Taking over a 2nd hand baby shop; what do i need to know?(9 Posts)
My mum & I are thinking about taking over a 2nd hand baby/toddler shop in the Indoor Market in our town. It's a small seaside town, very popular with holiday makers, and our selection of shops is just crap. Apart from a tiny Peacocks who have a rubbish kids section, and a ToyMaster, there is nothing selling childrens items.
It's been there for 5 years, and is doing really well. The current owners are coming over to talk us through the accounts etc next week, and have told us that we've got first refusal!
My mum's owned a 2nd hand baby shop before, but she ran that as an agency, which we don't want to do this time. They have a storage facility full of things waiting to be sold so we wouldn't need to worry about stock at first. At the moment they sell second hand clothes, toys, books, etc and they also sell some brand new toys, pushchairs etc.
I've always wanted to have a children's shop, but have seen myself selling brand new products, but i know that in the town we're in, things like that just won't sell, as people can't afford it! This has come as such a surprise, my mum & i were joking about it, and then we were like "actually, why not!?" My mum has a fairly large pot of money, so finances aren't too much of an issue to start off with.
Do i need to do market research, and see what people would prefer to see in the shop? It's been doing so well, so i don't know if it's a good to to try and change things? We'd keep the name i think as they've got a good customer/supplier base in other towns.
I've done a Business NVQ, so have a rough idea of what i'm talking about. I'm going to have to dig out my books to brush up on i though. I'm also completely crap when it comes to accounts/maths so i'm going to try and teach myself!
It kind of feels a bit to good to be true, so i need some MN'ers to bring me down back to earth!
Are you buying the business or just the shop ? The vendors may not want you to keep the name if they have other interests. Will they let you have any paperwork so you can see what sells. What are fast sellers and what sits in stock. Also how profitable is it overall and what lines achieve the greatest mark up. Allocate shop space according to sales/profitability - no point in rows of books if it is baby clothes that sell and achieve greater profit margins. What legislation about H & S do you need to be aware of.
Where will you get stock? Our local second hand baby shop sells good quality things on for you and you get a % - a lot easier (but obviously less lucrative) than eBay, and gets people in the door.
Apart from that I would say clean shop, friendly attitude, clear pricing, sensible pricing ie Primark clothes pennies, JL/Boden sensible pricing. Buggies particularly need to be realistically priced by brand etc. Trying to keep up a good stock so people who are looking for a specific item (within reason, eg a buggy board) can always find one.
We use our local second hand baby shop loads - it's our first port of call for pretty much everything.
Alongside restaurants, children's clothes shops are the businesses most likely to fail. Although you say this shop has a monopoly - so why are they selling up? Tesco planning permission in the pipeline?
Call me a cynic if you will.
I'll get lynched for saying this but, the ugg clad feet pushing the stokke prams in my town get pushed back to the council estates. So don't go thinking it won't sell just because nobody's tried before!
Thanks for your replies. Cynicism is good Dolomites, i know it's not going to be easy!
We're going to be buying the business, so the vendors should be happy with that, although i will of course check. They're going to bring all of their accounts and paperwork etc, so we can have a good look at what works and what doesn't. And i hadn't thought of Health and Safety, so will look into that. We only spoke to the current owners yesterday, so it's all a bit sudden!
They don't sell things on for people, but they buy things off of people, and then sell them on. I've used them in the past to get rid of stuff, and it's been great. The whole shop is a bit like an Aladdin's cave, so we'd want to get it all out, and start over again, freshening it all up.
There was another Children's shop on our High street, and it failed spectacularly. It was an awful shop, full of over priced, cheap tat and they had fishing rods and stuff for sale in the window. Definitely not what we'll be doing!
As we're a seaside town, we want people to be able to come in with children head to toe in sand, mud and water, and for them to be able to fully clothe them with things from our shop.
What will you be buying... The existing stock (which you have to store somewhere), the current storage facility (is that theirs to sell, do you want it?), the market stall (or is that provided bynthe market organisers), the market pitch (is that theirs to sell on, or is it up to the market organisers who takes over a pitch when one trader moves out), the trading name, goodwill.
Think profits, what sells what does not and what is the markup. How will you get more stock? Why are they selling the business?
Lots of things to consider. A business is a risk, so if you want to do it and can take the risk, then give it a go.
Be prepared for the fact that people will bring in absolute crap and filthy things wanting you to buy them - it can be quite revolting. You really need to wash everything that comes in & iron quite a bit, it's fairly time consuming.
Also, be careful not to only stock things you like/you would buy. Some of the most
horrible surprising things sell
Have a rack (or 6) of new things too, if you can get them at a reasonable price, especially things like babies vests (button under) and childrens underwear/swimsuits/hats.
People really don't want to pay much for babies/children's clothes second hand - especially when you can get job lots of eBay for next to nothing, BUT you do have the advantage of a lot of seasiders who might need that urgent change of clothes - but I'm not sure it's a big enough trade to really keep you going.
It might seem successful - but beware of people who like to do these things for a hobby and don't mind making £2.50 for an entire mornings work!
I hope it works out for you - but keep your eyes open.
There was one of these shops round the corner from us. It went bust within a year. The stock did not change fast enough and was often out of season eg snow suits in July. Plus there are loads of charity shops around- seven on our high street- and a very active NCT with monthly baby sales. Do consider the competition and how you will keep your stock very regularly changing. It was a pity I think that it went bust but their business model was all wrong- stuff priced high with low stock turnover and undercut by the competition.
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