Starting a Retail Business

Packshot on 21/05/2013

With the client base that we’ve built up through our product photography, we thought that it might be useful to get some tips from the people we’ve worked with on starting and growing a retail business. So we approached Luiz Costa, entrepreneur and founder of the 8k specialist clothing brand, with a few questions. As you can see, a good deal of the work is in finding the right combinations of simple elements…

What, in your view, are the top three most crucial skills for entering the retail industry?
“Good design, affordable pricing and reasonable quality are very significant elements.”

How much of a priority should the online side of a retail business be? 
“The current stats are clear. Online retail sales continue to grow worldwide while traditional store sales continue to shrink.”

Nurturing a new business obviously requires a good deal of discipline. What would be your advice on maintaining that skill?
“A commitment to dedication and passion are fundamental to any business. As long as you love what you do, you are likely to always find the extra energy and discipline to develop your business.”

How important is it to find a niche in retail nowadays? Has it become more vital in recent years?
“With any overcrowded marketplace, looking for segments with fewer competitors is critical, and more than ever exploring a niche is a valid solution.”

Setting up a new business, in any industry, is a time-consuming and often exhausting venture. What would be your advice for effective time management?
“Selecting your partners and suppliers carefully can make life a great deal easier when setting up a new business. In our case, to manage things effectively, we have opted to establish ourselves in an effective and pragmatic jurisdiction (the UK), where the level of “can-do-attitude” among workers is traditionally high and there are good choices of high quality professionals available to support the process.”

How important is location in setting up a business?
“In today’s world the location for online retail should not be too important. However, logistics, efficiency, infrastructure and reputation are important elements that still need to be taken into consideration when selecting a business location. So it can still count for a lot.”

Given how quickly other businesses follow successful entrepreneurs, how important is it to keep thinking ahead in retail?
“Innovation is critical. The whole industry is a quick changing environment and you need to work to be always ahead of the game. Products need to be innovative and affordable and you have to constantly look for an edge.”

Do you have any advice for beginners on managing finances?
“I believe that not being afraid of taking risks is very important when it comes to managing resources. It’s equally important, though, to be conscious of your steps and to be sure of your priorities. Developing one or two products to a high standard before launching a whole collection can be a wise way to manage limited resources.”

And finally, how important is strong product photography in retail? 
“It’s of paramount importance. High quality photography, good production and suitable models are crucial. It’s vital that the public have a positive perception of a brand and its products, and good photography is a big part of that.”

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