Starting a Shoe Business

starting a shoe business

Job duties

When starting a shoe business your duties will involve purchasing shoes from wholesalers and selling them to consumers. You will be responsible for searching for a range of available stylish brands, from bridal shoes, kids shoes and athletics shoes (depending on your niche). You will keep an eye for current trends and know “what’s hot” when it comes to shoes.

Choosing a Location for your Shoe Business

The location of your shoe business is an important one. Locating your business somewhere where there is a high amount of walk by traffic can be helpful in attracting new customers. Ideal places are near populated areas such as a mall, shopping centers or busy streets. Locating near other shopping and clothing stores can be a good strategy since customers of those other stores may decide to come into your store for a look. Keep in mind that your store needs to have enough space for display of the shoes and clients should be able to sit and try on shoes comfortably. You can choose to open an online shoe business or a physical store or do both to increase your sales. If you do decide to start an online shoe business you will still need space to store your shoes.

Basic Costs

The costs for starting a shoe business depends on various factors such as size, location and types of shoes you sell. Basic costs will include shelves, furniture, inventory, decor, cash register, receipts, boxes/bags for shoes, utilities and rent/lease. Licenses and permits required to start a shoe business are additional costs. Keep in mind you will need to set money aside for advertising and promotion. Having a computer is a good idea in order to keep track of inventory. Your inventory will be a big expense when starting a shoe business. Some wholesalers will let you use trade credit so you can pay for your shoes/ inventory 30, 60 or 90 days after receiving them. This gives you some time to sell the shoes and make enough money to pay back your supplier. However this may be risky in the early stage of starting your shoe business since you do not know as of yet how long it will take to make a certain amount of money.

Tips for Starting a Shoe Business:

  • Choose a Niche- When starting a shoe business you can decide to focus on a specific type of shoe ( a certain niche) such as athletic shoes, formal shoes, children’s shoes, luxury shoes, discount shoes, etc. or you can decide to offer a variety of shoes.
  • Keep an eye on surplus goods- You can get great deals on surplus goods that wholesalers or other businesses may be trying to get rid of. However never sacrifice quality for cheap prices. If your customers buys shoes from your shoe business and then realizes that the shoes are not of good quality, you will probably never see that customer again.
  • Know your Supplier- Be sure that your merchandise is of good quality. When starting a shoe business, you don’t want customers to have a bad impression or bad experience with your shoe store. This can destroy your reputation.
  • How will you run your business- Will you operate it online, or open a physical store, or both. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both. Buying on the Internet is becoming an increasing trend however plenty of people like to try on the shoes before they buy.
  • Make your purchases.- When making your shoe purchases keep in mind the tastes of your target customers. Find out what is in demand in your area. Check out your competition. Research online and find out “What’s hot”. Keep an eye for certain trends.

Advertising a Shoe Business

When opening a shoe store you can advertise through the following methods. You can test various forms of advertising to see which are the most effective for your business in your location.

  • Walk by Traffic- When starting a shoe store your location can be a big factor in attracting walk by traffic. Locating your business in a highly populated area can be helpful.
  • Flyers- Determine if you can put up flyers in local stores, community centers, and more. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byes on the street.
  • Shoe Store Business Cards- Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears. Network as much as possible.
  • Yellow Pages- Consider buying an advertisement in the yellow pages of your local phone book. You can also include your business in the online version: YellowPages.com.
  • Local.com Having a listing at Local.com can help people that are searching for your service or product locally find you.
  • Yahoo Local Searches- If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service in your local area your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
  • Google Local Searches- Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.
  • Newspaper classified ads- Newspaper ads in your local newspaper can help spread awareness of your shoe store.
  • Website- You can decide to develop a website to provide clients with access to general information about your shoe store as well as sell your products online.

Not sure about starting a shoe business? See a list of small business ideas

Do you have a business story or experience you would like to share?

Share with us your story on starting a shoe business.

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Resources


Small Business Development Center- consult with experts

SCOREs - find a SCORES chapter near you to speak with a business consultant.

Small Business Administration- provides information for starting a small business.