Opening a store front 101: FashionSpeak 2015

We had the pleasure of attending FashionSpeak 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The one-day conference was presented by Taubman, and brought together nationally recognized experts in fields crucial to the success of the fashion industry. Karen Buscemi and the Detroit Garment Group provided vital education and knowledge necessary for the success of individuals aspiring or already within the fashion industry. Here’s what we learned.

Opening a store front

The event kicked off with the Taubman presentation discussing important issues on opening a store. The idea of opening a brick and mortar can be exciting, but you can quickly overwhelm yourself with unforeseen expenses and roadblocks. In the Taubman presentation – “What Does it Really Take to Open a Store?” Taubman explains the pros and cons of successfully launching and running a store front. Here are some important questions to consider when deciding on a storefront:

  1. What is your product?

This is the fundamental reason you want to sell. Is your product something the market will desire? Define whether it is a luxury item and how much it takes to make it.

  1. Is it seasonal?

Are your products worn for one season? Determine if your sales for that one season can cover your expenses for the rest of the year.

  1. Can you fill the entire space with inventory?

Do you have a variety of products to sell? Imagine selling one type of coat in an entire store – not a good idea.

  1. Is this a short-term or long-term product?

This will determine how often you will see repeat sales and customers. The longer the time frame for customers to return the longer it’ll take to move your inventory.

Asking these questions will help you decide if a kiosk, online store, temporary store or pop up shop would be best for your business.

Leasing options

If you have determined a store front is the way to go, you will need to decide on leasing options. It is important to remember that a lot of small businesses and start-ups will experience difficulty getting people into their store on a regular basis for the first few months. This is due to the simple fact that people genuinely have no idea they exist.

You will need to choose a long term or a short term lease. Committing to a long term lease could put you in a bind. Your location may turn out to be unsuitable for your business. Stick to a short term lease and renew if the location works for you.

Before establishing which lease fits you, consider the all the things about location. Understanding that in order to be a successful store, the first rule in finding a location is being where the market is. Location of your store must be contingent upon some of these factors:

  1. Making sure your market already knows about you

Let everyone know who you are and what products you sell. You do not need a large marketing budget. Exhaust all your free resources first. Exploit free social media avenues and word of mouth.

  1. Your market must know where to find you

If you are not in an ideal high traffic location, you will have to manipulate your circumstances by being creative on how you let people know where you are. This can be done with social media, word of mouth, flyers etc. Make sure you have your address plastered everywhere.

  1. Be attractive. Present your store well enough for people to wander into it.

We all like a pretty packaged gift. Lure people to come to you. Offer attractive deals and a clean, safe environment.

  1. If your store isn’t engaging, people will leave, quickly.

Join our next segment on Capital and Profit. This post was originally for She Leads Africa

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