HOW TO START A LEATHER BUSINESS
The world is becoming a fancier place and we have designs and materials that enhance the beauty of it. Leather is one such material that is being used since our prehistoric times for clothing and shelter and still hasn’t lost its charm in the 21st Century in the global market. Now, we have several varieties of products in different designs and are made by different techniques that are sold for a huge amount in the market. The leather industry is the manufacturing sector producing a broad range of goods such as leather footwear, leather bags, leather garments, and so on. The raw material used in the leather industry is derived from the waste product of the food industry, specifically from meat processing. In India, Leather Industry employs over 4.4 million people who work relentlessly making India the 2nd largest producer of footwear, 2nd largest exporter of Leather Garments, the 5th largest exporter of Leather Goods, and 3rd Largest Exporter of Saddlery and Harness items. Kanpur is called ‘Leather City’ for it has multiple leather and tannery factories spread across the city.
But the Leather industry is not limited to just manufacturing of the products, it also includes selling them and it opens up a gateway to many people who are interested to start their own business.
Let’s have a look at how you can start a leather business
Create a Plan
Decide what will be your reach. If you want just an offline store or want to accompany it with an online site? Make a plan for what is going to be the size of your business at first. The growth will only follow if you thrive in the market and needs investment and time as you can’t expect that all your products will be sold in a day. There will be days when you sell no leather items or on others, you may sell plenty of them. One should always be ready for bad days.
Decide on products
There is an array of products that are available in the market and the range is huge! You have to first decide what are the products you want to sell. Leather is used in a variety of products be it clothing, bags, shoes, wallets, etc.. Leather business also attends services such as making artifacts and showpieces. The leather store business will expand and the list can always increase but decide first what is your introductory range and how influential it is for the local public and will it get enough attention.
Understand the Market
To start any business, you must know how the market works around it. What other leather businesses are present and what is their specialization? This research will help you understand the market size, strata, variety, and help you build a vision for your Leather business. You can also classify and have a decided niche for the leather items available with you. This way you can be more focused and the knitted to your business. Understand the leather business along with being a market of huge investment and profit, it is also a cultural hub.
This is amongst the first things to do. The clothing business demands a lot of equipment and raw material so the cost of setting this business is high. It will require a principal investment. Get yourself sponsors who are willing to support a local business and have your back.
Rent or Buy a Shop in Good Location ]
Nowadays a lot of people are shifting to online mode for buying leather items as there are multiple options available. Keeping that in mind, starting your leather items shop business in a familiar locality where people know you would work the best. The online purchase doesn’t feel familiar to a lot of people and so your shop can be a good option for them as they know you and would expect a certain level of compassion and help from your end. Set up your shop which is in a busy market that has good footfall.
Highlight and Infrastructure
The infrastructure of a leather store is pretty basic. You’ll need a counter, shelves, and drawers to showcase and put your leather items. Along with basic lighting, use extra lights such as LEDs and fairy lights in each compartment. It will work as decorative and will also make your shop look bigger given that it is such a small space. The placement of leather items should be categorical and systematic. You will have to research what are the demands of your customers while they look for such items and so that you can recommend them wisely as to what quality and range they can buy. You can also put chairs or couch for your customers for their comfort. It will make your small place a bit fancier.
License and Permit
To set up any shop in India you need to take certain permits such as a Business License, Resale Certificate, Business Name Registration or DBA Certificate, Certificate of Occupancy, Federal Tax ID, etc. Make sure you have done your homework and have finished all the paperwork beforehand and have kept them handy and be ready to take rounds to government offices before setting up.
Setting up any store business requires a strong local connection and communication so that the business can propagate but with the rise in the use of e-commerce, things have become a lot easier. Make a website for your Leather business and set delivery boundaries according to yourself. Arrange your products in different categories and use various models and tools which are available online to make your website catchier and more attractive.
Social Media presence and Marketing
Social Media is used by almost everyone around the globe. It is almost certain that at least one person in a household must be using any social media platform. Putting up pages on Facebook and Instagram and asking youth in the locality to share it amongst friends, developing a strong SEO, and investing in marketing offline can bring great audience attraction to your leather business. Putting up ads with discounts and amazing offers are always a plus. Along with online, spending on offline methods to propagate business is necessary. Go old school and hand our pamphlet whenever a customer arrives. Since you have an offline store and most customers will save your number for future reference, you can invest in WhatsApp Business and use its marketing tools to propagate your business. It is convenient to use and digitally provides a personal touch as the medium is one to one messaging which has become one of the best provisions of converting prospects to customers. Remember to greet them nicely and make them feel important.
Starting any business takes a good amount of planning. If you want your new business to succeed, understand the risks that come with entrepreneurship. It often takes a few years to get a business off the ground even with the best-laid business plan and advanced marketing. To open any business, one should be ready to work hard and show a lot of perseverance and determination. Any business will have good and bad days but it depends on the owner how they want to go about it. All the best!