How To Start A Successful Women's Plus Size Clothing Store
More than one-quarter of all clothing purchases in 2004 was for women's plus-sized clothing, and the number has only increased. Regardless, retailers have indicated that they have had mixed results in the plus-sized clothing market. Furthermore, while many retailers sell plus-sized clothing for women, few stores that sell only plus-sized clothing exist. Fortunately, with the right preparation, opening a women's plus-sized clothing store is still a potentially profitable endeavor.
1. Develop business and marketing strategies to set your goals and plans for the business. A good business strategy should also outline how you will repay any borrowed capital and serve as a resume for applying for loans. The marketing strategy will determine the area you choose for your store, how you will price the clothing and the advertising methods you will use.
2. Hire an accountant to help you set a realistic budget. One reason many businesses fail is because of unrealistic budgets are set and the loans taken out are beyond what the business owner can pay. For a plus-sized clothing store, cost is especially important because the extra material needed to make the clothing means that prices are significantly higher for retailers. You will also need other specialized items that will mean additional costs over a regular retail store, such as plus-sized mannequins.
3. Hire a real estate agent to help you research locations for a woman’s plus-sized clothing store. Areas that are busy and show neglected need for a plus-sized store are ideal. You can find this information by going through demographics and consumer statistics in potential areas. These statistics also will help to determine if there is a higher volume of plus-sized women in the area; there is a correlation between demographics and average size, according to Jack Plunkett. Go to potential locations personally and search for other plus-size stores in the area.
4. Obtain financial backing for your business. You can do this several ways. Find an investor to act as a silent partner, apply for a bank loan, or get a government loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
5. Finish all legal and regulatory aspects of the business. Opening a small business requires several permits and licenses. Your store must meet all necessary regulations. Organizations such as the SBA that offer free counseling and training to help with this stage of opening a business. You may also hire a small business lawyer. At this stage, you should also register your business.
6. Establish relationships with vendors. Vendors that sell plus-sized clothing, accessories, and shoes need to be contacted. Also seek vendors that sell hangers, clothing racks and plus-sized mannequins. You can find wholesale vendors through the SBA or through a website such as Wholesale Central, Prime Time Clothing or Clothing Showroom who all readily sell fashionable plus sized clothing.
7. Begin marketing and advertising campaign. This will build awareness of the store for consumers and potential employees alike.
8. Hire full-time and part-time employees. Employees should have the necessary retail experience. Consider those who have previous experience in women’s plus-sized clothing retail first. Make sure that the hiring process is in accordance to employment laws. You can check this by contacting organizations such as the SBA or a small business lawyer.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration | SBA.gov
SBA.gov is the official website for the U.S. Small Business Administration, dedicated to providing support to small businesses across the nation.