Shoe Business Ideas: How to Start a Shoe Company

Shoes are here to stay from the lowly sandals to practical wear and creative high heel. They come in different forms but collectively serve a practical purpose.
They have become part of our lives and dress code both corporate, fun and leisure wear. An entrepreneur can consider establishing a shoe company.
There are three ends of the business which are wholesale, retail and manufacturing. The business person needs to decide on which one he prefers.
The financial obligation in either manufacturing or retail sales are determined by the size of the operation, machinery and work force.
We have the single cobbler and his apprentice to highly sophisticated automated machinery and massive warehouses. Same applies to retailers and wholesalers such as the little shop in the corner or a massive shoe mall.
Therefore the size of the company and business structure plays a big part in capital expenditure. Let us first focus on shoe retail business.
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Shoe retailer
The business template for a retailer is simpler than manufacturing. The retailer sources his wears from a wholesaler or directly from manufacturers. The entrepreneur has to target a particular demography or gender before launching the enterprise.
This is not a hard and fast rule because you can buy both male and female shoes if you desire. However narrowing your field and focusing allows better knowledge of the product and specialization.
The major advantage in this business is having in-depth knowledge of your product. You need to build a working relationship with specific wholesalers and manufacturers. The lower end of shoe retailing is the individual buyer that sources from retailers or seeks used shoes.
Retailers use various methods to reach top manufacturer and retailers such as direct contracts, advertisement and referrals. You can decide to operate from home or a business premises.
A home based enterprise reduces startup cost and leaves cash for other things. Here are steps on how to start your own shoe company.

Register your Company
To start the enterprise you have to register your company as a limited liability company. Choose a good catchy name that people remember and identify with your brand.
The name of the enterprise is almost as important as the cloths you sell. A company with a respected name and quality merchandise will succeed.
Try to obtain a vendors license for tax and other allied matters and find out other state regulations.
Do Market Research
You need to do lots of research on shoes, location, target customers and major competitors. The quickest way to success is studying your market and understanding your customer’s needs.
Manufacturers and Suppliers
Find trust worthy manufacturer and supplies to form a business arrangement. There are many methods you can use to locative major players in the industry.
One way is to use your country’s yellow pages and trade publications. There are many online resources and website to point you in the right direction.
Search classified advertisements in magazines and newspapers for business partners. Both wholesalers and manufacturers want to be found. So they invest heavily on advertisement and corporate events.
Once you have located a few, narrow down your choices. Try to visit each company to ascertain the validity of their claims. Also checkout the shoes they sell/manufacture to see if they support your vision and mission.
Another thing to look into is credit facilities and discounts from them. Retailers enjoy some special arrangement and benefits from wholesalers and manufacturers.
Some manufacturers and wholesalers offer drop shipping services. This reduces the stress of shipping items to customers from your store.
The wholesalers take care of the modalities of shipment once they get the order. The unit cost of shoes bought from these companies determines who you partner.
 Open a Merchant Account
As a wholesaler or retailer you need a merchant account. The account is a company account that aids in purchase and credit card transactions.
Most commercial banks accept merchant accounts from limited liability companies. An advantage of opening the account is easier access to low interest loans.
Go Online
Many wholesalers and retailers after going online wonder why it took them so long to leverage on online resources. Such enterprises usually get phenomenal growth after launching their company website.
A company website is a marketing tool that never sleeps. You have your shoe images, description, prices, location and contact information.
The merchant account comes handy in accepting credit card payments for goods.
Marketing Blues
You need effective marketing to turn a profit. Early days in shoe retail business is tough and challenging. The public has to be aware of your products and services.
On the day of your opening create a fan fair atmosphere and offer discounts. You need to bring on your A game and win new customers.
Market your company through print media such as handbills, posters and banners. Try word of moth or hiring sales representatives.
 Place advertisement in your local daily, radio jingles and YouTube channels. Place advertisements using Adwords and Facebook adverts.
Paid classified at a popular shopping destination will also bring in the customers. If you specialize in ladies shoes organize a fashion show in collaboration with designers.
Another effective marketing avenue is placing advertisement in popular fashion magazines in your area. If your sell sports shoes place advertisement in top sports magazines.
The Service
As a shoe wholesaler or retailer your customers should know which services you render. The service could be home delivery or sourcing products from specific suppliers. You might also need a bus to deliver orders to your clients.
Make sure your prices are competitive and affordable. Don’t try to make all your profit from a few product but spread it.
Shoe Manufacturing Business
Shoe manufacturing is a little bit more challenging than wholesale or retail. The shoe maker needs to buy equipment and have technical skill.
The shoemaker can decide to open a small shop and provide personalized service. They do this by creating shoes for customers on commissioned job bases.
A customer goes to the shoemaker and commissions a shoe. The manufacturer builds the shoe according to measurements and specifications.
Large manufacturers go into mass production of shoe and automation. They create a design, make a template, cut, sew, stitch and clue. They are capable of producing hundreds of different shoes monthly.
Recap on starting a shoe business
1             Decide on wholes, retail or producing the shoes
2             Register your business name
3             Study competitors
4             Find good supply partners
5             Let wholesalers define their services
6             Open a merchant account
7             Build a website for your company
8             Market your shoes
9             Order from the best manufacturers
10          Apply proper pricing

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