Starting Your Own Retail Clothing Store: From Idea to Store

Starting Your Own Retail Clothing Store

Often a person who wants to engage in entrepreneurship pays attention to the trade in clothing. This business is common and, at first glance, requires a minimum of experience and skills. Therefore, novice entrepreneurs may not be interested in how to open a clothing store, because they are confident in the existing knowledge. However, in reality, for successful trade-in closet items, you need to know a lot of nuances.

Choosing a format and target audience

A typical mistake of entrepreneurs when trying to open a clothing store from scratch is the desire to trade in things that they like themselves. For example, you are passionate about Porsche Clothing but this does not mean that the future customers you are counting on, who are your target audience, can afford it or like it, as well. This approach can initially doom the business to failure because it ignores the interests of people who will visit the outlet.

If the supply of rental space is limited, the possible business options are further restricted. For example, if a department sells a predominantly female range of goods, it makes no sense to open a men’s clothing store there. It is also inexpedient to trade in luxury goods in places where affluent people do not go.

That is, the choice of the format of the store is influenced by its location, environment, and income of the majority of visitors. Therefore, before you open a clothing store, you need to finalise the concept.

Where to open a clothing store: how to find premises

An experienced entrepreneur, before opening a clothing store in a particular location, will necessarily analyse the passing customer flow. It is important to know what audience will pass by the outlet and whether it will be interested in the planned assortment. The best place for clothing trade is a shopping and entertainment centre.

Also, the following factors should be considered when selecting a space:

  1. The level of passability of people near the entrance of the store. You can calculate this indicator yourself by standing around for an hour in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the evening.
  2. Income level of the mall visitors.
  3. Conformity of the mall concept to the format of a clothing store.
  4. The presence of competitors in a similar price range and with a similar assortment.
  5. The area of the premises should correspond to the planned number of purchased products.
  6. The cost of rent. It is worth looking out for places with high rent because the owners of the mall vary it depending on the potential profitability of the place.
  7. The terms of the lease agreement. Sometimes, in addition to rent, entrepreneurs have to pay for several related services: electricity, water, alarm systems, watchmen, etc.

Search for suppliers and analyse their prices

Unfortunately, wholesale suppliers cannot know that a person has decided to open a clothing store. Therefore, you will have to look for sources of goods on your own. It is good if there is a regional wholesale clothing market nearby. If there are none, you should look for suppliers on specialised websites, in printed catalogues, and at industry exhibitions.

In general, you will need to buy goods on the Internet, independently in wholesale markets, or combine these two options. Therefore, the entrepreneur should be ready for long trips.

At the beginning, of opening the clothing store, you should follow these procurement rules:

  • Find at least 4-5 suppliers with a sufficient assortment.
  • Study the terms of the procurement: the minimum batch, delivery payment, and the possibility of exchanging illiquid and scrap.
  • Buy online in small batches, because you can not be sure of the quality of the goods.
  • Study reviews of selected suppliers.

Drawing up a financial plan

If you want to open a clothing store, you should start making a financial plan only after determining the format of the outlet, analysing the prices of competitors and suppliers, and choosing the premises and equipment. As a result, it will be possible to tentatively plan the costs. It is practically impossible to know the level of income of the store in advance.

The amount of investment required in a clothing retail business can vary greatly depending on the cost of equipment and merchandise.

Forming the right assortment

When opening a clothing store, it is not necessary to turn it into a supermarket with everything and for everyone. When distributing working capital between heterogeneous assortments you can get a situation in which a person will be suitable for a retail outlet only 1-2 things. But the possibility of choice is one of the main factors of the store’s attractiveness for the customer.


Before you open a clothing store, you need to find an experienced salesperson. If one employee can cope with the trade, then he can be replaced for the first 2-3 months by the owner. Personal communication with visitors can help better understand their needs and adjust the work of the outlet in the right direction.

Vendors must be dressed in the level of clothing that is sold in the outlet. They are obliged to look after their appearance and be neat and polite with customers.

An important factor for successful sales is the seller’s knowledge of fabrics, clothing elements, and different formats of sizes. This will help to competently advise buyers, allowing them to decide more quickly on the purchase option.

Advertising strategies for a clothing store

If you open a clothing store in a shopping centre, it is unlikely to increase the flow of potential customers with the help of advertising techniques. In this case, you can attract additional customers only by exclusive products. That is, people must visit the shopping centre for the sake of a particular clothing store. You can advertise such a department with the help of radio, billboards, and social networks.

If the clothing store opens in a freestanding building, then the common types of offline advertising will help: signs, city lights, posters, distribution of flyers, and so on. They should be maximally focused on the target audience.

In any case, when opening a store requires an advertising campaign, especially if the assortment is focused on a narrow consumer niche.