Is starting a clothing store franchise the right fit?

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Clothing Stores Franchise

Though the franchising sector is traditionally associated with the fast food industry, there are a growing number of businesses looking to adapt the franchise model to other types of business. One of the critical areas of growth is the fashion sector. Today, we take a look at the clothing industry, why you should start your own clothing store business and then six of the most exciting franchise opportunities.

What is the current state of the clothes industry?

As a nation, we love to shop. Studies have actually shown that we part with around £1,042 per year to update our wardrobes and make sure we’re on trend (Ariel). Also, the UK fashion industry market value is around £66 billion and there are 555,000 employed in fashion-related industries (Fashion United). The top companies based on their market capitalization are Burberry ($10 billion), Next Plc (£7.16 billion), Mark & Spencer ($6.18 billion) and ASOS ($6.18 billion).

Is starting a clothing store business risky?

There are definitely many uncertainties when it comes to starting your own business in the current political climate. We can’t be completely sure how Brexit will impact trade and our economy. Also, consumers are becoming more aware of the negative effect of fast fashion and the detrimental effects of buying new clothes frequently. However, even bearing these two factors in mind, consumers are always going to require clothes to some extent. You just ned to consider how you incorporate these two issues into your business model and use them to find a USP that will bring in custom. It’s how effectively clothing store businesses achieve this that will govern whether they are successful are not.

Why is owning a clothing store business a good idea?

If you’ve always been interested in fashion and have a keen eye for spotting new trends, why not consider owning a clothing store? The industry is constantly evolving and provides endless opportunities for innovation and creativity. When you become a business owner you can enjoy the flexibility of choosing your own hours, which helps achieve a healthier work-life balance and promote a happier lifestyle.

Why should I consider franchising for starting my own clothing store business?

If you choose to invest in an existing franchise rather than starting your own clothing store business from scratch, you can benefit from an established brand that has a proven business model and tried and tested operational processes. Also, as the franchise will have an existing customer base, you don’t have to put as much time and resources into national marketing in the initial stages. The franchise will have also established a successful marketing strategy that you can have access to. When you become a franchisee, the franchise should provide you with a comprehensive training programme and, when you’re up and running, an ongoing network of support.

Retail business for sale: the best clothing franchise opportunities

Women’s clothing stores

Women’s clothing stores are by far the most popular type of clothing franchise in the UK. There are a greater number of women’s fashion retailers in the franchising sector than any other kind of clothing business. For this reason, investors are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the franchise that best suits their needs Below, we take a look at three of the most popular options.

Noa Noa

Noa Noa is a Danish clothing brand that was established in 1981 by two brothers with an eye for bohemian-style fashion and a strong business strategy. Embracing the Scandinavian minimalism that has seen other businesses from the region prosper on the international stage, Noa Noa has slowly but steadily built itself a franchising empire that spans 20 countries. With more than 60 concept stores and a presence in over 400 multi-brand stores, Noa Noa is now an established name on the fashion scene.

To open a Noa Noa franchise unit, you’ll need a minimum initial investment of approximately £40,000. However, over the franchise’s five-year term length, you’ll need to raise a total investment of somewhere between £50,000 - £100,000.


Calzedonia is an Italian lingerie, legwear and swimwear retailer that has been in existence since 1987. As of 2018, it had more than 2,000 shops across the globe, with a presence in most European markets. It employs around 32,000 staff members and has been organised to make the most of the franchising model. When it was first established in Verona 32 years ago, the plan was to build a fashion empire based on franchising’s ability to facilitate remarkably rapid expansion. In this, the brand has succeeded.

If you’re hoping to become a Calzedonia franchisee, you’ll need to invest around £100,000. You will pay half of this amount as an initial investment, with the other half acting as working capital to support the launch of the business. In return, Calzedonia expects a medium-sized store to generate around £320,000 in annual turnover.

Unfortunately, Calzedonia isn’t looking to expand its UK franchise network with us at the moment, but keep checking back in case any opportunities arise.

Karen Millen

Founded by the eponymous Karen Millen in 1981, this franchise started by selling simple, white t-shirts to friends and family. They proved so popular that the business was able to open its first store in 1983 and it hasn’t looked back since. The Karen Millen franchise network now consists of more than 400 stores in 63 countries, making it an international powerhouse in the fashion industry.

Becoming a Karen Millen franchisee means raising a minimum investment of £350,000. While you can finance a large portion of this through an agreement with a major lender, a substantial part of it must come from the franchisee's personal assets.

To find out more about the opportunity, head to its website.

Men’s clothing stores

Though not as popular a franchising investment as women’s clothing franchises, there are still a significant number of men’s clothing franchises to consider. However, many of these franchises focus on the tailoring industry and men's suits. Interestingly, there are a limited number of franchises that retail streetwear or smart-casual fashion. With this in mind, we decided to take a look at the industry's most prominent tailoring franchise, as it best typifies the men's fashion franchising sector.

Suit the City

Suit the City offers made-to-measure suits to customers across the UK. The business, established in 2007, has now been in operation for more than a decade and has managed to develop real industry expertise, as well as considerable franchising experience. It has also earned a reputation for using the best materials and for being able to work with individuals of all shapes, sizes and builds.

Becoming a Suit the City franchisee requires investors to raise £19,950, half of which should come from the franchisee’s personal assets. Franchisees need no practical experience of tailoring and will not be required to sew a stitch – the role is focused exclusively on business management.

Check out the Suit the City website today to discover more about this exciting opportunity and register your interest.

Owning your own online clothing store franchise

Online clothing store businesses are also relatively rare due to the way in which the franchise model often works best when individual franchise units are associated with specific territories. This is difficult to achieve with online businesses, as customers can come from everywhere and anywhere and aren't linked to a definite geographic area. As a result, issues arise as to how to distribute customers between franchisees. Despite this, some franchises have successfully combined high street, brick and mortar businesses with an online element.

Ulla Popken

Ulla Popken is an international franchise that specialises in women’s fashion for those who require a larger size. While it boasts more than 300 stores across Europe, the company also operates an online shopping portal that constitutes a significant portion of its business. The brand releases at least 10 collections every year and the franchising team offers considerable support to investors who do wish to launch a new Ulla Popken franchise.

As franchise costs vary significantly depending on the location and size of a store, would-be Ulla Popken franchisees need to contact the franchisor for accurate investment figures.

If you’re business-minded, have retail experience and are dedicated to the brand’s success, apply on the Ulla Popken website.

Alternative clothing franchises

Finally, it’s also worth looking at those franchises that operate within the fashion sector but that don’t retail clothing. These are generally clothing repair businesses that offer customers a way to bring their favourite items of clothing back to life.

Zip Yard

Zip Yard was set up in 2005 by the father-daughter team of Don and Caroline Wallace. Over the last decade, it has grown into a significant force on the franchising scene and is now an exciting investment opportunity for any individual interested in the repairs and alterations industry.

To become a Zip Yard franchisee, you’ll need to make a minimum initial investment of £38,500. The franchise fee stands at £15,000, and some additional working capital will also be required to support the business through its early growth.

>> Read more articles on the Clothing sector

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