October 24, 2014  
 
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Opening a Business

 

Starting a Fabric Outlet

What does it take to start a fabric outlet? We cover the most important things you need to consider when opening a fabric outlet.

Wondering how to start a fabric outlet? We take you step-by-step from start to success.

Fabric Outlet

Fabric Outlet Stores

There is strong demand for fabrics for fashion, bridal, quilting, drapery and upholstery projects.

Fabrics come in a wide variety of types: chenille, silk, linen, wool, cotton, velvet, faux fur, polar fleece, and many more. The fabric-shop industry is a $4 billion market that spans fashion fabrics, home furnishings and upholstery fabrics.

However, this is a competitive market. There are 4,500 fabric stores in the United States. Jo-Ann Stores is the dominant fabric outlet chain in the country and is a serious competitive threat to entrepreneurs who want to open a fabric outlet store. Other large fabric chains and fabric retailers have struggled. For example, Hancock Fabrics is currently closing many of its fabric outlet stores. Walmart is also getting out of the fabrics business.

On the bright side, this means less competition for you. More realistically, it's a reminder that you have to execute flawlessly to do well in the competitive fabric industry. Find a niche and serve it well and you will do just fine.

Creating Business Plans for a Fabric Outlet

Does your fabric outlet have a business plan? If not, your company is lacking a critical business tool. With the right ingredients, a business plan can help your startup secure financing, attract investors and execute a strategy for growth.

To assist your efforts, you may want to consider enlisting the aid of a professional business plan writer.

Time and time again, the best entrepreneurs we see rely on professionally crafted plans to guide their decision making. But no matter how skilled they are, business plan writers can't be effective without the direct input of the business owner.

As the primary stakeholder in your fabric outlet, you will intentionally need to insert yourself in various stages of the plan's development.

Evaluate Competitors

Prior to opening a fabric outlet in your town, it's worthwhile to see how many competitors you have. Use the link below to find competitors in your area. Simply enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of fabric outlets in your town.

Gain a knowledge of how existing firms have positioned themselves in the marketplace, and then design your business in a way that sets you apart from the others.

Getting Advice from Experienced Entrepreneurs

Once you've finished assessing the competion, it's essential that you talk to somebody who is already in the business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.

However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started a fabric outlet in a location that is not competitive to you will be much more likely to talk with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. In my experience, you may have to call ten business owners in order to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.

The key question new becomes: how to find a fabric outlet entrepreneur that lives outside of your area?

It's easy. Here's a link you can use to find a mentor outside of your area.

Is It Easier to Buy an Existing Fabric Outlet?

Competition is tight these days and entrepreneurs can't afford to make many mistakes. So it's critical to get it right when deciding whether to start a business from scratch or buy an existing fabric outlet.

In general, purchased fabric outlets fare better than startups, at least during the initial few years. When you buy an established fabric outlet, you gain access to a functional business operation with a customer base and a steady revenue stream.

Entrepreneurs who are committed to a highly unique value proposition may need to pursue a startup approach. However, in today's business-for-sale marketplace, there is an abundance of fabric outlets worth considering.

Don't Forget About Franchising As an Option

Recognize that your chances of doing well with your venture are much greater if you purchase a franchise rather than going it alone.

If your goal is to start a fabric outlet, a smart move is to determine whether purchasing a franchise might alleviate your startup process.

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.

Industry Publications

There are a variety of publications that should be read by any entrepreneur who wants to start a fabric outlet store. We recommend:

  • Creative Leisure News - Creative Leisure News is a business newsletter serving professionals in the arts and crafts industry. The newsletter publishes 24 issues per year.

Related Articles on Starting a Company

These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.

Free Business Plan Templates

Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business

LLC Advantages


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Already Own a Fabric Outlet?

If you currently own a fabric outlet, these resources will come in handy:

Marketing a Fabric Outlet

Selling a Fabric Outlet

Do You Sell to Fabric Outlets?

If you sell to fabric outlets, this isn't the right place for you. Try these resources instead:

Selling to Fabric Outlets

Mailing Lists for Fabric Outlets

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