Opening an apparel related retail store in order to sell directly to customers is attractive to many designers, lured by the promise increasing sales and building a brand. However, like manufacturing it should be fully investigated before making a final commitment. Many fashion designers, both large and small, have become successful retailers. With the addition of a retail store the business now becomes a vertical operation; from the first sketch to the point of sale, the designer/manufacturer has control. Once you open your store, it may also be a good idea to include other product lines within the store, which would complement your own creations. These other lines could be sold on consignment, which would help cut back on the direct costs of investing in inventory. Having several options will empower you and help you to make the right decisions. Opening a retail establishment demands a significant amount of time to properly oversee every aspect of the fledgling business. If you are a designer/manufacturer do you have that time available?
Finding the right location and understanding your customers’ needs are key elements of owning a retail store. It is helpful to sell what you know! However, if you are not familiar with basic marketing principles or the fashion industry, it will be critical to learn about and investigate the market. Becoming profitable will require continual upgrading on a weekly basis to improve and refresh your retail operation.
All of the information in my soon to be published Fashion Retailing for Profit will be very valuable information to you when planning to open any retail store. Even if you are not going to manufacture clothing yourself, it is important to understand all aspects of producing a garment, from concept to the consumer. Some of the most important issues that will influence your success as an apparel store owner will be the same as the components necessary in becoming a successful designer/manufacturer; both your discerning good taste and your business expertise.