out your daily operations and decide how much altering and/or additions are needed to make the premises suitable. For a shoe shop, you need a large, easily accessible space in the back for shelves of shoes. You also need a front or "showroom" space where customers can look at the shoe styles on offer.

    Consider parking availability, safety, ease of finding and getting to your shop, nearby businesses and the total cost before making a final decision.

  2. 2

    Decide what type of shoes you are going to sell. Do you want to focus on a niche market or do you want to offer a wide variety of shoes? Choosing what type of shoes you want to carry affects your choice of location, shoe distributors and marketing strategy.

  3. 3

    Choose reliable, quality shoe distributors. Pick a few brands of shoes you want to sell and research which distributors offer those brands. Meet with each distributor and decide which offers the best service. Ask distributors for references from non-competing locations. Sign binding legal contracts to ensure successful transactions.

  4. 4

    Hire trustworthy employees who project the image you want for your shop. Look for employees who are responsible, mature and possess good customer service skills. Employees should either have previous shoe knowledge or be willing to learn. Customers expect shoe shop employees to be experts on shoes. If your employees know their products, it is much easier to sell them.

  5. 5

    Devise a solid marketing plan and budget. Many of the details of your marketing plan depend on the type of shoes you are going to sell, your location and your targeted demographic. Make sure you get your shop's name and logo out there in multiple ways. The best marketing uses multiple forms of media -- TV, radio, newspaper -- and public relations campaigns.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep your product inventory small at first. Once your shop has been in business for a while, you will have learned the needs of your customers and can adjust your product line accordingly.
  • The biggest financial burden most shops deal with is loss of goods through shoplifting. Have a security plan in place.

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