7 things I learnt opening a retail store

Anna LeeAnna-Lee of Baby Moo’s a quirky kids clothes brand shares 8 lessons she learnt opening their first physical retail shop in Bournemouth

1: Take time to talk to neighbouring businesses to get a feel for when their busiest times are & whether your business is a good fit into their community.

2: Get a solicitor to help with the lease side of things, I have to admit I wasn’t planning on getting a solicitor to do the lease for me but I’m relieved I did, they saved me lots of money before the lease even completed & put a schedule of condition in place for me so the money they saved me will more than likely be ongoing well into the lease term!

3: Overestimate what set up costs will be, you might be surprised how much things like shop signage & simple things like carrier bags cost! Something I didn’t do & wish I had so I could have budgeted more realistically!

4: If you’re getting a phone line be careful giving details to anyone calling claiming to be from a business directory, this has seen us bombarded with calls from shady businesses claiming to want to register our electric meter & similar, realistically they are usually selling on your details or in some circumstances are moving small businesses energy supplies without their consent.

5: If you’re going to spend any money advertising the launch consider getting a press release written up professionally with distribution locally, this will hopefully bring in many pieces of media coverage at the fraction of the cost of a newspaper ad.

6: Not sure what to stock? Experience has shown us what customers say they want to buy & what they actually buy are 2 entirely different things, if possible test the waters first with small batches of stock, then restocking what customers are actually buying.

7: No doubt you’ll get advertising reps popping in every few days & calling, often they’ll promise huge returns for little investment, if your ideal customer responds to printed ads & local directory listings then go for it otherwise don’t be afraid to say no although often you’ll need to be quite stern with your no!

If your business is a start-up or if your product is new, I would recommend learning how to get your product into small stores, try to go here.

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