Hardly would you come across anyone who does not have a footwear on, when on the streets. This only goes to show that the percentage of people who wear shoes are really much. You too may want to cash in on this by starting a shoe making crafts business.
However, care has to be taken, so that you learn all the ropes and not be found wanting. You may consider enrolling in a crafts school, where all the rudiments of this trade will be taught. Once you are good to go, then you can begin to plug in and enjoy the goodies the industry has to offer.
Why Start a Shoe Line?
Shoes are a major fashion component, and no dressing is complete without the shoes. There is a global market for shoes, which means there are large opportunities for those who want to go into shoe manufacturing, designing, or retailing. In wanting to become an entrepreneur in this field, you will need to carry out a market research to identify your potential customers and target market, make a decision as to whether your brand will include shoes for both gender, and the type of shoes that will be offered.
The type of shoes and the quality you intend to go into will determine your target market. If your target market is a high end clientele, then more emphasis will be laid on the quality of the shoes as against the quantity. And if your clients are low classed, more emphasis will be laid on quantity over quality. Shoes are sold in a number of stores and venues, including family shoe store, specialty shoe stores, department and discount stores and vendor-owned outlets, and you would have to decide which type of shoe stores you would want your shoes to be in so as to be close to your target market.
List of Niche Ideas Within the Shoe Line Industry
There are different niche ideas within the shoe line industry, and while certain aspects in the shoe line might be different amongst shoe companies, the basic aim of providing cover for the feet is the same, and some even go as far as offering other services that would give them an edge over their colleagues in the same industry.
Some area of specialization in the shoe industry includes;
- General shoe design
- Specialty shoe design
- Shoe manufacturing
- Shoe distribution, shoe retailing, and other such related area of specialization.
The sub niches can be based on customer groups or distinguishing characteristics, specific age grades, male, cross-trainer or tennis player, female, athlete, adventurist or hiker. While entrepreneurs starting on a small scale might choose one area to specialize in, those starting on a medium or large scale, might choose to go into two or more areas of specialization.
Before starting up a shoe line business, you must carry out a thorough research of the industry, and be certain of several factors such as the location you intend to send your shoes to, or sell from yourself. Recently, there has been a downturn in the economy, and this has had an adverse effect on the demand for shoes; with only specialty shoes like that for athletes, and teenagers, not being affected.
This means that the demand for shoes is dependent on the per capita disposable income, and more growth will be expected as the economy picks off again. The growth of the economy will not only boost demand, but commercial expansion as well, allowing more shoe entrepreneurs entering into the market, to carve out a niche for themselves.
It is necessary to note that even if shoes are essential, people will not buy more if they are not disposed to doing so, especially as most people own more one pair of shoes. An average person owns at least two pairs of footwear, while others might own more than ten. A bad economy will just have people owning less than they usually do.
The overhead cost for an entrepreneur seeking to start a small scale shoe line might have less difference than a medium or large scale business, especially for those that want to manufacture themselves.
Is the Shoe Line Business Worth Starting from Scratch or is Buying a Franchise Better?
Investing in any business either a start up or franchise is risky, as nothing is a guarantee. Also, while it might seem like this business works better with franchising, entrepreneurs who want to start on their own can do so as well. Footwear franchising is flexible and versatile for those that are willing to buy into the franchise opportunity. It affords the entrepreneur the opportunity to be in different types of stores, and locations.
Those who wish to start up on their own without going into a franchise can get their own share of the market by focusing on a proven shoe category generally or more specifically on the niche of high performance sports shoes, and sell in a section of a shoe retail outlet. Starting on your own might mean making mistakes, but they will guarantee you a better experience.
Starting a Shoe Line Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies for a Shoe Line Business
In marketing your shoe line business, you should be aware of the enormous competition from brand names, especially the ones that are status symbols, as customers prefer brands they know to that which they do not know. However, an entrepreneur with creativity, business sense, and style, will not be too bothered about the big sharks, especially as he or she knows the value they are bringing to the marketplace.
In marketing your shoes, you should leverage on all available sources to get business deals. For those that will be running a medium and large scale business, even those on a small scale business, they must ensure that they bid for contracts from schools, hospitals as well as government agencies, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
What will make you noticed are your innovations, your marketing has to be based on the innovations your shoe is bringing to the marketplace.
Below are some tips that will help you effectively market your shoe line business:
- Introducing your business by sending introductory letters alongside your images of your shoes, and why they are different from others in the same line to stake holders in the shoe distributor and retailers, government institutions, fashion shows, or sporting agencies.
- Promptness in bidding for contracts, as well as delivery reliability.
- Advertising your business in relevant fashion magazines, local newspapers, television, and radios.
- Listing your business on local directories and yellow pages
- Attending conferences, seminars, fashion and business fairs relating to shoes
- Creating different packages for different category of clients whilst still delivering quality shoes for them.
- Leveraging on the internet especially the social media to promote your business
- Direct marketing
- Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Sponsoring shows that will boost your brand image, and create more awareness for your company.