Here’s what you need before opening your clothing store

clothing storeclothing store
clothing storeclothing store

Here’s what you need before opening your clothing store

Fashion is an ever growing and changing industry where it seems that almost anything goes in terms of style. Fashion designers in South Africa are as trend-setting as those in Europe, bringing unique designs to the fashion industry on an international scale. Incorporating inspiration from South African culture and contemporary African art in their clothing, SA designers are rising up in the fashion industry and creating a niche market for locals and tourists alike.  

So what will you need in order to open your own clothing store and start making a name for yourself in this industry?


Business plan

As with any business, you need a business plan. You can’t only be about designing and manufacturing items of clothing. You need a plan of action as a foundation for your clothing store dreams.

The main part of your business plan includes your costs and business goals, but also includes location, staff, company name, logo, pricing, manufacturers and inventory stock (to name a few). You need to have your financing plans in order and make sure you’ve used an asset finance calculator to estimate how much money you’re going to need to start out and and how much turnover in order to cover credit costs.

You’ll also need to register your business with SARS to get the necessary tax registrations and licences they require. Extremely important if you want your business to be legitimate. And the cherry on top will be the setting up of your business website, social media accounts and put marketing campaigns in place to build a hype around the opening of your store.


An eye for fashion

You may be a fashion designer yourself or you have a friend who’s a designer and wants to start a clothing store with you and your business skills. Or maybe you aren’t a designer (or collaborating with one), but you have a great eye for fashion.

At the end of the day, that’s all you really need in order to be relevant and a competitor in this business. If you can find the design that speaks to you and you know will work on the South African market, you can be the best buyer with the best clothing store on Kloof Street.

When it comes to fashion knowledge, your customers may require or expect your expert advice on styles that suit them and accessories that complement your designs. You want your store to be fashion forward.


Store layout

When you have your business plan and your clothing ready, you can start hunting for a store location. Possibly one of the more important aspects of your location is knowing where your competitors are because where they are, your customers will be too. Another important aspect is the actual layout of your store because that can affect the whole customer experience.

Obviously, you will decorate your store according to your brand theme and colours, but when you go store shopping, you need to consider the layout of the space and visualise how you would set it up. As contemporary as geometrical corners are in a room, you need to be realistic about how it will work when your shelves and rails are put out.

Are your customers going to have to squeeze between walls and display counters? Will there be pillars blocking or splitting their view of a specific display? Will there be enough space for them to walk around and browse comfortably without knocking hangers off the rails and bumping clothes onto the ground? Keep this in mind when you’re looking at your store’s layout, you want your customers to enjoy their experience in your clothing store, not be frustrated or restricted by it.  


How to display your items  

The next task will be to take your beautiful store and fill it with your fashion favourites. Making use of shelves, clothing rails, tables and pretty much anything you like. As long as there is a central theme in your visual merchandising techniques, your customers can be blown away by the experience your brand and products create.

Remember, your displays and visual merchandising is what will attract customers to walk through your doors and interact with what your store has to offer. It influences a customer’s first impression by first-sight and once they step inside, the way you and your staff interact with them will complete their impression.


POS and staff

And, finally, you’ll need a point of sales (POS) system and staff to help you run the store. There are so many POS options for businesses that require minimal setup and are easy to use. Yoco, for example, is a mobile card reader that can process credit card payments and work as a business point of sale system with no monthly rental fees. And it’s easy to use so your staff won’t need excessive training. Make sure you have a cash flow system as well, as not every customer will be paying by card and you want to accommodate all income revenue.

When it comes to hiring staff, take into account the size of your store and estimated daily traffic to give you an idea of how many hands you need helping you on the floor. You may also consider finding someone to help you behind the scenes as the company grows.

There is your clothing store, ready to make a name in the South African fashion market and possibly even the world market in the future.

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