Clothing business is good business. If I was driving through the streets right now and I see someone walking on the streets without clothes, I would just probably assume such a person has a mental situation or maybe I walked into a restaurant right now, and right there at the corner of the restaurant, someone is sitting there naked and enjoying their food quietly.
Well, I would either walk out quietly in case we have got a lunatic situation on our hands or just try to sit as far away from the person as possible. What am I saying? It’s 2014 and everyone wears clothes whether they like it or not!
Clothes are not a luxury; they have become a necessity just like food and shelter. I wouldn’t know if there were still some people in a cave, somewhere very far away who still run around with leaves wrapped around their waists, what I do know is that 80% of people in the world today wear clothes and that is one of the things that make clothing business a very lucrative one. So how do you start your own retail clothing business?
Starting a Retail Clothing Store Online – Sample Business Plan Template
When you say clothing business, it might mean a whole lot of things, there are different categories of clothes and since you can’t sell all, you have to select a category to specialize on. Some of the popular categories include-:
- Women’s clothes-: You can sell clothes for women from the ages of 18-30. Popular women’s clothing items include skirts, tops, blouses, shirts, suits, denims, leggings etc.
- Children’s clothes-: Children’s cloth sellers stock clothes for kids from the ages of 0-17. You may sell children’s clothes for both genders or specialize on one gender.
- Men’s wear-: This is another category in the clothing business. This category caters to men’s clothing needs. Items to stock include men’s suits, coats, blazers, jackets, pants and underwear.
2. Select a niche
After you must have decided on the category of clothes to sell, it doesn’t end there. You still have to select a clothing niche on the category you have chosen. For instance, if you choose to sell to women, you have to decide if you want to sell women’s casual wear or women’s business wear, bridal wear, plus-size women’s clothing, Petite women’s clothing, maternity wear, lingerie or accessories like bags, hats, shoes, scarves, belts and several other clothing items women use.
The next step to take is to create your business plan to give you a clear picture of what you want to achieve and how much you will need to achieve it.
4. Choose a mode of operation
There are two ways to operate a retail clothing business; you can either decide to open a physical clothing store known as a boutique or create a website to sell your wares online. If you decide to sell on the internet, there are so many ways to sell your wares. For instance, you can register on e-commerce websites like E-bay or Amazon to sell your goods.
It is important to choose a name that would appeal to the fashion senses of people and a name that would project your business in a positive way.
The next step is to figure out exactly how much capital you would need to start up your retail clothing business. Your start up costs would depend on the start-up mode you have chosen. There are three start-up modes you can choose from
- Buy an existing retail clothing store-: This would help you to save costs and you would also be able to leverage on some of the pasts owners’ efforts. For instance, some of the existing customers and goodwill would be transferred to you automatically.
- Buy a franchise-: You may also decide on buying a franchise from an existing boutique. Although this may cost you more money but it would also help you reduce risks and spend less on marketing and publicity.
- Start your own business from the scratch-: Starting your own business from the scratch might be the most expensive of the three in terms of risks and capital involved but it is also better because you would have full control of your business and be able to make your own business decisions.
The exact amount you need to start up totally depends on you. You can decide to start very small if you do not have much capital at hand. For instance, if you have like $500, you can start an online boutique or start selling online on places like eBay. However, some of the costs you will have to incur to start a physical boutique in any country include-:
- Legal Expenses
- Business name registration
- Utilities & Telephone
- Branded packaging materials
- Business Website
- Interior design
- Furniture and fittings
- Business cards
- Credit card processing machines
These are just some of the basic things you need. You may discover that you will need some other things eventually. Another hidden but important factor that will determine the success or failure of your clothing store is the location. You must think through and decide on it carefully.
You can use some of your savings or get loans from your friends and family but if none of these opportunities are available to you, you can consider any of these options that allow you to start your retail clothing business with little or no cash-:
- Seller financing-: In this case, you would look for someone who wants to sell their boutique and is ready to accept install mental payments over a period of time, leaving you enough time to make money from the boutique and also pay off your debts.
- Drop shipping-: You can also start a retail clothing business without money by using drop shipping services. With drop shipping, you don’t have to spend money on stocking inventory because the only time you purchase items is when there is a demand for it. You can register as an affiliate on wholesale clothing websites and advertise through social media or your own website so that when someone demands and pays for a clothing item, you forward the order and payment to the wholesaler while the wholesaler delivers the items to the buyer and pays you commission for it.
You would also need to figure out where to get stocks for your retail clothing shop. The most common way to get cheap items is to register on wholesale clothing websites as a retailer in order to have access to clothing items at cheaper rates.
As a final note, it is very important that you get an insurance cover for your clothing store. This will serve as a contingency measure and help reduce your exposure to unforeseen mishap like theft, fire, etc.