Starting a Pet Clothing Store

America is a pet loving country. In fact, statistics from Entrepreneur.com show that in 2004, a total of $34.5 billion is spent by pet owners.

And, in a further research conducted by Report Buyer, a marketing research firm, the figures are projected to skyrocket to about $43 billion in 2011.

There is no denying that the pet industry is one to invest with. One segment of which is the pet accessories and clothing. However, competition is cut throat in the pet clothing and accessories industry. Your success lies within your skills and ability to identify a sector and how you plan to keep up with retail competitors such as Target and Pet Smart.

Starting a pet clothing store begins with a business plan. Conduct a research regarding all existing stores in your area and which pet industry segment has not been covered. Decide whether you will operate an online store or a physical one. With an online store, there will be little operating cost. Then again, there might be bigger competition. However, unless you have a clear picture of the pet clothing and accessories demand in your area, it is wise that you start with an online store. Once you have become familiar with the in’s and out’s of your market, then, maybe you can open a physical store.

Check your market if you plan to open a physical store. You can interview pet owners in doggie day cares, dog boarding kennels and dog parks. You have to think of something that will make you outstanding. You have to offer products that will make a mark a difference against popular pet accessories and clothing retailers. You have to get a hint of what these pet owners want or would be interested in purchasing. You can also check on websites that provide reports on pet grooming and its market.

Think of an easy-to-remember and appealing name for your store. If you choose to start an online store, find an e-commerce site for your website hosting. You can choose among these sites: 1) Volusion.com (web hosting for at least $19.95, inclusive of a domain name and shopping cart); 2) Corecommerce.com (for as low as $29.95); and 3) GoDaddy.com (web hosting fee starting at $4.99). For the first two sites, package includes a business email addresses, website templates, marketing and accounting tools, various payment methods such as PayPal, Google Checkout and major credit cards. These also allow a 30-day trial for free.

Provide your online pet clothing accessories with product images, descriptions as well as an About Me page which will include your brief biography and description of your business. You can also create a page for Shipping and Returns and also one for Privacy Notice that will tell your clients regarding the use and confidentiality of the personal information they submit to your site.

For a physical store, decide on how big you plan to build it. For a mall space, approximately at least 700 square feet may be needed which may include your stock room and office. Your back or stock room should be spacious enough to accommodate all your stocks and inventory. You must also have a show room where mannequins may be displayed. As start-up, you may need at least two cash registers.

You can purchase your pet clothing and accessories wholesale from Dogsmartway.com and Doggiedesigner.net. To assure that your pet clothing store stands out from other stores, you may also consider designing and making your own pet clothing. You can get ideas from the mentioned sites. Also, you can also make use of customer surveys to find out what they need.

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