Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
A merchandise company is a great option for someone who has a talent for sales and is passionate about a particular sports team, tourist attraction or any other type of institution for which people tend to purchase memorabilia. Merchandise companies make great franchising opportunities, because once you develop a successful way to market your concept, and display and handle your inventory, you will have developed systems that you can easily replicate in different venues.
Contact your state and local revenue departments regarding fees and licenses for operating a merchandise company in your area. Obtain a state resale license enabling you to purchase goods wholesale without paying sales tax. Register as an employer with your state Employment Security Department and Department of Labor and Industries, and obtain a federal employer identification number by calling the IRS and telling them that you are starting a business that will be hiring employees.
Find a storefront location ideally suited to your merchandise business. If you will be selling sports team merchandise, find a spot near your local stadiums. If you will be selling general merchandise souvenirs from you city or state, look for a storefront in a part of town frequented by tourists, such as the downtown area. Malls are also appropriate locations for merchandise businesses because they draw consumers with disposable income.
Choose the merchandise you will sell through your company. Stock articles of clothing and headgear as well as mugs, keychains, pens and bumper stickers. Include practical items as well as frivolous ones, and plenty of inexpensive inventory to encourage impulse purchases. Position small, inexpensive items by the front registers and create more elaborate displays with higher ticket items such as handcrafted rugs or signature jerseys.
Keep careful records of all your business activities. Observe trends, such as times of the day or the week that your merchandise business is busiest, and which items are your most consistent sellers. Refine your business operations over time to make them smooth and profitable, and to create a model that you can successful replicate at additional locations.
Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.