The children’s clothes UK market has never been more buoyant or more lucrative, no matter whether your business is aimed at tiny tots or teenagers. If you’re interested in getting into this highly competitive and fast-paced marketplace, starting a children’s clothing store franchise could be a very profitable career move.
It’s no surprise that we spend a small fortune on children’s clothes every year as they seem to grow out of them in a matter of days! In fact, research by Halifax suggests that parents spend an average of £46.97 on children’s clothes every month. This is on top of £86.85 on food, £60.69 on holidays, £57.58 on childcare and £33.18 on toys – to name just a few other expenses.
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Why are children’s clothing stores doing so well?
There are a number of reasons why junior clothing stores are so lucrative. Growth spurts render relatively new items ill-fitting, while changing trends and fashions encourage shoppers to invest in new and different pieces on a regular basis. Children are surprisingly fashion conscious, and not joining in with the latest fads in trainers or tops leaves them vulnerable to peer pressure and bullying.
Therefore, businesses selling products for children always have the potential to bring in a hefty profit. So, it’s little wonder that children’s clothing business, both online and on the high street, are doing well.
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Which types of children’s clothing store businesses are there?
There are more children’s clothing franchises in the US than in the UK, but the success of online sites such as Mumsnet has led to a resurgence of interest in online and party businesses selling everything from clothes to baby strollers. Here are a couple of great options for you to consider:
- Baby clothes businesses – This is the most popular type of children’s business, primarily because babies grow out of their clothes so quickly, so there’s a huge market for baby clothes in pretty much every location. Also, the necessary stock is much cheaper to buy wholesale and easier to store than clothes for older children. Baby clothes are also less influenced by fashion trends, which means you’re far less likely to end up with a pile of out-dated clothes you can’t sell.
- Online children’s clothes businesses – Everyone knows that high street retailers are suffering. With the demise of many ‘brick and mortar’ children’s clothes shops, online sites are taking over the marketplace. Increasingly, parents and gift-givers are looking to independent shops that create beautifully made, interesting pieces that offer something different from the tonnes of mass-produced children’s clothes sold by high street retailers. By taking advantage of this market, you could create a profitable and truly unique kids’ clothing store.
A word of warning:
Teenage fashion can be a tough market to get into, as many of the supermarkets have taken complete ownership of the back-to-school market by offering generic, ultra-cheap clothes. These can easily be adapted to suit almost any uniform guidelines by simply sewing or ironing on the school crest on a jumper or jacket.
As a result, you should carefully consider your business plan before launching a junior clothing store that offers smartwear or school uniforms, as you may find it difficult to compete against the big industry players.
How do you set up your own children’s clothing business?
- Decide on your business model – Children’s clothes franchises are very popular with women who can run their business alongside other commitments, whether that’s family or work. The business can be exclusively online sales, or you can organise clothes ‘parties’ where you show off the range of products you have to a group of parents over a cup of coffee at an informal, relaxed event. These clothes parties are a tried and tested way of selling, and they work particularly well if your audience is made up of young mums – exactly the demographic you’ll be targeting.
- Find storage – Because you’re selling a product rather than a service, you’ll need somewhere clean and dry to store your stock. Children’s clothing needs to be kept in pristine condition if it’s to appeal to buyers, so we’d recommend you avoid storing anything in the garage! Children’s clothes can be vacuum-packed to keep them clean and odour-free. Wherever you opt to store your stock, make sure it’s well away from your kitchen area so it doesn’t absorb cooking smells, as this will put off potential buyers straight away.
- Work out how you’ll send orders to your customers – Postage and packing are going to be essential considerations if you’re creating an online range, so you’ll need to find the most cost-effective way of sending your orders out quickly and easily. Don’t assume that the Post Office is your only option – there are plenty of online courier companies that offer cut-price delivery charges for multiple orders.
- Sort your marketing objectives – Promotion is the beating heart of any business, and that’s just as relevant whether you’re running a ‘brick and mortar’ business or an online one. A proportion of your budget will always need to go on advertising; it would be a mistake to just rely on word of mouth if you want consumers to take your business venture seriously. Even cost-effective social media promotion will go some way to getting your business out there in your territory.
- Launch your website – Having a website will give your business a more professional feel and help consumers learn more about you. Don’t forget to incorporate a sales section and make sure your ‘shopping cart’ section is secure and easy to use. You should also ensure your website encourages customers to complete their purchases and not drop out at the last minute.
Remember to keep postage and packing costs in mind when creating your website. One of the most significant problems online customers face is that they’re not told about extra charges until they reach the checkout. This causes a much higher percentage of dropouts and incomplete sales.
Make sure your website is up-front about all charges so your customers know exactly how much they’re paying from the outset and can make an informed decision about whether they want to buy from you or not. This will also lower the chances of consumers getting a negative impression of your children’s clothing store.
To become a successful juniors clothing store owner, you’ll need all the attributes of any successful entrepreneur. This includes the drive to reach profitability, a chunk of starting capital and the commitment to your brand.
Running your own business in the children’s clothing sector – the key points
- Dedicated children’s clothing stores are few and far between in the UK, but that can be beneficial for entrepreneurs who are hoping to break into the sector. This is because the kids’ clothing stores that do emerge have very little competition and are often affordable in terms of their investment level.
- It is true that certain areas of the children’s clothing sector are already saturated – for example, the major supermarkets dominate the back-to-school clothing industry. However, there are more niche areas that offer interesting and potentially very profitable opportunities.
- Baby clothes are probably one of the most straightforward options – not only do you have a fairly guaranteed market full of new mums and dads, but it’s not as heavily influenced by the changing whims of the fashion industry. That means you’re less likely to be left with out-of-fashion stock that you cannot sell.
- Whichever business route you take, you will need to create a solid business model that includes both logistical considerations such as storing and delivering your orders, as well as advertising and developing an online presence.
The future of the children’s clothing sector
With parents spending more and more of their income on children’s clothing, the UK marketplace has plenty of growth potential in the coming years. This means it’s a great time to take advantage of demand and consider opening a franchise business.
Here are just a few reasons why becoming a franchisee can be incredibly lucrative:
- You’ll launch your own business under the name of an established franchise. The franchisor will have spent years experimenting with its business model to find the most effective operating strategies. When you join, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that you’re using a proven system.
- Your business will benefit from existing brand awareness. Consumers will probably have seen or heard of your brand before, so it’s likely you’ll experience higher sales volumes than if you’d started up a new, independent business.
- You’ll get initial training and ongoing support from the franchisor and their team of experts. The franchise’s founder will want all their franchisees to perform as well as possible, so they’ll almost certainly provide training when you first join. Also, you’ll be able to return to them with any questions or concerns you have further down the line.
Although there aren’t many children’s clothing store franchises on the market at the moment, there are plenty of franchises to take a look at in the children’s sector. Click here to browse your options.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©