A second-hand clothing store can be a good business to start for a variety of reasons. Some shoppers love to search for bargains and vintage items of clothing, which may be found in a second-hand shop. For individuals who are budget conscious, buying clothing second-hand may be a necessity. During any type of economy, a second-hand clothing business may do well, but it may really thrive during bad economic times.
Develop a business plan. All businesses need a business plan to increases the chances of success. Look at costs for setting up the business, such as the cost for a store, staff and supplies needed. Consider financing options, such as small business loans. Developing a marketing plan, such as advertising in local papers.
Select a location in a middle class or low income area. An affluent area may not be the best location for a second-hand clothing shop. A high traffic area near other thrift shops may attract bargain hunters who are also interested in used clothing.
Decide on how you will purchase inventory. For example, some second-hand clothing businesses may buy used clothing upfront. Used clothing can be purchased at garage sales, flea markets and online. When considering inventory, decide if you will sell all types of used clothing or specialize in certain types, such as children’s clothing or formal wear.
Consider selling on consignment. This means you accept an item for sale, but you don’t pay for it upfront. Many used clothing stores get their inventory this way. It cuts down on start-up costs, because you don’t pay for the item until it's sold. Once the item sells, you give a percentage of the money to the person who supplied the item. You also keep a percentage.
Carry a wide selection of clothing which sells well used. For example, children outgrow clothing fast. Some parents may be in the market for second-hand clothing. Maternity clothing is also a good item to carry. Since women only wear the clothes for a short time, they may want to look for alternatives to buying new clothes. Designer items may also be good sellers since their price tag is huge when new. Vintage clothing, which is hard to find elsewhere, may be a specialty item that sells well in a used clothing shop.
Look at the condition of the clothing to determine pricing. If the clothing looks like new, it may be able to be priced at a higher rate than well worn merchandise. Also consider the type and style of clothing for pricing ideas. For example, if the used clothing is a designer name, you may be able to price it higher than other items.
Add accessories. Purses, shoes and jewelry may be good items to add to your shop.
Avoid having any items for sale which are not in good shape. Torn or stained clothing should not be resold. No matter how low an item is priced, having clothing in the store which is tattered may give the store a bad reputation.