How To Start A Footwear Business – A Full Guide

Introduction on how to start a footwear business

Starting a shoe store can be a challenge unless you have the right business model. A successful shoe store requires a combination of an accessible location, low overhead, purchasing power, and a robust marketing campaign. In short, the shoe business is huge and provides several avenues for budding entrepreneurs to explore and start a footwear business.

If shoes are a point of fascination for you too, as budding entrepreneurs, then you too can convert the love for shoes into a business. For shoe lovers, the shoe business is a good entrepreneurial opportunity and even for those aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to venture into a popular and profitable business idea, the footwear business is a great idea to start their own business. So if you think you have an eye for shoes then you should ask yourself how to start a shoe business!

A guide to start a footwear business

One of the best items to sell and to start a small business with is shoes. Within the shoe business, there are a variety of specialties and niche product markets to choose from while planning on how to start a footwear business, especially in the retail sector. Entrepreneurs can select their target audience by choosing to deal with men’s footwear or women’s footwear or children’s footwear exclusively or selling all three types within the same store. Shoes can be even be categorized as per the occasion, such as formal shoes, party shoes, casual wear shoes, school shoes, sports shoes, traveling boots and shoes, rain-wear, and many more.

In this article, we will be discussing how to start a shoe store, the process involved in starting a shoe store to achieve your utmost goal which is making maximum profit.

How to start a shoe business?

A shoe business, just like most other businesses, cannot just be started by having an interest in the field or based on enthusiasm to turn into an entrepreneur. Prior knowledge and thorough planning are required to understand how to start a shoe business and run it successfully. Getting to know a few basic essential pointers, initially, can help ease the entrepreneurial journey. 

A few things you need to do before diving into this field;

  • Do market research on your potential customers
  • Learn your target market and their buying habits
  • Decide what kind of shoes you want to offer
  • Decide whether it is in men’s footwear or women’s footwear or whether you want to deal only in leather shoes or stock only boots of various types in the store or have an exclusive multi-designer shop.

You need to keep up with industry trends and become a member of the associations that are connected to your industry.

Steps on how to start your footwear business

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Steps on how to start your footwear business.
Steps on how to start your footwear business.

Here are the steps taking to start your footwear business.

Step 1: Prepare a shoe store business plan

A business plan is, in fact, the guide your business need to steer the business in the right direction. A good business plan contains important information like your business name, location, startup fund, market analysis, the vision and mission of the business, the financial plans, active competitors, and their advantage. Whether the shoe business will be operated through a store or via online marketing only can also be mentioned in the business plan. Without getting a unique plan, you might just be like a bricklayer building a duplex without a foundation. The business plan is the foundation and only when you get this right could you claim to be starting a business.

Your business plan should also include;

  • Product descriptions of what you want to sell
  • Target sales venue
  • How you will sell your business
  • How you will fulfill the demands and orders of your customers
  • Legal forms (sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation)
  • List cost of the merchandise that you will need
  • Projected revenue
  • Total marketing cost
  • Total operating cost

A business plan is like a map that covers the specifics of the business and helps discover and consider unknown aspects of the business in the planning stages itself.

Step 2: Budget assessment for your shoe store

The start-up cost can either be low or high depending on your goals and vision of your business. The amount or cost will depend on the approach and scale you want to undertake in setting up any business. You would need a good amount of capital, if you intend to go big by renting/leasing a big facility.

The cost depends on the complexity of your product line. The minimum cost can be only 1 lakh to 5 lakh if you buy off the shelf shoe designs and use stock outsoles and materials. In this case, the start-up costs will include the cost of buying the shoes from the factory and importing them. Also, you can assume the factory will require a minimum order of 500 pairs.

Step 3: Decide on specific business types

There are several aspects of a shoe business that can be explored as a business opportunity. Entrepreneurs can start a shoe designing business or a shoe manufacturing business or, the most popular one of them all. Start a showroom to sell a variety of shoes that are manufactured by someone else. Out of all these choices, it is better to start a shoe shop because a manufacturing business, especially for sports shoes and leather shoes and boots, requires a lot of machinery and thus a sizeable capital investment which might not be possible while starting, especially for a new business.

Even the majority of the large, global brands do not own manufacturing centers. Global brands also outsource the manufacturing process while concentrating on features and design to make their product unique and focus on marketing it. The choice for the type of footwear to be kept in the store and the audience that is to be targeted must be made as a first step towards getting the business started.

Step 4: Get a business location for your shoe store

Starting a shoe store is an idea that will become dead on arrival if you don’t get a reasonable and conducive environment to locate your business.

Once you have decided on the budget and type of the business and what city you like, choose an area or type of location within that city by evaluating these:

  • Customer attraction power
  • The nature of competition
  • Availability of access routes to the stores
  • Zoning regulations
  • Geographic direction of the city’s expansion
  • General appearance of the area
  • Sales and traffic growth prospects of the trade area
  • Demographics of neighborhoods

So, you must find the best location by evaluating above said that will inform others about your business without you saying a word, a location that will allow an intending customer to access your business easily and with that in place you’re sure to be on the way to starting a unique shoe store business.

Step 5: Obtain permits and licenses for your shoe store

The shoe business needs to obtain certain licenses that are mandatory to operate the business. These include the Shop Act, if the shoe store is within municipal limits, and also GST registration to comply with a uniform tax structure across the nation and to conduct the business smoothly. These registrations must be done before starting operations of the footwear store.

As long as it is not your name, you will need to register the name of your business with your local county clerk’s office. You will also need to apply for a Federal Business Tax ID for tax purposes. Also, check with your local city to make sure you are following all the proper local ordinances for your store location to obtain your business license.

Depending on where you live, this may include a resale permit, state tax identification number, Employer Identification Number, or assumed name certificate. If you wanted to sell licensed shoes like Nike or Adidas, you will need to fill out the proper forms on their website. If accepted, you can then sell their shoes otherwise not.

Step 6: Registering your shoe store business

When starting, registering your footwear business is an essential step and must be done immediately to carry out the business sans any hurdles and legal issues. A business registration gives recognition to the business and provides a business structure. Entrepreneurs starting a shoe business can choose from a sole proprietorship or a partnership or a limited liability partnership or a one-person company. Each type of business entity has its advantage and the most appropriate one must be chosen which will benefit the business.

Step 7: Define your market

You need to define your target market when planning to start a shoe store. This is especially important if you won’t be producing the shoes yourself. To understand this better, if your store is located in an industry jammed environment, it would only be reasonable to get footwear that would suit people engaging in office work or shoes that fits official dresses.

Note this does not mean that your market must be target towards them alone, No! But you must at first put them into consideration while stocking your store. Thinking that you’ll get them what they want when next you hit the market is a wrong idea.

Step 8: Get and sell quality materials

Conduct a quality test on every product coming into your store to be aware if mistakenly or intentionally you’re keeping the wrong product. If you do yourself the favor of stocking the best materials always, no matter how expensive they might be, people who value quality products will be motivated to patronize your store.

You need to do the first check for goods you will be stocking in your store, please as much as possible don’t manage substandard products. Your best to be customer upon taking the only fake or substandard product in your store might end up fleeing from you.

Step 9: Marketing your business with a good marketing strategy

Marketing your footwear business is the next vital step. A marketing strategy is one key to the success of your business. It could be as simple as using ordinary popular social media or the nowadays so-called chatting application to inform people about your business.

The basic factors to consider to market your footwear business is to have a unique business name, with which customers can easily connect and can identify. A logo along with the name will help create a brand image for the business and act as a source of identification for the business. 

  • Advertising via newspapers and flyers
  • You have more than enough resources at your disposal to achieve this goal, printing of business cards which might look little but have a record of doing wonders talking about your business is also a nice idea.
  • You can also get a little banner hanged around to tell others about your business. If others are not informed or under-informed about your business, trust me you so-called quality materials will end up becoming useless.
  • Make patterns and samples well, this is why you’re here. Make up some patterns and samples to show potential customers, vendors, and investors what you can do.
  • Open accounts on social networking sites to connect with potential customers, launch a website and offer a newsletter with exclusive discounts for subscribers or place fliers and coupons in complementary local businesses

Finding the appropriate balance of advertising spend and applying the latest approaches can be challenging, which is why it is more important than ever because it provides you the opportunity to outsmart your competitors. The marketing strategy should consider both traditional offline advertisements in print and media, but also include the latest digital strategies to be competitive.

Step 10: Plan becomes action

Make sure you have a business account on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Social media is where you will get the majority of your clients so make sure you’re posting on as many platforms as possible. Utilize paid advertising on all social media platforms to expand your reach.

The bottom line on how to start a footwear business

If you do good branding, a shoe store can be successful. You need a solid strategy to let people know about the store. With a great business plan, half the work is finished. A well-designed marketing campaign will do the rest to drill your presence on people’s minds!

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