Post a new topic
    9 Replies Latest reply on Mar 16, 2009 12:31 PM by LUCKIEST

    Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop

    kalyku Newbie
      Hi all! My name is Kari and I have been thinking for years now of starting a children's consignment shop- although I don't want to limit to only kids- would also like to carry juniors, maternity, possibly young mens as well. My husband and I are both college educated people and both have full time jobs and 3 kids. I work in the school system and am off in the summer, so am thinking now would be the perfect time to look at getting something started. I've come to the conclusion that you don't get anywhere by SAYING you want to do something, but by actually taking the risk and DOING it! I live in a town of about 35,000 and we currently have 1 consignment shop that caters to kids and has recently expanded to include another store that caters to teens. It is very successful and I have been a customer there for a long time. We also have several thrift shops in town that I hear are doing very well. I'm thinking, in this economy, they are thriving because everyone is out for a bargain- and when it comes to kids' clothes, baby items, toys, etc.- they outgrow them so quickly! I don't believe it would be feasible to open another shop in my town since the ones that are here have already kind of cornered the market. People come from many of the surrounding smaller towns to shop here. The next biggest cities are over 45 mts. away and I really wouldn't want the commute if I didn't have to. However, there is a town about 15 miles away with a population of about 10,000 that looks to me like it is experiencing some growth- they just opened up a new dollar store (there are now 2), a new KFC and Taco Bell, as well as some other businesses. There is one larger grocery store and a couple of smaller ones and only one large Department store, which happens to be a Shopko. To my knowledge, there are no consignment shops or thrift stores in the whole town. Therefore, if people don't want to shop at the dollar stores or Shopko for childrens clothes, items, etc.- they must drive to my town (about 20 mts.) to shop for these things. There are also lots of rural communities surrounding this town and another bigger town about 25-30 miles in the other direction. My husband and I took a drive around and there are several possibilities for storefronts in high-traffic areas that are vacant- a brand new little shopping center right next to the Shopko as well as several vacant storefronts in the downtown area.

      What I need to know is where do I go from here? Where to start? We don't really have anything much in savings- we do have 401K's we could borrow from and would probably qualify for a loan (decent credit, etc.), but don't even know where to begin. A franchise seems attractive because there is so much help available in starting up. However, I kind of shy away from a franchise because then you have to follow their guidelines, share the profits, etc. I do feel like I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to this type of business just because I have been a loyal shopper at them for years and seek them out whenever I visit other places. I know what items sell and what to look for. I kind of have a picture in my mind of how I would want to run things, organize, keep accounts, etc. Can anyone tell me if it's even possible to start a business like this on my own without any capital (other than if we decide to cash in on one of the 401K's)? Also- I'm thinking if we do get this started I should maybe keep my full-time job for a year or two to make sure that it goes well and just hire part time help, rather than just up and quitting my job. Do I need a business plan/marketing strategy/feasibility study? If so, how do I go about doing these things?

      Any help, tips, ideas, and suggestions would be truly appreciated!
        • Re: Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop, Welcome Kari

          *Where to begin. Begin at SCORE. SCORE is FREE both in person and online.*<br /<br />*YES you do **need a business plan/marketing strategy/feasibility study? You go about doing them by going to SCORE and YES I am a SCORE Counselor and would be willing to help you.*<br /<br />Talk to us, LUCKIEST
          • Re: Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop
            LUCKIEST Guide
            Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop, Welcome Kari

            Where to begin. Begin at SCORE. SCORE is FREE both in person and online.

            *YES you do need a business plan/marketing strategy/feasibility study? You go
            about doing them by going to SCORE and YES I am a SCORE Counselor and
            would be willing to help you.*

            Talk to us, LUCKIEST
            • Re: Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop
              kalyku Newbie
              Thanks Luckiest! I did go to the SCORE website and requested information from a mentor there and have not heard back yet. I sure would appreciate any advice that you might have though. My husband and I took a drive over to the town again yesterday, looking at vacant properties and I was so upset as we found a vacant storefront downtown and when we looked closer, there was a sign in the window that said "Coming soon....**** Consignment shop". Darn it! Someone had the bright idea before me, lol! However- I still believe there might be a market for this type of business IF the new consignment shop is just a regular shop as opposed to a "kid-focused" shop. Any help you might have on how to get started would surely be appreciated!
              • Re: Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop
                SherryLeigh Wayfarer
                A consignment store is an excellent business to start in a recession. You can offer people the service of making money from their unwanted items, while you offer others the benefit of saving money on used items. It's a win-win.

                Find as much information as you can on Teri Bowersock. Teri started, Teri's Consign and Design with $2,000 and a strong will to succeed. She relied heavily on PR and marketing to grow her business and took advantage of current situations to expand her company.
                • Re: Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop
                  bmt2008 Adventurer
                  Couple of things - 1) why not work during the summer at your local store - thus you gain experience on how these businesses are ran and operated. Inside knowledge as opposed to just what you like.
                  2) Keep up with SCORE - find another counselor - I think you can email up to five a day - and pick their brains.
                  3) Don't forget about marketing - one of your biggest problems will be to market to the surrounding area letting them know you are open and what you do. Most of these people probably already take trips to the bigger areas and may not drive by your location for a while. Think about how you will market to them.
                  4) Even if the consignment store in the small town does what you want to do or if you still want to do the store in your town - you could locate just on the out skirts of town on a major road that brings traffic to the town. Thus, peole will see you first as they drive in from the outer areas.

                  Just some thoughts

                  Business Money Today - www.businessmoneytoday.com
                  • Re: Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop
                    mags81 Newbie
                    I also have been dreaming of opening a consignment shop! We have 6 kids, and I work full time. I also go to the local consignment shop and I love it there. Like you I dont know what to do to get this off the ground. If you get any tips I would really appreciate any advice I can get, I have no idea where to go to start this business.
                    • Re: Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop
                      LUCKIEST Guide
                      Where to begin

                      Then there was a story in the papers and on T V about a FREE STORE in N Y C.

                      YES everything is FREE. Go to Google and enter FREE STORE for more info
                      • Re: Where to begin? Dreams of starting a kids consignment shop
                        mags81 Newbie
                        my name is Sarah. I will check out SCORE as well!