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Retail operation owner

Do you love the fashion industry and seek the challenge and freedom of working for yourself? Then you might find this article interesting.
This is an image of a display window of a Gap store.

Perhaps you dream of owning your own retail business, as many fashion students and graduates do. Maybe you love the fashion industry and seek the challenge and freedom of working for yourself.

The good news is that a great number of people open their own businesses each year. The bad news is that you must, as a store owner, do everything discussed in this week (and several other tasks as well).

What is a retail entrepreneur?

The retail entrepreneur, or store owner, is financially responsible for the company and oversees all aspects of the retail business. There are three types of business ownership: sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. A business owned by an individual is referred to as a sole proprietorship.

A partnership is owned by two or more people. In a corporation, stockholders own the company, which may be run by an individual or a group.

Before opening a business, the prospective owner or ownership group must develop a business plan, a document that details plans for the business concept and target market, location and space needs (i.e., facility or website), growth and exit strategies, sales and inventory, and financing needs, among others. Whether the prospective entrepreneur is purchasing an existing business or opening a new one, securing funding to own the business is often a critical first step.

Funders, financing sources such as banks and the Small Business Administration, require a well-written business plan that justifies financing because of a good potential for profit, minimal risk, and long-range potential.
Once the business loan is approved and after a location is secured, the owner often attends to the merchandise selection for the business by identifying the trends customers will want and then buying, or overseeing the buying, of the merchandise that fits the target market.
The retail owner is responsible for developing a budget for seasonal purchases to make certain that the company’s finances are not overextended. Once merchandise is received, the store owner and employees inventory, price, tag the merchandise and place it on the sales floor. The entrepreneur or an employee will take on the responsibility of creating and installing window and in-store displays (see image below).
Straightening the inventory, cleaning the store, and restocking fixtures and shelves are all tasks the entrepreneur handles personally or assigns to employees.
Figure Caption: The retail entrepreneur often trains an employee to create and install window and in-store displays.

A retail entrepreneur often locates, hires, trains, motivates, and evaluates all employees. In a small business, the entrepreneur is a one-person human resources department. Scheduling employees to meet the needs of fluctuating customer traffic and fit within the payroll budget is often a challenge for small business entrepreneurs. In many small operations, the customer prefers to work with the entrepreneur, valuing the personal attention and expertise.

Rather than leaving it to employees, the retail entrepreneur often functions as a customer service manager, handling customer returns, exchanges, and complaints.

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Careers in Fashion: Retail Marketing, Merchandising, and Management

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