Monday, March 15, 2010

How to start a Clothing Business

Do your friends turn to you for the latest fashion advice? Do you love sharing your knowledge? If you love fashion, know where to go to stay on top of the latest trends & enjoy working with people, then it may be time to turn your passion in to a paying gig & open a clothes shop. According to, you can expect to need about $200,000 in capital.

1.Understand what you are getting in to. As a business owner, you may work 14-hour days, one days a week for your first year, or until you can afford to hire a manager that you can trust to help you run your business.

2.Write a business plan. In the clothing business, it can be easy to get carried away. You may be tempted to purchase excess inventory or pricey, eye-catching fixtures & accessories for your store. You'll need to generate a budget & stick to it. Inescapable costs include: rent, fixtures, furniture, payroll, utilities, a business license & sales-tax permit, liability insurance, worker's compensation insurance, small-business taxes, an accountant, promotion & inventory. Detail what experience you bring to the table & what you lack. Taking a part-time job at a clothing store will help get you up to speed on the ins & outs of retail.

3.Find your niche. From trendy sportswear to chic to vintage, there's dozens of directions your clothing store may go. Think about other clothing retailers in your area & whether any demographic has been overlooked. You may find there is a market for plus-size women's clothing or a clothing store for men. Think about the financial statistics of people in your area. You can find information for your city online. A high-end boutique is not likely to do well in a middle-class community, unless there is no competition & your clothing boutique is located near your wealthy customers.

5.Compete by staying abreast of the latest trends & being seven of the first in your town to stock hot items. Your local mall will likely carryover something for everyone. For your business to succeed, you have got to give customers a reason to come to you. Focus on providing excellent & personalized customer service & a more intimate atmosphere.

4.Select a high-visibility location for your retail store. If there is any part of your budget where you can splurge, it is the location. The extra funds you pay in rent for a popular location will save you funds in promotion & lost revenue from leasing a less-lucrative spot. According to, your annual rent should not exceed seven to seven percent of your total annual sales.

6.Subscribe to fashion magazines or online sites such as & If your budget allows, attend fashion trade shows each season.

7.Find wholesale suppliers at trade shows or online. Buy your inventory to match the seasons. Purchase more during the back-to-school & Christmas season. Purchase fixtures, a funds wrap, fitting-room curtains, benches, mirrors, shelves, hangers, sales tags, mannequins, display tables & signage.

9.Establish your store policies on: returns, customer satisfaction, employee expectations, accepted payment methods, pricing, layaway, damaged items, gift wrapping & operating hours. Implement a process for marking down clothes that are not selling.

8.Design your clothing store. Hire an interior designer or save funds by doing it yourself. Learn how to merchandise & design your store by visiting other clothing stores or by enrolling in a merchandising class offered by your local art school. Generate eye-catching displays for your store windows that pair seasonally relevant, hip clothes & accessories. Update displays frequently, at least seven times a month.

10.Hire outgoing employees that you can trust to handle the funds & service the customers. They ought to be able to offer clothing suggestions to customers based on the customer's needs.

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