Checklist: What You Need Before Opening Your First Thrift Store
There are millions of people around the world pulling in great incomes by operating thrift stores. Some work in the online realm, while others have brick and mortar stores. Styling and trendy thrift store items will always be in demand by a certain segment of the population.
There are people who are always looking for deals on clothing. This is especially true when the economy is on a downswing. There are also many people who are looking to get quality, barely used clothing out of their closets and homes. There’s no reason that you can’t get in on the action, especially if you enjoy fashion and vintage clothing. Here’s a checklist of things you need before you open your first thrift store.
1: A Business Plan
No matter what your business is, you will need a plan. Your plan should outline every aspect of what you intend to do with your business. It should answer questions such as where you are getting your inventory, and how you will market your shop. Plan out your location and how you will use it to your advantage.
A business plan will provide you with the focus you need to continue moving forward. You can also use a business plan to pitch to investors if you feel that you need to go that route to get up and running. There is no benefit to operating a business without a clear sense of what you want to do and where you want to go at the outset.
2: Branding and Marketing
To have a successful launch, you will need to have your branding and marketing in place. Your marketing plan should be more in depth than what you included in your business plan. Who do you want to sell to? Who is your audience? What motivates them to buy? You have to answer all of these questions to develop your strategy. Build up your website before you launch, so that you already have detailed information as search engine optimization (SEO) content. Use social media, but put your focus on the platforms where your target audience is most likely to be engaged.
If you are creative, then design a logo and brand colors. If not, you can always hire out this job to a professional. You want your branding to be consistent through all of your marketing materials. Your logo should give your audience a sense of what your brand is about and how you run your business. Customers want a sense of your personality so that they know whether your items are likely to be a match for them.
Every business should have insurance. Having a thrift store comes with unique sets of risks when compared to other businesses. You will have customers coming onto your property to shop and make purchases. There is always a possibility that they can get injured in some way. If you get sued, then you could find yourself in big financial trouble. Liability insurance will help to protect you against those costs. If you have employees, then workers’ compensation is an absolute must. Do you have a vehicle that you use to go around and pick up inventory from sellers and distributors? Even if you use your own car, you will have to purchase commercial auto insurance. Getting retail business insurance will help you sleep better at night knowing that you and your business are protected.
A thrift store is unique when it comes to building inventory. You can’t simply order from a supplier and have the clothing shipped. You need to source used clothing and purchase it. You might get it from people in your own community, or you might get it from other thrift stores or online distributors. Getting the right inventory is extremely important if you want to sell it.
You must learn to be very good at finding clothing for your store. The last thing you want is to run out of inventory or have too much inventory that nobody wants to buy. If you start with a solid base, then you will give yourself time to find more product to supplement it over time.
Staff Your Store
A thrift store is not usually a business you can operate on your own. You may be able to if you have very short hours and close up over the weekends or another two-day period. Otherwise you will burn yourself out. Plus, you always want more than one person in the store in case you need to leave or have to use the restroom. With that said, if you are hiring then you need to get the right people for the job.
The right type of people will depend on you and your business. You want employees who are reliable and trustworthy who will be friendly and courteous to your customers. You also want help that will work hard to help you grow your business. They must fit in with you in the workplace, since you will be their boss. Do not try to fit a square peg in a round hole, because your business will suffer for it.
Find the Right Location
Never underestimate the power of a good location. Do not rush into this decision. Check out many different options and weigh the pros and cons of each one against each other. You want a location that is easy to reach by any form of transportation and will attract a lot of walk up traffic. Your store must also have enough storage space for overflow inventory and a loading area to bring product in. Be patient, and you will no doubt find what you are looking for.
Congratulations on deciding to open a thrift store business. If you play your cards right, you can have great success and have some fun with it too. However, it’s not going to be easy. There are several things that you need to put in place before you launch. Use this checklist to make sure that you are ready to go.