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  • #978897
    poseidon
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    Hi, I have been doing a bit of work on starting a retail store based around urban/street clothing and accessories. The hope is to get one store up and running and then open several chains throughout the country.

    Skills -I have no experience working in a retail environment and to be honest only a passing interest in fashion. What I do have is a passion for business, I want to create a business model that i can replicate and run according to well defined processes. I enjoy negotiating the business side of things such as negotiating with suppliers, implementing marketing strategies, basically managing the business.

    Do I stand a chance in retail, do I need a deep knowledge of fashion. My expectation is that I only need to know how to run a business (the type is irrelevant) as I will rely on suppliers and trade shows/consultants to inform me of the latest fashion trends to get into my stores. Is this naive?

    Thanks to everyone that answers.

    #1110439
    Paul B.
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    Hi poseidon,

    I think its great your having a crack at something you dont know too much about. If you keep your ears and eyes open im sure you will learn the specifics of running a retail outlet very quickly.

    I am in a similar position with my e-commerce venture. I personally have little experience/interest in my product but I do enjoy marketing and dealing with customers so it works.

    Although going into something new is exciting, it is extremely important to have information readily available to maximise the service you can provide. My partner has been within the industry for 30+ years and can provide me the technical advice I need when dealing with customer queries and ensure our product is what the market demands.

    All and all, good luck!

    #1110440
    SavvySME
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    I think you will have to dip your toe in it eventually or make up for your weakness by hiring someone who is extremely passionate about what you are not :) Either way, your business will need expertise in those areas but it doesn’t necessarily need to come from you.

    Best of luck :)!

    Wendy Huang

    Co-founder of SavvySME – A new social platform for small businesses

    #1110441
    Opulence
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    I’ve seen it time and time again with business duos (often married couples) where one partner knows every minutiae of the product and the industry and the other is much like yourself being very cluey on the business side of things. It works great so maybe trying to find a partner in crime could be an idea.

    Additionally, it’s great to bounce ideas of each other. Often you can come up with something and completely overlook something obvious as none of us are perfect.

    Conversely, I’ve seen heaps of people go into business with a vast wealth of knowledge about a product but limited business nous and throw lots of money at commercially unviable ventures. The same applies to those with business knowledge but limited industry/product specific knowledge. It takes two to tango.

    On the plus side if you go it alone, you’ll learn very quickly and have less fingers in the pie. I know which route I’d take.

    #1110442
    Warren Cottis
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    poseidon, post: 122894 wrote:
    Hi, I have been doing a bit of work on starting a retail store based around urban/street clothing and accessories. The hope is to get one store up and running and then open several chains throughout the country.

    Skills -I have no experience working in a retail environment and to be honest only a passing interest in fashion. What I do have is a passion for business, I want to create a business model that i can replicate and run according to well defined processes. I enjoy negotiating the business side of things such as negotiating with suppliers, implementing marketing strategies, basically managing the business.

    Do I stand a chance in retail, do I need a deep knowledge of fashion. My expectation is that I only need to know how to run a business (the type is irrelevant) as I will rely on suppliers and trade shows/consultants to inform me of the latest fashion trends to get into my stores. Is this naive?

    Thanks to everyone that answers.

    Is this naive? Yes based on what you have written.

    How deep are your pockets?

    #1110443
    Chris – Marketing
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    Warren Cottis, post: 122983 wrote:
    Is this naive? Yes based on what you have written.

    How deep are your pockets?

    I was going to ask the same question. $$$?
    I spent over 20 yrs in fashion and in the later yrs down chapel st Prahan, it takes a lot of passion and finger on the pulse “in fabrics, in colors, in waist level, skirt levels, trouser lengths etc”. I subbied to a guy who was working for ROY the father of urban wear. ROY (not his real name) spent alot of time abroad in the USA chasing ideas for his range.
    Question how deep r your pockets??? Some of my people are still in the urban wear game manufacturing locally in Melbourne. It’s tough and it’s top end. I see a living but not like the late 80’s early 90’s when we all ruled.

    Chris Poulios
    http://www.satisfaction-marketing.com.au
    http://www.webthreads.com.au

    #1110444
    James Millar
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    poseidon, post: 122894 wrote:
    Hi, I have been doing a bit of work on starting a retail store based around urban/street clothing and accessories. The hope is to get one store up and running and then open several chains throughout the country.

    Skills -I have no experience working in a retail environment and to be honest only a passing interest in fashion. What I do have is a passion for business, I want to create a business model that i can replicate and run according to well defined processes. I enjoy negotiating the business side of things such as negotiating with suppliers, implementing marketing strategies, basically managing the business.

    Do I stand a chance in retail, do I need a deep knowledge of fashion. My expectation is that I only need to know how to run a business (the type is irrelevant) as I will rely on suppliers and trade shows/consultants to inform me of the latest fashion trends to get into my stores. Is this naive?

    Thanks to everyone that answers.

    Keep in mind that you whilst you may be able to bring in external fashion advice you can’t subcontract out or rely on others to develop your sustainable competitive advantage (USP). So ask yourself the question – what will make your business different (superior in customers eyes) on a long term basis? What’s your edge?

    My observations with our clients in the fashion space has been that its hard work even for the very best. Very competitive field and currently facing a raft of challenges with depressed retail demand, online alternatives (overseas with no GST and high AUD), high rents on good areas (this must surely change) and finally market saturation (how many fashion stores can the economy support at the moment?)

    It’s not impossible but I would call it a high risk proposition – even if you were very experienced.

    Can you try online selling first and see if your “edge” has the appeal?

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. [email protected] www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    #1110445
    bluepenguin
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    You could do it, but you’d be best to stand back and hire a manager that know’s what they’re doing.

    #1110446
    poseidon
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    Thank you for all the comments and advice, online retail was mentioned, but that is one of the competitive advantages a real life store has that I want to take advantage of, the ability for customers to see, feel and try the clothes. I buy big brands online (easy to showcase) so I would look to smaller/growing brands for my physical store.

    #1110447
    Michelle Johnson
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    I think with the right people around you, you can do it.

    You need people who are very passionate about what you are doing, and good people are expensive so be prepared to include wages in your start up budget.

    Be wary of supplier advice, make sure you really trust the people you take advice from because they have their own agenda as well. If you can form a lasting relationship with a supplier who wants to share in your success and in turn make them successful you should be ok.

    If you need help getting started or finding the right people feel free to contact me directly.

    Have fun!
    Michelle

    #1110448
    The Hobbit
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    The most important part of retailing is to buy well, that’s why senior Woolworths, Coles etc buyers are so highly paid.

    You really should consider doing a Feasibility Study before getting too committed. All though our manual How To Conduct Feasibility Studies For Tourism Projects is specifically written for tourism related businesses it will still be a great starting point for you. There is a free sample of the manual available on that page.

    #1110449
    chixfashionz
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    poseidon, post: 122894 wrote:
    Hi, I have been doing a bit of work on starting a retail store based around urban/street clothing and accessories. The hope is to get one store up and running and then open several chains throughout the country.

    Skills -I have no experience working in a retail environment and to be honest only a passing interest in fashion. What I do have is a passion for business, I want to create a business model that i can replicate and run according to well defined processes. I enjoy negotiating the business side of things such as negotiating with suppliers, implementing marketing strategies, basically managing the business.

    Do I stand a chance in retail, do I need a deep knowledge of fashion. My expectation is that I only need to know how to run a business (the type is irrelevant) as I will rely on suppliers and trade shows/consultants to inform me of the latest fashion trends to get into my stores. Is this naive?

    Thanks to everyone that answers.

    I think having an interest if not a passion for what you do is key to long-term success. Unless you are little more than a financial partner in a number of ventures, it becomes easy to lose focus or lose sight of what you set out to achieve. This can happen in any business, but if you enjoy and love what you do it is not so laborious.

    Is there any part of the fashion industry in particular that DOES interest you? If so, focus on that and try to bring those positives to the fore, rather than simply something that you hope will bring quick bucks. Fashion is competitive and right now, straining to survive. What is your point of difference? If branding is your key strength, you could apply this to help spark your interest in fashion and design of your street wear.

    #1110450
    Hansina Solo
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    I am in a similar situation(to a certain extent). No fashion experience, lots of business experience, passion etc.

    This is however the first time I am working for myself (yes- finally a dream that’s become a reality).

    After identifying what I wanted to sell, I sourced and qualified different manufacturers of this product, and based which brand I would be selling based on:
    – quality of the product- out of all possible manufacturers this product is a stand-out. It had to be something that carried a great story, and also something different for the Australian market
    – ability to meet fulfilment (as a test run, I’ve been buying small quantities, and also ordered large quanities to see what their turn-around times are etc).
    – relationship with the manufacturer. given it’s an oversees manufacturer, impact on austrlian consumers being able to buy with high AU dollar, online etc. I have exclusivity in Australia, and all australian leads to their site are automatically redirected to me. They have figured it is better to direct leads to me where I can sell 3 items to the same customer than the 1 they can sell because of language difficulties etc.

    I also have an online store, and have pop-up events to support the fact that people want to touch the products. I even accept visitors to my house. I had a business plan, but 6 months ago I decided it should be more of a mind-map, and that I should see where this business goes. I was still not convinced that just an online distribution model was the right fit for this excited brand that I have distribution rights for. I don’t even want my own store-front to support the online side. What I want to do, is take advantage of the fact that I have exclusive rights in australia, and find retail outlets in each capital city in australia. my site would be there to support the brand, direct people to the stockists, hold events to support stockists etc.

    I am not interested in front-line retail, i am interested in sourcing fabulous brands, that will get consumers from their keyboard to a shopfront because they want more!! e.g.,when i have held a pop-up event, for every 1 sale made online, i have sold 5 more face-face.

    Now this is where I need advice, and I hope that you don’t mind if I have piggy-backed on this thread but I thought this is as relevant to you to a certain extent…

    I don’t want to sell directly to consumers, I am a distributor. After 6 months, I have decided this is the best strategy for my business.

    I want to ensure that I have the right boutique retail outlets as stockists, as this product would help move their other stock too. I have 2 questions:

    1.This question shows my naivety when it comes to the B2B side of retail buying:

    Are the goods purchased by the retailer from me on consignment, or COD? just as when i first started buying from the manufacturer all stock was COD, where as after 3 months I had an account. what sort of costs are standard for a retailer? e.g. if each unit costs me $150, and the RRP is $320, what should I charge the retailer?? what are the protocols??

    2.If i still keep the e-commerce site, and only sell a certain type of product (different market to that of retailers), yet promote images/ events around the PREMIUM products (no prices published online for this premium product) to push customers into their retail stores would this still be ok? I would create a reseller’s login area too.

    i know that there is structural change going on in the retail industry, but i think that there are many opportunities for bricks and mortar and online to really work together. Also as the distributor of this product, I would much rather give the reseller opportunity to a small business outlet than one of the large department stores.

    Thanks in advance!

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