4 Tips for Starting a Fashion Retail Business

4 Tips for Starting a Fashion Retail Business

If you have a great eye for fashion and feel like you have what it takes to manage a business, then opening your own clothing store could be a great idea. But this is a market that is very competitive, and unless you are prepared for it, you may have difficulty getting off the ground. But there are things that you can do to increase your chances of success, and avoid mistakes that end up sinking so many new clothing stores.


Here are 4 important tips for starting a successful fashion business.


Get the Paperwork Straight

The first thing you have to do is make sure that you have the legal part in order. If you want to know what would be the best structure for your business, you can check out the SBA’s website. You could incorporate your business on your own, but it would be wise to talk with a business lawyer that will make sure that you take all the necessary steps. They will be able to help you get your Tax ID number, and also advise you on the licenses that you may need. You also need to start looking at insurance.


Have a Plan

You first have to know your niche before you start. You should evaluate your local market, and make sure that the sector you had in mind is not saturated. You could also find a specialty, and corner this market.


For instance, you could sell maternity clothes, vintage, or even start a thrift store. Once you found your specialty or niche, you can start building a business plan and start thinking about startup costs, marketing, and sales.


And when thinking of costs, we mean down to the last detail. You have to think about inventory, the cost for the lease, and even related equipment like mannequins. If you’re starting a menswear business, for instance, then you’ll need some mannequins based on the male form. These can easily make a big difference to your budget if you end up buying a few dozen. So, don’t skip details and make sure that you have everything down so you can forecast and manage your cash flow better.


Get Financing and a Storefront

The next step is getting the financing for your store, and finding a place for it. For financing, you can start looking at small business loans or try finding a partner. You could also start gathering some seed money by actually working in the industry and learning the ropes at the same time.


Then, you need to start looking at a storefront. Choosing the right spot is one of the most important decisions that you could make when getting started. You don’t only need to make sure that you pick a place with significant foot traffic, but it also has to be interested in what you’re going to sell. You also have to decide if a strip mall, standalone location, or a mall lease would be a better option.


Start Building Inventory

Now you have to start looking for inventory to stock your store with. However, you have to be careful before you start selling brand name clothing, as you will need to have their permission to do so. Major brands will have you go through an application process where they’ll ask you a few questions about your store, where you’re located, and the general concept among other things.


If you’re looking for the best place to find suppliers, you should consider going to trade shows. You’ll have the chance to speak with reps face to face and see their merchandise in person.


These are some of the fundamentals of starting a fashion retail business. If you want to increase your chances of your business being successful, make sure that you learn from people who’ve gone through the same route, and consider getting a foundation in the fashion retail business if you can.

Francis Nwokike

Francis Nwokike is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Total Entrepreneurs. A Social Entrepreneur and experienced Disaster Manager. He loves researching and discussing business trends and providing startups with valuable insights into running a profitable business. He created TTE to share ideas and tips to help entrepreneurs run and grow their businesses.

2 Responses

  1. Todd Marshall says:

    This is a good article which could be applied to many industries, not just fashion retail. Having a plan is essential for any start up. To write the plan you will need clearly defined objectives. Once the goals are set, then writing effective strategies can occur.

    The other important part of the article is the legal section. For many startups, this is over looked or left until there is a legal issue. Taking the time to get this in order is valuable.

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