Thoughts needed...nearly new and handmade children's wear/equipment shop

(14 Posts)
ediblewoman Mon 02-Jun-14 19:42:23

My work are currently offering voluntary redundancy and my youngest starts school in September. I have been mulling over the idea of opening a good quality nearly new children's clothes (Mini Boden, White Company, Joules etc etc) and equipment shop, (Bugaboo, Baby Bjorne) also selling a small selection of beautifully made children's clothes (think Debbie Bliss).

I would arrange it on the same lines as a local dress exchange, so cash up front or vouchers for a bit more. I'd fit out carefully to make it look like nice, a bit like a White Company shop (also cheap to do - lots of off white and pale grey woodwork).

The area I live in is currently very much on the up but shops remain cheap. My DH runs his own established business and would be supportive/do additional pick ups etc to minimise my need for staff.

Does this seem a) like a shop you might like/use?
b) viable?

My redundancy package would pay all set up and running costs for six months. (After a lot of research running costs would be £1,500 PCM including staffing for two Saturdays and a day a week). We can manage without my income but I'd like to replace it within 18months so would like to be clearing £2,400 PCM then to cover running costs and a wage.

BikeRunSki Mon 02-Jun-14 19:53:29

There were two shops nearish my mum that did this. Togs in Sherborne, Dorset and another, I've forgotten it's name, in Castle Cary, Somerset. Both in pretty affluent areas, but both have closed in the last year or so. I don't know what this means got your start up idea though!
Shame, because I loved those shops! Almost made the 250 mile drive worth it.

whereisshe Mon 02-Jun-14 20:05:41

Whether I would use it or not would depend on the prices and the quality of the merchandise. As a lot of this type of thing is readily available on eBay it would need to be very well curated and competitively priced to be worth it.

Where would you get the stock? And what kind of margins would you aim for? It seems like it would be hard to make a lot of money unless you have a good source (not widely available to others) of stock at really low prices.

ediblewoman Mon 02-Jun-14 20:14:11

Oh BikeRunSki that doesn't sound good does it!

Where is She, I'd be taking from people who were bringing stuff to me. I wouldn't be trying to beat EBay prices but would want the convenience/guarantee of return and quality to outweigh the lower gain to people bringing stuff to me/slightly higher prices for people buying

whereisshe Mon 02-Jun-14 20:23:20

You might want to watch some bnwt auctions on eBay to see what new secondhand baby clothes go for, it's quite a competitive market. I like the idea though.

Poosnu Mon 02-Jun-14 20:24:35

I would use it if the price was the same or cheaper than ebay / gumtree. Also, when buying big ticket baby things I tend to do some research and be quite specific as to what I want; you would need to have quite a wide variety of stock to make it appealing.

Likewise, I would be unlikely to bring stuff to you unless you offered the same or only slightly cheaper prices than what could be obtained on gumtree. For some larger items it might be easier to sell on gumtree as buyers pick up. This might vary between areas though; gumtree is very well used where I am.

There might also be fairly high costs and time involved in repairing / cleaning items for sale; some larger items are generally well used and could be sold on gumtree without making perfect knowing that the buyer would do this.

I think you would need a really high turnover / high profit margins to make a profit. You know your area best though.

Sorry if this sounds negative. I think it's great that you are thinking about starting your own business. It's something I would love to do.

BikeRunSki Mon 02-Jun-14 20:41:03

The shops I mentioned edible are in Somerset (Castle Cary) and Dorset (Sherborne).

Snog Mon 02-Jun-14 21:01:27

If you want to make £100 per day that is 20 items with a £5 profit on.
I love second hand shops but lots of folk won't buy second hand or if they do will use car boot sales/nct sales/charity shops/ebay/facebook/hand me downs.
If you want to buy new then supermarket kids clothes are affordable and nice.
Unfortunately I think you might have missed the boat on this kind of business as it is so easy to get hold of nice kids clothes in so many other ways now. All the 2nd hand shops in my area have closed. However your location might be different to mine?

bouncinbean Mon 02-Jun-14 21:03:12

Sounds good in principle but then the nitpicky part of me starts undoing it.

A stock plan that is people will bring me items is a bit wishy washy - you need lots to open the venture and the chances are that it will be a long time before you can rely on a regular enough supply just from the general public - so where will you get your start up and first year stock.

Your pricing - will it be second hand 'luxury' brands at what high street next/m&s prices or supermarket prices? Is your target customer really going to spend that much when they can get new at the same price. Most mums I know think kids clothes need to be cheap and disposable because they get ruined. And if they need something nice for a special occasion then thats when they are prepared to pay for new.

It feels a little bit like you have an image in your head and are looking to see if there is a demand for that image, whereas profitable businesses usually identify a demand and would then build a brand/image to fit that. There's a big difference between mums idly chatting that they'd love to buy �20 boden dresses second hand for �8-10 when in reality they wouldn't spend that kind of money on second hand.

Your main competition is ebay but you think people will pay a premium over ebay because your shop is so nice. But what about the anonymity? I happily buy second hand and no one knows and I don't advertise it. Not sure I would want to pay more and potentially be seen to be buying second hand - however pretty the shop looks.

I don't want to dampen your idea, but it needs a lot of work and mainly on really knowing your market and being realistic about the demand in the first place. That should guide you towards volumes and prices - only then will you know if thats going to achieve the turnover you need. Can you test the market before you chuck all your money into it. Can you do a professional stall at the baby/nearly new/NCT type sales or even a car boot and get hard cash evidence rather than anecdotal chat from other mums?

bouncinbean Mon 02-Jun-14 21:08:04

p.s. our local car boot is massive and not just the usual junk sellers and has some pretty professional looking stalls - but I have never seen 'luxury' second hand baby clothes and that would interest me, because most of the time its a horrible basket to root through (and ends up only being supermarket stuff)
I've only ever bought baby clothes once - and that was a lady that had spent time clear bagging up the clothes on hangers and presenting them beautifully.

BikeRunSki Mon 02-Jun-14 21:12:47

Say a Boden l/s toddler tee costs £10. Sell it for half price - £5; keep half - £2.50.

You'd have to do that nearly 1000 times a month to break even.

ediblewoman Tue 03-Jun-14 08:30:24

Thanks everyone, that is really helpful. I have thought about stock for the first six months (and factored that into start up costs) and done some light market research but can see there is a lot more to do/think about!

zulubump Wed 04-Jun-14 10:19:57

There is a shop I go to a lot called Little Used that sells second hand, good quality children's clothes, toys and some ladies' clothes too. I often take clothes in there to sell as well. The system they have is that they take the clothes from you that they want to sell (they are quite choosy and often give back any they don't think are suitable) and provide you with an itemised receipt showing what price they are selling each item for. Each item that sells I would get 40% and they keep 60%. If it hasn't sold after a time (something like 3 months say) they reduce the price and I think if it doesn't sell eventually then things go on to charity. And I have to pop in now and again to find out what has sold and to collect any money they owe me.

The shop has been there a long time and always seems to be busy. It seems like a good way of doing business because they don't actually have to pay anything for most the stock, it is brought to them by mums like me. And then they only have to pay us for it once it is sold. Though I think they buy up some new stock - end of line things like wellies, baby change mats etc. Hope that helps, good luck!

zulubump Wed 04-Jun-14 10:22:43

Oh and they require that any items being brought to them to be sold have to be freshly washed and ironed, so they don't have to do any of the work getting them ready sell. They don't sell supermarket brands or anything like primark. It's mostly M&S, Next, Boden, Monsoon and designer stuff. That type of thing.

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