4 Things to Consider Before Renting a Retail Space
These days, it has become a lot easier to set up your own retail shop – at least in terms of logistics. Taking all the necessary steps toward registering as an official company, working out a deal with the best delivery services and finding the right wholesalers for fabrics, yarns, buttons and other pieces necessary to create new looks, can be challenging and it is most certainly going to take some time. Setting up the actual shop, however, has never been easier – if you’re choosing to keep your shopfront online, that is.
If you’re looking to make the jump from being a strictly online seller to owning your own brick-and-mortar retail space, things can get a little trickier. Not only is it a big investment – whether you’re looking to rent or buy – with extra overhead costs to consider, it also takes a lot of careful consideration and planning to ensure you are opting for the right retail space.
Let’s take a look at the most important pointers to look out for when searching for a retail space that will make the perfect home for your shop.
Set Your Budget
Don’t drag yourself through the heartache of scheduling viewings with properties that turn your pupils into little heart-shapes without discussing the asking price upfront – you’ll only be setting yourself up for disappointment. If you don’t specify your budget with your chosen realtor, they are bound to show you all the most luxurious properties in the hopes of making a fantastic sale/commission. Don’t waste your time – and that of the realtor’s – by viewing properties outside of your price range.
Prior to beginning your search, start by setting yourself a monthly budget. This, of course, includes much more than your monthly rent or mortgage. You also need to include property taxes and insurance, utilities and possible CAM (common area maintenance) in your budget to ensure these can be covered monthly without issue. Once you have calculated these costs and have determined your budget, communicate them to your realtor so they can schedule the appropriate viewings for you.
Think About Your Ideal Lay-Out
Before you start looking into locations and spaces, it’s best to have a strong idea of what you want the lay-out of your retail shop to look like. Shopping should be an exciting and inviting experience. Customers should have space to move and explore comfortably, without having to squeeze past narrow passageways between racks overfilling with clothes. The space should allow you to display your products in an eye-catching manner, and clothing items should be arranged in an overseeable manner that allow for quick, first impressions.
Sketch up your ideal lay-out on a piece of paper or use a design program such as Sweet Home to play around with different ideas until you find the one that would best work for your shop’s concept. This will help you go about your retail property search in a targeted manner as you will be able to establish exactly what it is you’re looking for from the space from the very get-go. If you’re looking for an open-floor concept, for example, a space with various separation walls is not going to do it for you. The best way to go about a property search is with a clear idea and a vision in mind!
Location, Location, Location!
Needless to say, one of the most important things to consider when looking for a retail space for your burgeoning fashion business, is the location. You’re going to want to be situated somewhere with a lot of foot-traffic such as a pedestrian zone, the city center or even a mall with great parking options and visibility. Potential customers should be able to spot your shopfront from a distance and feel drawn to visit it.
As is true for most commercial and private properties, the better the location, the steeper the rental or buying price. But there are always little strikes of luck to be found at a good price, you just need to be patient and persistent, and have a talented realtor by your side to guide you. If you’re on an extremely tight budget, you might even consider joining a shared workspace and setting up a pop-up shop prior to committing to your own space. This will save you costs whilst allowing you to join an established space that has already garnered a following.
Hire Furniture & Equipment or Shop Second-Hand
Unless you’ve been hoarding furniture, office equipment and décor pieces your whole life in preparation for this very moment – the opening of your own retail shop! – you’re going to need a lot of bits and pieces to furnish your new space with. We all have our vision of what our dream shop space will look like, but we advise you to start small and bit by bit – don’t blow your savings on customized furniture and upholsteries to match your brand’s colour palette, or spring for a brand new iMac.
Instead, start by hiring these items until you’ve made enough profit to set aside some money for your own pieces and office equipment. There are many companies who lease out anything from computers and industrial sized printers, to furniture and electro-domestic equipment. And while you may not be able to adhere to your own style preferences at first, you’ll be able to save up the cash needed to do so in future.
Another option is to shop second-hand. Charity shops, estate sales and flea markets are a treasure trove of unusual furniture pieces, décor items and even office equipment. Joining local buy & sell sites on Facebook is always a good bet – you never know what might pop up on your timeline. And the best part about these social media groups, is that they are location specific, so you won’t have to worry about travelling too far to pick up that vintage desk or mirror you’ve got your eyes on.