QUESTION ON Starting a Children’s Shoe Store
I am planning to start a children’s shoe store. How do you go about contacting the shoe companies or distributors to get the shoes into your store?
– Tony Lee
Advice by Nach M. Maravilla
You need to identify the shoe manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, and build relationships with them. Read the article How to Find Suppliers for Your Business..
If you already have a store or are preparing to have one, write them about your interest to sell their products and send them a picture of the store, both the outside and inside views. Also, you may give them an idea of your start-up capital as this could help them decide whether they can immediately allow you some credit line in the beginning. Also, normally, roving sales representatives will come and see you to verify your store and if they are convinced that you are legitimate and are worth becoming their dealer, they will give all the support.
The easiest way to find the right suppliers for your shoe store is by attending various trade shows focusing on shoes. The most important trade shows in the children’s shoe industry that you need to attend include:
- Children’s Great Event Shoe Show
- KidS’ Shoe Association Show
- LA Kids’ Market
- NY Kids Market
- Dallas Kids World Market
- Kidz at STYLEMAX
There are also a number of trade shows that focuses on shoes, but not necessarily children’s shoes, that you should check out. These shows often have a sizeable number of participants from the children’s shoe industry, as well as the starting point for building contacts in other niche markets in the shoe industry:
- The Footwear Event
- Outdoor Gear Retailer
- Magic Market Week, which includes FN Flatform, the shoe show of Magic Market Week
- Fashion Footwear Association of New York
- Atlanta Shoe Market
- NW Apparel and Footwear Materials Show
- Shoe Market of the Americas
- World Shoe Accessories
Some of the international trade shows that you can consider attending are:
- Couromoda (Brazil)
- Expo Riva Schuh (Italy)
- MosShoes Moscow (Russia)
- GDS International Event for Shoes and Accessories (Germany)
- Capsule Show (has shows in Paris and Berlin, as well as New York and Las Vegas)
Looking for distributor suppliers is only for starters. Eventually, these companies will come to you when you are already operating and then it will be your time to choose the right brands to carry in your store and the companies you want to deal with.
I also recommend that you become a member of the National Shoe Retailers Association, which offers a number of resources for retail education and best business practices that can help you in running your children’s shoe store business.
We also have a directory of shoes wholesalers. You may choose a company on the list and get in touch with them directly. Please note that we have no direct relationships with them.
Also read our Starting a Shoe Retail Store for more tips and information on starting your children’s shoe store.
Good Luck !
Nach M. Maravilla
Recommended Resources on How To Start a Children’s Shoe Store
- Ballet Shoes (The Shoe Books)
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting and Running a RetailStore
- Start Something That Matters
- Start Your Own Fashion Accessories Business
Article originally published in Jun 2010.