A lot of people dream of owning their own clothing store. My recommendation is always to start by researching on the business and learning everything about it — before starting (I made a mistake before in starting a business because I just wanted to, even though I knew nothing about the business). Clothing stores, especially, require lots of capital to start so you cannot afford to make a lot of mistakes
Here are some articles that provide information on how to start a clothing store:
- How to Start a Clothing Store
- Starting a Specialized Clothing Retailing Business
- Starting a Retail Clothing Store
One of the first steps is to prepare a business plan. Even though you may not apply for loans from financial institutions, the process of business planning can help you think through your business. It can help you decide on the type of store, determine the costs involved, how to get suppliers to sell to you, how to market the store, expected profitability, etc.
Here are sample business plans for a clothing store that you can check out:
Clothing retailing is a broad area; so the first step is to determine what type of clothing store you want to establish. According to the market research firm NPD Fashionworld the growth in the apparel industry was ushered by:
- Men’s apparel led the industry’s growth with an increase of five percent, reaching nearly $53 billion in 2005. Another big category winner, men’s tops – accounted for 38 percent of the men’s apparel market
- Sales in women’s apparel also grew, reaching $101 billion
- Children’s apparel sales grew two percent, to $27 billion.
- Women spent $2.6 billion on hats and scarves, driving an 11 percent increase in the category.
- Cozy pajamas and fluffy robes were all the rage last year as women’s sleepwear sales generated nearly $4 billion in 2005, a 10 percent increase in dollars from 2004.
- It was also a strong year for women’s intimate apparel, the $9.6 billion industry expanded by nearly 4 percent in 2005.
For detailed information, I suggest you check out the following books:
- Start Your Own Clothing Store (Entrepreneur Magazine’s Start Up) (Paperback) by Entrepreneur Press
- Retail Business Kit for Dummies by Rick Segel
- Specialty Shop Retailing: How to Run Your Own Store Revised by Carol L. Schroeder
You may also want to check out the resources of the following associations:
- Professional Apparel Association http://www.proapparel.com/
- American Apparel Producer’s Network http://www.usawear.org/
- Worldwide Responsible Apparel Manufacture http://www.wrapapparel.org/
- American Apparel and Footwear Association http://www.americanapparel.org/
- National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers http://www.nafad.com/
- Fashion Group International http://www.fgi.org/
- Apparel News http://www.apparelnews.net/
I recommend that you read Kathleen Fasanella’s blog at http://fashion-incubator.com/ . She is the author of the book “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing” and her blog is full of answers to questions on how to start a clothing line