Wondering how to start a dance clothing retailer? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Dance Clothing Essentials
Dance clothing is a niche within the apparel industry. But the fact that it only serves a small niche of the apparel market doesn't mean it isn't profitable. For the right entrepreneurs, dance clothing retail can be an extremely profitable startup concept, especially if you have the ability to leverage connections within the local dance and/or dance school industry.
Repeat customers (a.k.a. loyalty customers) are the lifeblood of a successful dance clothing retail store. Unlike other sports and hobby enthusiasts, dancers constantly require new outfits to spruce up their upcoming recitals or performances. Retail providers who treat their customers well are rewarded with their customers' undying fidelity, not to mention positive word-of-mouth in the local dance community.
For news and updates about the dance clothing retail industry, consider participating in a regional trade group like the Northeast Dance Retailers Association.
Building a Broad Customer Base as a Dance Clothing Retailer
As a startup dance clothing storeowner, it's in your best interest to create a broad customer base as quickly as possible. Focusing on only one category of dance clothes or shoes (e.g. ballet apparel) is a misstep -- dance apparel is already a niche market category and by further limiting your product lines you will run the risk of overspecialization.
Dance studios and dance instructors are important sources of referrals for apparel retailers. If you can impress a handful of local dance instructors, you can gain rapid visibility for your startup and possibly leverage discounts or other mechanisms, making your store the retailer of choice for hundreds of dance students. To cement the relationship even further, consider sponsoring recitals or events at prominent studios.
Pricing Issues for Startup Dance Apparel Stores
Price is a major concern for dance clothing consumers. Although dancers are willing to spend a little more on ballet shoes, tap shoes, leotards, tights or other types of workout clothes, dance costumes are only worn for a few performances. So for most consumers, costumes need to look great and cost as little as possible.
Unfortunately, startups are often at a disadvantage when it comes to pricing. Larger and more established retailers have the ability to leverage bulk purchasing and consequently, can offer lower prices to customers. The bottom line is that startups rarely (if ever) win price wars with established competitors.
During the planning stage, you will need to pay special attention to your competitors' pricing models. But the time everything is said and done, you will need to create a pricing model that keeps your startup in the game and then leverage service or other factors to differentiate your dance store in the marketplace.
Successful Business Plans for Dance Clothing Retailers
As a startup small business owner, you need to have a business plan you can rely on for both external and internal purposes.
Although there are a lot of tasks screaming for your attention, cutting corners on your business plan can be a precursor to disaster. Why? Because there are a multitude of reasons why your company can't succeed without a sound business plan.
From a business ownership perspective, that makes business planning your first priority - and not a task that can be assigned to the back burner.
Don't Overlook the Competition
Prior to opening a dance clothing retailer in your area, it's essential to determine how many competitors you have. Use the link below to generate a list of competitors nearby. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of dance clothing retailers that are close by.
How tough is the competition in the market you are considering? If the competition is too tough, you may need to think about starting the business in a different area or even start a completely different business instead.
Studying the Market
If you are seriously contemplating launching a dance clothing retailer, you really ought to learn from folks who are already in business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. What's in it for them?
Fortunately, somebody who runs a dance clothing retailer outside of your community may be more than happy to give you a few tips, given that you don't compete with them in their area. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where would you find somebody who runs a dance clothing retailer on the other side of the country to talk to?
Simple. Let your fingers do the walking by using the link below.
Advantages of Using a Business Broker
Business owners are decision makers. And the first decision you'll need to make is between a dance clothing retailer startup and an acquisition. Unless you have specific business objectives that require a startup approach, you're probably better off trying to buy an established dance clothing retailer.
A qualified business brokers can provide a range of services designed to ease your transition into business ownership.
The best business brokers will ensure that you get the right business for the right price, and will help you avoid common dance clothing retailer acquisition mistakes.
Don't Rule Out Franchising
Your chances for achieving your top business goals immediately improve if you opt for franchising and leverage their successful brand and track record.
As part of your process in starting a dance clothing retailer, a smart move is to check out whether there are good franchise opportunities available that might increase your chances of success.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you currently own a dance clothing retailer, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to dance clothing retailers, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.