Children’s Clothes Franchise Business
It’s no surprise that we spend a small fortune on children’s clothes every year – the little darlings seem to be continually growing out of them in a matter of days! In 2016, research by the CEBR (Centre for Economics and Business Research) suggested that parents spend around £11,000 on clothes for their offspring (from birth to age 21). Even if you discount the costs from age 16 and above, that’s still a considerable amount of your disposable income going on clothing your children. It’s little wonder that children’s clothes shops, both online and on the high street, are doing well.
As well as growth spurts causing you to replace those jeans just a week after you bought them, you can add into the mix changing trends and fashions. Children are surprisingly fashion conscious, and not joining in with the latest fads in trainers or tops could lead to bullying and peer pressure that some children find deeply disturbing.
From tiny tots to teenagers, the children’s clothes UK market has never been more buoyant or more lucrative. If you’re interested in getting into this highly competitive and fast-paced marketplace, then a franchise offering children’s clothes could be a very profitable career move.
What types of clothing franchises are available?
Children’s clothes franchises tend to be more popular on the other side of the Atlantic, but the success of online sites like Mumsnet have led to a resurgence of interest in online and party businesses selling everything from clothes to baby strollers. The most popular options are baby clothes (primarily because babies tend to grow out of their clothes so quickly, and they are also much cheaper to buy wholesale and easier to store than clothes for older children). They’re also less influenced by the whims of the fashion industry, which means you’re far less likely to end up with a pile of out-of-fashion clothes you can’t sell.
Teenage fashion is a tough market to get into, and many of the supermarkets have taken complete ownership of the back-to-school market by offering ultra-cheap generic 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.
Our advice is to look more towards the tiny tots market – with the demise of many high street children’s clothes shops, online sales and baby clothes parties are taking over the marketplace.
What do I need to set up my own children’s clothing business?
You’ll need all the attributes of any successful entrepreneur – drive, determination, a chunk of starting capital, and the will to succeed. 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 mums and dads over a cup of coffee and in an informal, relaxed location. 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 aiming at.
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 suggest avoiding storing anything in the garage! Children’s clothes can be vacuum-packed to keep them clean and odour-free (make sure it’s well away from your kitchen area so it doesn’t absorb cooking smells, which will put off your buyers straight away).
Postage and packing are going to be an essential consideration if you’re doing an online range, so you’ll need to investigate the most cost-effective way of sending your orders out quickly and easily. Don’t always assume that the Post Office is your only option – there are plenty of online courier companies who offer cut-price delivery charges for multiple orders.
Promotion is the beating heart of any business, and that’s just as relevant if you’re running an online business or are opening a children’s clothes shop on your local high street. A proportion of your budget needs to go on advertising; you cannot just rely on word of mouth if you want to take your business venture seriously.
Websites are also essential, and don’t forget you’ll need to incorporate a sales section into it too, so develop a site that has a shopping cart that’s secure, easy to use, and encourages customers to complete their purchase and not drop out at the last minute. One of the most significant problems online customers have is that they’re not told about postage and packaging charges until they reach the checkout, which causes a much higher percentage of dropouts and incomplete sales. Make sure your site is up-front about all charges, so your customers know exactly how much they’re paying from the outset.
Children’s clothing franchises are few and far between in the UK, but that means the ones that do come along benefit from having very little competition and often have a reasonably affordable initial investment level. Certain areas of children’s clothing are already saturated markets – for example, the major supermarkets dominate the back-to-school clothing industry – but there are niche areas, which offer interesting and potentially very profitable opportunities.
Baby’s 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.
The main routes to market for children’s clothing franchises are either online or through the ‘party’ route. You will need to create a solid working business model that includes both logistical considerations such as storage and delivering your orders, as well as advertising and developing an online presence.
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 to make considering a franchise a viable option. It’s well worth regularly checking to see what new opportunities come up, as because of the lack of current franchises on offer in the UK, competition is minimal, making it easier for those who do take the plunge to turn a small business into a profitable career.
The Editorial Team, Point Franchise ©
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