Chapter 4: What will you sell?
Now you have your perfect location. Now you have to ask yourself, "What am I going to sell?" It's interesting because in the beginning a lot of new store owners will come to us with a concept and an idea, but once you've become comfortable being a retailer, you're going to become a merchant. That means that when you find the perfect location, you'll know what kind of products to put in it.
For now, I want you to ask yourself three questions. The first thing is what's the need in my area? Just because everybody'selling shoes or everybody's selling children's clothes, it's usually not a good idea to do more of the same. It's nice to find what complements the area. I'll give you a perfect example too. If nothing exists like that in your idea, there's a reason why.
A couple of years ago a store owner came to us and said she had a very cute little boutique, doggy boutique, and it was at the height when Paris Hilton was carrying around Tinkerbell and everybody was dressing them up and all kinds of stuff, and she had a really cute set-up and she had a really cute groomer but she wasn't making any sales. The minute that she told me her location, I understood why. She was next to a 10-blocks building complex in New York City that doesn't allow pets. That's why there were no pet stores in her area. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes it's not so obvious.
The next thing is can you supply the need? Now, a lot of vendors, a lot of the big brands, they might have minimums, opening orders of $10,000 or more. Some of them might have exclusives already in the area meaning that they already sell a couple of retailers and they don't want to over-saturate the brand so they might not be willing to sell to you.
The third question you have to ask yourself is can I make money selling this product? A lot of times people will get excited, they'll go to Thailand, they'll see all this great furniture. They'll go to Bali and see all these great wraps and paredes and bathing suits and they want to import them to the country, but they don't realize what the true landed cost is and by that time you might not be able to be competitive.
The bottom line is you have to figure out if you can make money, if it's a product that's unique enough in your area and if you can actually supply it.