How to Set Up a Clothes Shop

Updated April 17, 2017

Opening your own clothing shop doesn't have to be a pie in the sky idea. If you've always dreamed of opening your own store and being your own boss, you can do so with some hard work, dedication and knowledge of the field. This line of work is fun and exciting, but be warned that it's serious business. Having some knowledge of the business side of things is just as important as having an interest in fashion.

Research the demographics of your area and determine if the kind of apparel business that you are passionate about can thrive. Take a drive around town and seek out all of the apparel business in the area. If there is a lack of diversity, determine if your specific niche will fill a void. If there is an overabundance of your specific idea, go back to the drawing board. The most important thing to decide before opening up shop is if your community can sustain and support your idea. If you have a passion for high end designer fashion, but the economic status of the majority of your community cannot support this kind of shopping, it may be best to reconsider. The key to making money at something is supplying a demand.

Set yourself apart from the malls of the world. In a society where one-stop shopping has become the norm, it is important to have something to offer your market that will put you a step above the mall or large department stores. Consumers can get everything they need at a store that offers everything under one roof, so it's important to make the shopping experience at your business special. You can offer brands that no one else in town carries, offer a specialised service or prices that can't be beat.

Determine your target market. Because the larger stores cater to the everyman shopper, you will want to satisfy a niche within your community that caters to a specific market. This is when you will need to brainstorm which wholesalers you will get your merchandise from. Start keeping notes and comparing numbers. Examples are vintage clothing, designer dresses, resale, or high end shoes and bags.

Financing. Because the apparel business is a difficult one to succeed in, it is important to have the proper financing available to you and plenty of it. You will need to have enough money available to you to purchase all of your merchandise, fixtures, merchant services, licenses, display materials and renting the perfect location. It is also very smart to have a year's worth of your own expenses, plus those to sustain your business set aside. Because so many businesses fail within the first year, you will need to have a plan in order in case your business does not work out.

Shop around for locations. While looking for the perfect location, you will need to know if your business will need ample parking, down town real estate, lots of foot traffic, large windows for display and more. The location you find may be absolutely perfect in every way, but the price tag contains too many zeros. To determine the correct income bracket of your sales, it is important to keep in mind that your business should generate enough business to keep your rent numbers at six per cent of sales or lower.

If you are going to operate your store all by yourself, then you won't need to worry about hiring employees. However, if you are going to need employees, it is important to know exactly who you are looking for. You may have a very specialised kind of store that will take a lot of knowledge to run or a lot of training. Finding the person who can be knowledgeable about your product, honest, trustworthy, kind, and dedicated to your process will be very important. Because you and this person will be in close contact, it is also important that you like her.

Go through the necessary motions to open up shop in your town. There are many resources that can help you start up with information about licensing, codes, and laws in your area. Utilise all of the help that is available to you. Do not cut corners in getting the correct paperwork filed for your business, as it will only hurt you in the future.

Once you have paid a deposit on your location, ordered your merchandise, purchased your fixtures and hung your sign, it is time to figure out how to get the word out. In this day and age, with the abundance of free advertising tools, it would be foolish to not take advantage. Build your clientele with free network marketing tools like Facebook, flyers, and offering a discount to new customers.

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About the Author

Emily VanUmmersen has always had a way with words. She has enjoyed an education filled with classes that required writing essays and stories. She enjoys writing and learning about health, green living, fashion, art and cooking. She has been a contributing writer for eHow and Pluck on Demand.