Do you love shoes? How many pairs of shoes can you boldly say you have? Hundreds, or probably thousands? I may not know the exact number, but you surely do have some pairs, no doubt.
Shoes are very key aspect of our fashion assemble, the only people without shoes were the cave men, but the world today no longer have cave men, but brave men.
In this practical guide, we will be looking at steps to take to start a Shoe Business in 2021 and beyond.
The place of shoes in our lives cannot be over-emphasised, as the only images of people projected without shoes are those living in extreme poverty. It was Bette Midler who said “I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world”.
So if the quote is anything to go by, and if the person with the right footwear can rule the world, the question then is, how will the person get the right footwear? If you open up your mind, you will understand that the point we are making is that there are lots of opportunities in starting and profiting from a shoe business.
You may not have what it takes, hence, the reason why we produced this practical guide, to teach you everything you need to know, to start your shoe business, either by owning your own manufacturing factory, or by using third party manufacturers or suppliers to start your shoe business, and we will hold your hand as we lay out plainly the step by step process.
You do not necessarily have to open a shoe manufacturing factory if you don’t have the pile of cash, before you can start a shoe business, but in this guide, we will teach you, all the steps you can take to have your own shoe business running in no time. But you must be willing to follow through with the process if you want your shoe business to be successful and profitable.
It is important to note that your shoe business can exist alongside a departmental store, and your shoe business can go beyond just selling shoes, but also sandals, socks, shoe cleaners, lace, etc.
It is obvious by now that you are beginning to understand the huge opportunities and possibilities that starting a shoe business can offer you. I know the question running through your mind right now is, how then can I start a shoe business?
To enable you start and profit from a shoe business, it is advised that you follow these steps:
- Plan your Business
Fashion as it were is seasonal, so before starting out in your shoe business, you should understand the seasonal trends of summer, winter, spring and fall with regards to fashion. Having an understanding of these trends will give you an advantage when designing your footwear collections.
With your understanding of fashion trends and seasons, you then have to choose a niche of shoe business you want to start with. Answering some questions will help you understand your niche. Take a look at the following questions, answers to them will help you identify your niche.
- What pain point am I solving?
- How am I different?
- Who are my target audience?
- Who else is selling a similar product to me?
- What is their marketing strategy?
- How can I learn from that and differentiate my marketing strategy?
After identifying your niche, it is now time to create a business plan. A plan is very important in any business, as the business plan will serve as a road map in your shoe business journey. Your business plan should be able to capture the followings:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is my target market?
- How much can I charge customers?
- What will I name my business?
We promised to provide massive value by taking the load off you. We have done the research on all it will cost you to start your shoe business in terms of producing or getting a franchise, we will also at the latter end of this guide, tell you how you can start your shoe business without the lowest amount you could not imagine possible.
Estimated start- up cost for a shoe business
- Franchising fee: $10,000
- Marketing $2,000
- inventory $10,000 depending on size of shop
- Insurance $1,500
- Licenses, utility bills, professional fees, computers, websites, etc. $5,000
- Rent $1,000 per month for rent, depending on country/location.
- Salary $8 to $20 per hour, depending on position.
- Register your Business
If you want to run a professional shoe business, it is very important that you register your business. You have the option of registering your business, either as a sole proprietor or as a limited liability company. It is advised you seek the services of a lawyer if you don’t know the right legal structure that will be suitable for your business.
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation will protect you from being held personally liable if your shoe store is sued in the future.
So reach out to the company house in your state or country and get your business registered.
- Register for taxes
You will not be happy if government officials seal up your shop for not paying taxes, after your shoe business has become so successful, so ensure you register your business with customs and revenue board in the beginning, so you can freely operate your business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an Employer Identification Number, as this will also help you in opening a business bank account for your business.
- Open a business bank account & credit card
As a business, it is very important to separate your personal finances from your business finances. Opening a business account will help you avoid the complications that will come if your business gets sued in the future for instance.
Having a business account will also help you build credit, and building a good credit history can help you get credit cards, which will serve as a form of financing for your business.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Every state and country have their operational laws and policies, and some will require you to get permits and licenses before you can start your shoe business. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses may result in fines, or even closure of your business, depending on how the state takes the issues of permits and licenses.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide, so check with your city or local associations to know what is obtainable.
Certificate of Occupancy
A shoe store is generally run out of a warehouse or factory. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met, ensure you make necessary findings to find out if you will need a certificate of occupancy.
- Get Business Insurance
Your shoe business does not only need permits and licenses, it also need insurance. The insurance cover will help your business cushion the effects of losses if you run into one in the future.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. The most common and suitable type of insurance for small businesses is the General Liability Insurance.
You will also need Workers’ Compensation Insurance, as your business definitely will be employing staff, if not in the immediate, but in the future, so it is important to take care of this aspect of insurance for the sake of your employees.
- Define your brand
There are probably a thousand and one shoe brands out there and you will not want to become yet another “one of those” shoe business. You must then define your brand, as your brand is how the public perceive you and also what your company stand for. Having a strong brand stands you out from the rest.
Coming up with a catchy brand name for your shoe line will attract interest. It can either be your own name or you can be creative and come up with a name that will resonate with your target niche. Once you are satisfied with your brand name that you just came up with, you should quickly check for the domain name and register it and also create social media handles for the brand name. While, registering your business, getting a trademark is important, but it depends on the scale of shoe business you want to run.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your shoe brand
- Avoid hard to spell names:
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business
Why is naming your shoe brand so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customer’s first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- How to promote & market your shoe store
No business ever sells without marketing, no matter how beautiful or amazing the products/services may be.
Marketing your shoe line will depend on the kind of shoes you sell and the niche market you are targeting. For example, if you are a luxury women’s stiletto brand your marketing approach may be very different from a fashion sneaker brand.
It is then required that you have to market your shoe business using the following mediums.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the best realms for clothing and shoe sellers. It is important to use various social media channels to share pictures of the making process of your shoe business for instance, to get valuable feedback from your early fans. Increasing your online presence on various social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and search engines like Google is very important in marketing your shoe business.
- Discounts sales
You can attract new customers via an e-commerce platform by offering discounts. You can also network with other local shops by offering them discounts to sell your shoes.
- Build your store reputation
When you grow your store reputation, customers will be attracted to your products, if you offer well-priced, reliable shoes, and you should offer incentives when they buy, so they can come back again in the future.
- Increase your brand awareness
You should work towards finding your true fans and market your shoe business to them through word of mouth.
Choosing the right channel again depends on where your niche market is. For example, if you are targeting millennial’s interested in sustainable products with vegan leather shoes, then Instagram marketing may be the right approach. But if your target is sneaker, you may then decide to advertise in sports magazines.
- Professional Product Photography
Pictures speak a thousand words they say. You can market your shoe business by getting a professional photographer to take pictures of your shoes and showcase them in all your marketing channels.
- Create An E-commerce Store
If your focus is to sell directly to consumer, then you will need an e-commerce website for your brand. After you have launched your website, you should use Search Engine Optimisation to increase your web presence. You can hire an SEO expert or you can learn to optimise your website yourself.
Use Influencer Marketing and Print Advertising
Look for influencers and bloggers who will help you connect with your audience. It depends on the agreement you are able to reach with them, some may require payment, while some others, may agree to have free samples of your shoes, in lieu of the promotion they will provide for you.
You can also print magazines/newsletters to write about your products or take up advert spots in newspapers and magazines.
How to start your shoe business with minimal cost
We promised at the beginning that you may not need a huge cost to start your shoe business, as you can launch your shoe business with a shoe string budget as little as $2000.
You may not even have the money, but here are few ways you can raise the funds for your shoe business.
- Launch your product on Kickstarter
- Raise capital by asking friends and family
- Apply for a loan
- Find an investor!
When you have raised some funds, the next step will be for you to find a shoe supplier or manufacturer. You can achieve this by following this steps.
How to find a Supplier for Your Shoe Brand
- Know your design
You should have an idea of what your final product should look like, and you will know this by having a sketch of your product.
Sketching is one of the simplest ways to get started in the design phase.
- Decide your supplier type
With your sketch ready, you should then decide the type of supplier you are looking for.
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself prior to searching for a supplier
- Are you looking for a manufacturer to produce your product idea?
- Do you want to find a supplier that can simply purchase existing products for you?
- Do you want a drop-shipper to supply and fulfil orders?
- Do you want a domestic supplier or an overseas supplier?
- Where to start your search
Once you have an understanding of what type of manufacturer/supplier will be best to bring your idea to life, there are several areas you can start your search:
- Makers Row
- Thomas Net
What is the growth potential for a shoe store?
Shoe stores have a lot of growth potential, as every one of us needs shoes, particularly during the different seasons. Because the market for high-fashion shoes is open, a shoe store can even become a multi-national provider if they offer rare, interesting, or incredibly reliable shoes.
You may start out providing different types of shoes, but as some point you may have to differentiate yourself from the competition. You can achieve this by deciding to either specialise in a particular type of shoe or to offer an incredibly diverse stock.
How does a shoe store make money?
Shoe stores make money by selling shoes, shoe accessories, shoe care products, and other items. Some shoe stores may offer shoe cleaning services, though such services are rare in some cases.
How much can you charge customers?
Customers can be charged as little as $10 for a pair of nice laces to $400 for a pair of nice boots. Average shoes cost about $50, though prices vary greatly depending on the country and the quality of shoe.
How much profit can a shoe store make?
According to our research online, an average shoe store makes about $851,076 in sales per annul, yielding a profit of about $127,363 for the owner. Shoe stores, it can be said offers a big return on investment, of about 46.1 percent. As a shoe store owner, you will need to manage your stock and pricing to ensure high profits.
Through this practical guide, we have been able to provide the detailed information you will need to start a shoe business, either as a major player or starting on a shoe string budget.
Your ability and willingness to start and make profit from shoe business, depends on you taking action. Our question to you is, will you be the one that will provide the good footwear for the person who can rule the world? Act now!
What are your thoughts with regards to this guide and do you have any business idea you want us to write about? Let us know in the comment section.