The second hand used clothing business is indeed very lucrative, no matter how bad the economy is. If the economy is not in a good shape, still there is an advantage for such business.
In simple words a second hand clothes business is not hampered by recession at all. Even when the economy is flourishing, these stores do very well by attracting trendy youth, the eco-friendly kind and stingy parents. For people who are short of funds, these stores are a blessing in disguise.
It’s fun to run a used clothing store, especially for those who love accessories and clothing. Just like any other business, you need to have proper talent to run a business and business acumen. If you have worked earlier in the retail business then it will be an added asset. Launching a clothing thrift store is not as costly as a normal clothing store, as it is quite simple to create an inventory. If you belong to the fashion industry then it will be ideal to launch your own second hand used clothing store.
Identify Your Target Audience
Although most people are attracted to second hand clothes stores, you still need to identify your target customers. This will help you to decide where you want to set up your shop. It will also be beneficial to visit similar stores to see which designs appeal to the customers. Take a note of what works along with the price range, the client flow, how things are being managed, how they are displayed, how they cross sell or team up various items. Pay your attention to the target customers and look out if you have overlooked any particular group.
Build a Strong Business Plan
First of all prepare a business plan and think of a suitable name. The most important part is to plan the budget well. Include the cost of inventory, rents, deposits to be paid, space and other essential overheads. Do not forget to keep some amount aside for advertisement and other unexpected expenses, which you may have overlooked.
If you plan to appoint additional staff then you also need to maintain the accounts related to payroll along with tax records. Normally the start up cost is often more than $ 5000. You can also start your second hand clothes business with your reserve funds or even take a loan through Small Business Administration or from an investor. Having a well chalked out plan will help you to be successful in the long run. Conduct a proper market survey to know the way of the world and be up to date with the latest styles and the changing trends.
Hunt for a Proper Venue
You will find more people or customers in areas around mall, second hand stores, pawn shops and antique districts.
Selecting the perfect venue will take you a step closer to success. Opening a used clothing store in a high end area will be a wrong move if you are targeting the low income group. However never compromise on the security aspect and prevent high-crime neighborhood while selecting the location. You can try to begin your business in Town High Street if you wish to draw the fashion conscious youth. The rent often lies between 5% – 10% of the target gross revenue.
And another thing, you will have to make provisions for a fitting room and a room for storage. If your second hand clothes store has large front windows it will be ideal to display your products in order to attract window shoppers and potential customers.
Buy Equipment, Set Up Used Clothing Store
A well maintained used clothing store with a variety of appropriately priced products will go a long way to pave your success story. Maintain the ambience of the store and keep it in line with the target customers.
Plan the pricing system which uses the color coding or marking the older items. Keep signage that reveals the markdown process so that it is visible to the clients and they can compare the prices of the products easily. Invest in racks, hangers, shelves, or mannequins.
You might also need a sewing machine to alter the clothes or to mend them at times. You will also have to purchase display tables as well as price tags. If need be then invest in a security system as well. Give customers enough space to move around freely between the racks.
Type of Second Hand Clothes to Sell
Plan if you intend to sell specific used clothing items such as formal clothing, maternity dresses or you just want to limit yourself to the usual clothes. If there is a dearth of specialty stores then it would be quite ideal for you to plan a specialty section as well. Although all second hand stores will have something for children, but being the only one catering exclusively to the needs of children can be an advantage.
You need to decide from where you intend to buy your stock. You will find many companies offering seconds and used clothing wholesale. You can also try to consign the items first. By doing this you can have a whole inventory without having to pay anything before you have actually sold any item. Most startup businesses go for this option.
Maintain the standard of the clothes and accessories which you are planning to sell. Second hand clothes or accessories which are torn or look stained will reflect badly on the reputation of your store. Hence stick to the standards you have set and never compromise on them. You will have loyal customers only if you provide them with quality products.
Hire an Assistant
Even if you plan to keep the store open for only 5 days per week, it would be a good idea to hire an assistant to help you. Try to hire someone who knows a little bit of everything and can substitute at the counter, display, help in cleaning and other day-to-day duties.
Try to promote your second hand used clothing business. Organize a show or an event, or if you can afford then sponsor a fashion competion. You can even start your own website and promote your business through social media. Moreover, you can donate second hand clothes that didn’t sell to a non-profit or a shelter as this will only help the word to spread. For more information on how to set up your business for success and make sure not to make common business mistakes feel free to watch this video: