Fashion Entrepreneurship Retail Business Planning

We'll presume that your desire to open an apparel store isn't because you want to prove to your ex that you're actually hip and happening, or that you're so confident of your style that you need to share that good taste with the community.

We'll instead presume that you have an acute business sense, a sincere interest in the clothing business and more than a little cash in the bank. For some of you, it may mean giving up the safety of your corporate job with its steady income, paid holidays, vacations and the opportunity for advancement. "Running an apparel store is more than a full-time job," stresses Nancy Stanforth, professor of merchandising at Oklahoma State University.

Once you've determined this, you can buy accordingly. Yes, we know that's easier said than done, and it really depends on where you're going to open your store, as Danus notes.

"' What do I have that will entice a woman into my store? "There's a huge difference in consumer mentality across the country, and I'd advise a store owner in Duluth much differently from one in Los Angeles." Men The typical male customer is between 18 and 40 years of age, with a smaller percentage in their fifties.

Here is a handy set of questions that will help you determine whether fashion is indeed your forte. In any case, your experience and business sense are as important as your interest in clothes. Can you live with the inherent risk in the apparel business?

Fashion Entrepreneurship Retail Business Planning

This isn't meant to scare you; we're only trying to present a balanced picture.Whatever your particular fashion passion, it has to be enough to carry you through the yearly holiday rushes as well as the slow summer lulls. And in many cases, all it takes is a little common sense. Pay attention to the demographics in your area, to the location and available foot traffic, to television and movies and what people are wearing on the street." Whether you decide to specialize in high-end fashion or sporty casual merchandise, never lose sight of what sets you apart from Target, Sears and all the other apparel chain stores.It's like marriage: When times get tough, you need to remember why you took those vows in the first place. You may not be able to mark down a pair of jeans to .99, but what you do have going for you is the old adage: "You get what you pay for." "Department stores all look alike because merchandisers like Polo, Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica are all fighting for the same brand space," says Fred Derring, whose company helps retailers across the country market their stores.Children Cashing in on the baby boomers' baby boomlet of the 1980s and 1990s, the children's apparel market is estimated to account for billion to billion in sales every year and is considered among the fastest-growing segments of the overall retail market.Even though little girls have been known to throw temper tantrums when they're forced to wear gingham jumpers to preschool, you're not really targeting kids here."Small stores are more focused on the community," Derring adds."They know their customers better, they give terrific service, and they generally have a more interesting collection of clothes on their store floors that will add to making customers feel special.You're aiming more for their parents--at least the parents of children up to age 10, those who still make the executive decision when it comes to their children's clothes.Obviously, the more financially stable parents are, the more they'll be willing to spend on boutique clothing for their children--if they're into clothes themselves, that is."And when everything begins to look alike, consumers can become disenchanted.In addition, people just don't have as much time to shop today, and when they do, they want to go into a store and be serviced properly. If you can even find someone to help you in most department stores, you're lucky.

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