For many people, owning their own business is a lifelong dream, and one that starts in the world of fashion is one that tops the bucket list of hundreds of aspiring business owners. Unfortunately, lots of people back out at the first hurdle, and fail when business owners give up, as the world of retail is a competitive and challenging one to get started in. Once you have bought your commercial space, and have thickened your business skin, you might be ready to bring your vision to life. In fact, you can go about following some crucial steps which will ensure your business becomes one that is there to stay.
Source your products
Many clothing brands these days source their products from unethical companies overseas to cut down on costs. As a small business, you can afford to make quality and ethical practices the heart of your brand; in fact, this could be an extra selling point for your customers. After polishing the aesthetics of your clothes, you can go about seeing the most cost-effective way to produce them without harming other people along the way.
Know your competition
Before you open your store in person, it’s best to consider what competition you could be facing from other local stores. Many fashion businesses struggle to stay original in today’s world, which can sometimes make it hard for people to find what is unique about their brand. Finding the right balance between basic clothes that people will always buy, to having a niche that doesn’t exclude certain target markets is a great place to start, and it is then you can market your brand in a way that makes it stand out from competitors.
Make use of market research
You might have a great idea in your head, but you could also be unsure as to whether your consumer base will find a connection with it. This is where making use of market research, like focus groups, can be a way of both building an early reputation and excitement for your brand, as well as correcting any errors that have occurred before you are set to open.
Have an online shop
If you aim to maximize sales alongside your physical stores, then it is wise to set up an online boutique, where you can sell your items to people from all over the world. Not only will this build a more significant customer base, but it lays the foundations for expansion if your business starts to proliferate in store and online in the first few months. If you aren’t ready to market your items online, then create a Facebook page or a website to promote any new products or deals for people to find in store.
Your clothing and other products will be the base for your store, but these can be rendered irrelevant if you don’t have a welcoming in-store environment. This is something that starts with the logo and store sign outside your store, and which can find itself manifesting in the color you paint your walls, and the lighting you choose. Make sure your interiors match what your brand looks like, so that your visual marketing is seamless throughout.
Utilize window displays
Interiors are important, but possibly the biggest selling point of any fashion store is its window display. Here, you need to have items which show how your brand changes with each season, and it is a chance for you to showcase your best items that people’s hearts are likely to skip a beat over. For example, in winter, you can create a sparkling display to showcase your best pullovers, winter coats, and New Year's outfits. The clothes are key here, but your background display should be designed to capture the attention of everyone who walks by, where you can lead them into your welcoming store. Don't forget to utilize in-store POP displays to attract users to the products as well.
Track your sales
During busy periods, it can be difficult to keep track of how much money you make, and how much must go towards paying staff and other bills. your sales are your biggest indicator of how well your store is performing, and it can help you make decisions over which direction is best to take it in. As with online retailers, the way businesses are now keeping track of sales has moved from dusty paper books to online. Even when these numbers are laid out online, it can be hard to make sense of them, which is why using a store performance dashboard to keep everything on will simplify the whole process for you. Not only can this lend a helping hand with numbers, but can enable you to implement online marketing campaigns and predict future forecasts.
Employ great staff
Great customer experience is what will keep your customers coming back, rather than making their visit a one-time occurrence. The key to this is having friendly staff, who are willing to assist your customers in every way they can to optimize their time in your store. Having a fun recruitment process which highlights the good qualities you need in-store staff is one way of making sure you can find employees to rely on, but implementing a rewards system will also motivate them to do you and your store proud.
Keep up to date with trends
The selling point of your brand might be that you are different from every other, and that you rise above current fashion trends to promote one which focuses on individuality. However, even in this case, you will need to keep track of emerging trends to ensure that you are able to stand out from the rest. Incorporating modern trends into your line will also mean that you have not limited yourself to which customers will shop at your store.
Don’t be afraid to make changes
The most prominent mistake that many retailers make is that they are unwilling to make changes to fit in with the current market. This can mean anything from price changes, so changing the ethos of a brand to match the existing consumer base. Although you should try to maintain the identity of your brand, you should remember that the most successful businesses are around today because they have been willing to adapt to the changing world around them.