Business idea in need of feedback

(42 Posts)
fibee29 Tue 08-Jan-13 09:30:13

Hi I have been recently developing a business idea and would love to have some feedback from some real parents.

It involves running a childrens shop from birth upwards of pre used but good condition items. It would also enable parents to bring their used items, ie clothing, prams, cots etc to the shop which I would then purchase and sell again in my shop. They would then get either store credit or cash to take away giving them the ability to purchase good quality clothing in the next size at a lower price than retail shops.

Would you think of taking your used baby/childs clothing to a shop like this to sell?

Would you purchase good quality used baby/childs clothing or equipment such as cots and prams?

What sort of prices would you be willing to pay for used clothing?

Any feedback at all would be greatly apreciated! smile thanks

Lastofthepodpeople Mon 14-Jan-13 19:09:46

I think its a great idea. I'd use it.

DIYapprentice Mon 14-Jan-13 19:04:25

I think it's a great idea, but I think you need to start it on a smaller scale first. See if you can link up to a couple of play groups/baby groups and take a few rails of clothing to sell at them. That way you can build stock slowly, have a guaranteed clientele, and no/low site costs. Larger items you can sell via a notice board with pictures of the item. You could also have a website link which you can promote at these groups.

You could also send out flyers to parents via infant/primary schools offering to buy good quality items that their children have outgrown/no longer use.

When you see how well things sell, you can then perhaps move to a part time shop, and then to a full time one if it all goes well.

If you don't mind me asking, which area were you looking at starting this in?

fibee29 Mon 14-Jan-13 13:34:28

i agree i dont think selling clothes on auction will make any profit i think the markets flooded already, i am now leaning towards the commision side for higher end items maybe looking at selling larger items ie cots and prams on ebay and such
thanks for all the ideas , its always useful to get some other peoples thoughts

lovemynathy Sun 13-Jan-13 20:02:31

I still think commission is better. The shop I am talking about - she often has a sign that she does not take any more stuff as she has enough. It is difficult to sell cloth on line, you can end up selling whole bundle for 99p - I bought M&S bundle like this. People will be happy for you to take it of their hands. It will also can help you at the beginning to see what sell and what doesn't. Good luck hun

carocaro Fri 11-Jan-13 13:17:40

How about make it simpler, with a regular monthly table top sale in a local church hall to start with. Each person pays to the table and that is how you make the £ - the cost of the hall. Make it a decent brand, so people know it's decent stuff not piles of unwanted tat.

zumo Wed 09-Jan-13 18:22:24

The locals who ran the computer fairs now do Baby fairs, just like a carboot but some new most used clothers
I may be wrong but I dont feel it would work as so much cheap stuff about and loads of charity shops, but it doesnt mean I am right

Ooh, I like allaquandry's idea as well.

I think not just working mums will go for this, there are also mums without a computer, or who aren't computer-literate, or who don't have a post office conveniently located so it would be a faff to have to post things off all the time.

We used to have one of these in my town. It was great.

She folded after about 18m because she couldn't make enough money.

AlwaysOneMissing Tue 08-Jan-13 16:29:19

I think Allaquandry is on the button there.
One of the first people to become millionaires through eBay did exactly that - they sold eBay items on behalf of other people.
I thought when I read that what a genius idea it is, but unfortunately, I don't enjoy listing on eBay enough to start a business like this myself!

And I am the same, I have piles and piles of baby and children's clothes/books/toys just waiting to be sold on eBay.

If you are set on your original idea, I think there is maybe one flaw to your plan. I happen to think that to get good stock in, you are going to have be based in a pretty affluent area. Being located in a lower income area may have cheaper rent and a clientele who are looking for reduced price clothes, but it is the same clientele who you are relying on to supply you with quality items to sell. In reality, families on a lower income will probably be buying their new baby clothes from cheaper stores, which is why local charity shops have baby clothes in from Primark for example.
If you can only stock your shop with things from Primark/Asda etc it is perhaps not what is going to sell best.
(Sorry for the generalising there, but I hope you know what I mean)

I personally think that a shop like yours would do better in an affluent area, and I also think that people would travel in from outside areas to visit your shop, thinking that they would get better quality/designer clothes at a discounted price.

Along with that, I think that you should serve teas/coffees/cake and also fresh smoothies, fresh fruit, heathy snacks for children, and have a colouring in table or such like, so the children can be occupied while parents browse. This would make it a good place to stop off at on the way home from the school run. If I knew there was somewhere I could go for a good coffee and a healthy snack for my child, the browsing for clothes would be an added bonus and I know I would not resist buying something. Try to get people's impulse buys.

Allaquandry Tue 08-Jan-13 15:02:12

I don't think you will ever cover your costs and I'd probably find the gap between selling price and buying price unpalatable (regardless of how justifiable it might be).

Where I think there is a massive gap in the market is for people to take away the eBay aggro - especially from working mums. The working mums i know buy stuff new from Boden and Catamini etc, and we all have piles of it in our spare rooms, waiting until we 'get round' to flogging it on eBay. that day of course never, ever comes, and instead it just gathers dust. I'd happily give half the proceeds to someone who came round, took it off my hands and eBayed it all for me. Which would mean more money for me than I'd get from a second-hand shop, and more money for the person running it all because they'd have hardly any overheads (and no outlay risk).

I also recently sorted out a pile of over 400 children's books (including all the ORT read-at-homes. 60 beast quests, etc) - all in virtually mint condition, maybe £1,000 + original cost. And what can I do with it all? I'd hand that over for ebaying as well. Easy money to be made for someone - bit of advertising, networking at the local schools, ebay it all, and job done.

If I were op I'd also find that route would give me all the marketing I'd need to know what demand for a shop would be like in the area.

newgirl Tue 08-Jan-13 14:45:34

there was a nice one just like this in st albans a few years ago and it didn't work beyond a year. And its a very busy place for families. I think if you can do it without the commitment of a premises then why not but shop rent is so high and you need to take a few hundred pounds a day to cover it - even a pram being sold would only get you say £50 a go and you wont sell a few a day

lechatnoir Tue 08-Jan-13 14:45:27

There's one near me that does a reasonable but not roaring trade. They sell mid to top end high street (gap, monsoon, Boden, joules etc) and designer clothes & shoes. I do find some of their stuff pricey (eg gap hoodies £14 which isn't far off new sale price) & although they do have some lovely bits, price wise H&M/primark still win for everyday wear & I really only go in for pricier bits like coats, snow gear & special occasion outfits.

jennybeadle Tue 08-Jan-13 14:42:24

We had one like this locally, which only closed down because the landlord tripled the rent. She sold larger items on commission (cots, buggies etc) and I think clothes were a mixture of donated and commission.

After she closed a charity shop only doing kids stuff opened, and did so well another opened at the opposite end of the high street a couple of months ago. They key I think for both of the new shops is that everything is in great condition, and the shops well laid out, clean and bright. eg they will stock pile dinosaurs till they can do a whole window of dinosaur toys, or dressing up, or summer clothes.

Also after what fibee said about location - this a very very "naice" high st.

PootlePosyPerkin Tue 08-Jan-13 14:35:16

I had a very similar idea about 5 years ago grin. It didn't become a reality for me though as I didn't have the necessary start up costs. Instead I started small by becoming an eBay Business Seller specialising in children's clothes. My only word of warning would be that to start with you will have a huge amount of work to do, a large-ish outlay (obviously more than me as I sold from my desk at home) and, until your shop becomes established, you may be working for very little return.

It was about 6 months before I started making any profit, and I think this is not unusual for small businesses.

Idea wise, it's a good one & I'm sure you've done your sums already and prepared for the fact that you may not make an instant profit but just thought it worth mentioning smile.

Best of luck with it.

fibee29 Tue 08-Jan-13 14:30:11

Maybe you would go though if there was one similar local to you smile i am looking into costings at the moment for shops and shopfitting etc to see if its viable or not. thanks for the input!

MyNewVenture Tue 08-Jan-13 14:11:42

I know someone who ran one of these. For them, they had to be somewhere quite central and the costs of the premises was so great they didn't make much/any money.

I know of another one further out of town and it has been there for years, so I assume it is used. We are not local and it seems a long way to go on the off chance of finding something/selling something.

Good luck if you go for it though.

fibee29 Tue 08-Jan-13 14:02:37

joshandjamie-i would to speak to someone who had done something similar. thanks!

fibee29 Tue 08-Jan-13 14:01:41

was thinking of maybe organising a photo day like some playgyms do? where you can have your kids photo taken by a photographer and just buy the ones you like? may be once a month or so?
there is only one charity shop in our local area and it has a poor selection. It is also quite over priced at £5 for a pair of kids jeans that are used. I think I would have to have quite a large turn over of stock to create a decent profit but i think items priced at a couple of pound or so would do well and also if i do a basic child friendly cafe ie tea's coffee and cakes etc although i dont want the cafe side of things to take over.
I the decider is going to be the location. i dont think it would work in a high end neighbourhood or in a high street.

ZooAnimals Tue 08-Jan-13 13:49:53

We had a shop like this locally, but it closed down a few years back. I think there was too much competition from charity shops and reasonably priced 'normal' shops.

They had a children's hairdresser on site a couple of days a week and held a free gymboree session on a Saturday in order to get people in.

I think their mistake was pricing things too highly. They concentrated on designer/high end baby stuff though.

cassell Tue 08-Jan-13 13:39:36

We had a shop like this near us and it was lovely but closed down, presumably as they weren't making enough money. Things I liked about it - nice selection of toys well presented, designer clothes at primark prices. Things I didn't like - very poor selection of boys clothes - ie about 2 or 3 items only (and I visited a few times over several months and then gave up), didn't feel very welcoming, nowhere easy to park/poor public transport connections. I thought the idea was good in theory but didn't work in practice.

Maybe you could just do commission on bigger ticket items, like prams?

I personally wouldn't be so keen on waiting for commission for a couple baby shirts so I agree with your logic.

joshandjamie Tue 08-Jan-13 13:29:59

I used to do PR for a lady who ran a shop just like this. It was gorgeous inside, but she ended up having to close it - partly because she fell pregnant again and she found it hard to juggle and partly because it was hard to make money. She now runs a consulting company to small businesses. I can pm you her details if you like as she will be able to give you real insight into what worked and what didn't

mistlethrush Tue 08-Jan-13 12:20:25

Fibee - commission side - what would you do if told, I can give you £20 for it now, or you can leave it here and if it sells in 6 weeks, you can have £30? That way you don't have the risk of buying it and the seller has a bigger incentive to bring you things....

fibee29 Tue 08-Jan-13 11:59:58

i understand what you mean about location. But not to sure about commission selling? i would think people are more likely to come to the shop for cash there and then. surely they could advertise it themselves on ebay, gumtree etc with little outlay. I thinking that a community/housing estate kind of area would be best for the location. shops are cheaper to rent and it would be right in the centre of my target market. somewhere you can pop in after the school run. friendly atmosphere cup of tea and some bargains. was just looking at mini soft play areas. may be some toys etc with a child safety gate next to couple of table in one corner of the shop ? I like the community notice board idea......any other ideas more than welcome! smile

lovemynathy Tue 08-Jan-13 11:37:40

Sorry for mistakes, my ipad has a mind of its own. I meant her stuff is really nice..

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