Thursday, 3 March 2016


I had an idea to open a Dress Agency from my home and did a lot of research into what was available in my area.  Getting a business plan is something you should consider before starting up your agency. A concise and clear business plan is important to your success and easily available online. Insurance for your stock is another important factor before you open your door to the general public.

Before we moved to the East Midlands I had worked in a friends Boutique and had made quite a few contacts through it so I decided to get in touch with everyone I knew to see if they had any clothes they would like me to sell for them.

I decided right from the beginning that I only wanted to sell good quality affordable clean 'pre-loved' designer labels to high end High Street brands. Every stock item I had was handpicked by me, assuring all my clothes and accessories were pristine and high quality.

We then converted a beautifully designed room downstairs into my Dress Agency Boutique with heavy duty rails around the room and two large full length mirrors. I offered a personalized, professional and friendly customer service.

I put a small business card size advert in my local newsletter and had an opening night which was an invitation only event. The opening night as a great success and I soon realized that I needed more stock so I put another advert in the local newsletter for good quality 2nd hand clothes.

It wasn't long before the business took off and I gradually had a regular clientele who loved certain designers and the minute I had any in would come straight round to try them on. I am quite sure that some of my customers would never have walked into a Dress Agency to look for clothes but because I ran it on an appointment only basis they became regular customers.

I just kept adding to my stock and started to include hats, bags, and accessories. I bought clear clothes covers (like you get on dry cleaning) and lovely hangers to give it the professional touch.

I also held a number of fashion shows for local charities which were always a roaring success, and gave me free publicity. Commission rates seem to work on a 50/50 basis but I was happy with 60/40 as my overheads were so low. Good quality second hand clothing will always sell well and your seller will keep supplying you with the clothes if they get a good return on them. With so many charity shops also selling good quality clothes nowadays you should never run out of stock.

Only hold your stock for a certain amount of time and have it written down on your terms and conditions. This should include that the seller must pick up unsold items by the date specified . If you don't put this in your conditions, you could end up with a lot of dead stock that is just filling your rails.

Secrets Dress Agency based in Weybridge has the most amazing website to inspire anyone to buy second hand designer wear and accessories. Another one I found called The Dress Agency  also has a very appealing website. You can certainly come up with a great name and website design just by browsing the internet.

You could have an eBay site and a Facebook page which opens your doors to so many more potential customers. I also researched nice quality buttons to sell as these were something that could update/alter any cardigan/jacket or coat.

Designer dress agencies are currently enjoying renewed popularity, both with label fans and those looking to buy quality pieces that won't be found on the high street. Vintage designer wear is also very fashionable with the younger generation.

There is a Dress Agency Directory online for you to easily research if there are any in your area. Listing your Dress Agency in this directory is completely FREE.

Finally, like with any new business, you must let the tax man know you are setting up your own business and keep your book keeping up to date.

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