Startup Costs: $10,000 - $50,000
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No
Heading into the new millennium, specialization is the buzzword for retail 'bricks and mortar' businesses, and opening a lingerie shop fits the bill perfectly. Get started by selecting a highly visible store location for your business. Malls and strip malls are a good choice (though you'll want to make sure there's no "big name" competitors) and you will only require less than 1,000 square feet, so the rent should be reasonable. Next you will want to establish accounts with lingerie manufacturers and distributors. Harness the power of the Internet to locate these companies. The rest is pretty straightforward; you stock your store and sell your products. In addition to selling lingerie from the storefront location, also consider hiring sales consultants to host in-home lingerie parties as a way to bolster sales and profits. A direct mail campaign and mail-order catalog can also be used to increase revenues. You can also specialize by stocking hard-to-find plus sizes, maternity lingerie and specialty items.
Your customers are women looking for lingerie and men looking to buy their wives and girlfriends lingerie. (Though don't leave the men out--you can also stock silk boxers and similar items.)