Are you passionate about shoes and dreaming of creating your own shoe business?
The task can be daunting, especially when considering all the factors that can affect its success.
There are permits, equipment costs, marketing, and much more to plan that can feel overwhelming.
Not to mention, the competition in the fashion industry as a whole and the shoe business, in particular, can be fierce.
Luckily, with the right strategy and execution, you can join this competition and even come out on top!
Today’s guide will teach you how to start a shoes business from scratch and what you’ll face.
- How Profitable Is a Shoe Business?
- What You’ll Need to Start a Shoes Business [& Associated Costs]
- Do I Need a License or Certificates to Start a Shoes Business?
- Why You Should Consider Starting a Shoes Business as a Side Hustle?
- How To Start a Shoes Business in 6 Simple Steps
- Things to Consider When Building a Shoes Business
- INSPIRATION: Shoes Business Idea
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Similar Businesses to Consider Starting
- Wrapping Up
How Profitable Is a Shoe Business?
Owning a shoe business can be exceptionally profitable. According to IBIS World estimations, the shoe store industry will earn $38.9bn in 2023!
The average shoe store can make around $851,000 with a profit of over $127,000.That’s approximately a 15% profit margin, which isn’t terrible.
All this data fits perfectly with Glassdoor’s estimation of a store owner’s salary, which ranges from $61,000 to $193,000 annually.
We need to point out, though, these numbers aren’t guaranteed. Your profitability will depend on several factors, such as location, dedication, and how much you’ll invest now and later.
Most importantly, the competition within your chosen niche can render you unsuccessful.
What You’ll Need to Start a Shoes Business [& Associated Costs]
Building your shoe business from scratch can cost you a few thousand dollars, depending on your store’s size and the inventory you’ll need.
To begin, you’ll need the following:
- Physical Location: Choosing where to sell things can affect your business. You’ll need a spot high in traffic but not saturated with competition, which can cost around $5,000–$15,000.
- Inventory: Of course, to get a successful start, you’ll need to have some beautiful shoes to sell. This can cost around $15,000 or more.
- Licensing and Permits: Some permits can cost you only $50, while others can go up to $1000. One thing we know for sure, though, is that they won’t cost you as much as your inventory! You’ll just need around $5,000 or less.
- Marketing: To get the word out and attract customers, you need to hire a good marketing agency to help you. A good one could cost around $95–$335 hourly. You can also try marketing yourself on sites like
- Staff: Running a shoe business isn’t easy to do on your own—especially in the beginning. This means you’ll need to build in their salaries within the start-up costs, which can cost around 25,000 depending on the number of employees.
Do I Need a License or Certificates to Start a Shoes Business?
Yes, you’ll need a few licenses and certificates to start your shoe business. Some of those licenses include:
- Business License
- Sales Tax Permit
- Resale Certificate
- The Federal Employer Identification Number
- Entity Formation (there are four main types; sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company)
Why You Should Consider Starting a Shoes Business as a Side Hustle?
There are many benefits to starting a shoe business as a side hustle. These benefits include:
- Flexibility: Side-hustling a business venture you created allows you to choose your work hours. You’ll no longer be under the control of 9–5, and you can even choose to work from home if you need.
- Easy To Sell Online: Speaking of working from home, shoes are an excellent commodity to sell online without much effort. Just like selling clothes online, you can pick a market like Amazon and sell your product there—Ebay is great too.
- Being your Boss: When you’re the one making all the critical decisions, you’ll find yourself feeling more empowered and confident. Plus, you’ll be free from all the pressures of being an employee, allowing you to be more creative and innovative.
- Diversifying Your Income: Placing your eggs in one basket is never wise. That’s why tackling the shoe business as a side quest along your journey is a great idea. It’ll help you diversify your income streams and minimize possible risks.
How To Start a Shoes Business in 6 Simple Steps
While it may be overwhelming to start a shoe business, it’s not as difficult as you might think.
Here’s a quick five-step guide on how to do it:
1. Market Research
Doing your research is the first step in creating a successful shoe store. This research includes identifying your target market and outlining your customer base, its characteristics, and buying habits.
Another element you need to pay attention to is competition. First, look around and analyze what makes the competitors successful. Then, write down their strengths and weaknesses, and add how you can compensate for them.
2. Pick Your Niche
Picking a niche helps you develop your marketing strategy and attract your target audience. When it comes to the shoe industry, there are several types of shoewear that you can sell, including the following:
- Athletic shoes
- Work shoes
- Specialty shoes
- Dress shoes
- Kid shoes
- Casual Shoes
Each of these has specific features and characteristics you can toy with to attract clientele.
For example, work shoes are usually created with thick soles to offer comfort during long shifts. This is a key selling point for many workers out there.
3. Plan Your Business Model
Planning your business model means taking down every piece of data you’ve collected so far and organizing it into categories.
For starters, you need to place all the data regarding your audience’s needs and characteristics in a segment alone. This helps you move on to the next step: designing your marketing strategy.
You’ll need to put yourself in your client’s old shoes and ask yourself what would make them buy a new one!
Lastly, you need to determine what your pricing range will be like—this can help you figure out your potential profit.
4. Secure the Finances and Paperwork
Starting a business from scratch is pretty expensive, even if it’s a small one. So unless you have the proper funds, you may have to get a business loan to help you out.
As you finish the loan, you can start on the necessary permits and licenses. Thankfully, most don’t take that long and should be in your possession within a few weeks.
5. Find the Right Suppliers
There are many shoe manufacturers in the market, which makes finding the right one a challenging task. A proper shoe manufacturer, though, can help you save time and money and provide quality products.
A quicker shortcut to the right supplier is a shoe wholesaler. These organizations already know who to deal with and will help you out. Later on, you can find your perfect supplier and cut the intermediary.
6. Look For the Perfect Staff
Your staff members are the backbone of your business. Besides their responsibilities, each member represents your company and, thus, needs your proper attention.
Before you hire anyone, ensure you meet them personally and look beyond their resumes.
Start by verifying their credentials, then engage them in a conversation. You’ll hear their thought process, their approach to problems, and how they communicate.
This will help you determine whether they’re the right fit.
Things to Consider When Building a Shoes Business
Now that you know how to start a shoe business, it’s time to watch out for some essential factors, such as the following:
Can You Run a Shoe Business By Yourself?
Running a shoe business isn’t just about selling them. Success takes many skills, like management, customer service, and leadership.
If you don’t feel ready to take this step, you can always hire a manager to help you along the way.
Are You Willing to Put in the Effort?
While owning a shoe business offers you flexibility, this only happens if you put in the effort initially.
Building this business can take a lot of work and time, which can take months before stabilizing. So if you’re not ready to put in the effort, you may want to reconsider.
What’s Your Unique Selling Point?
If you feel prepared for this venture, then one of the aspects you need to consider is your USP.
What makes you different from other shoe stores selling the same product? Answering this question will help you stand out and attract customers.
INSPIRATION: Shoes Business Idea
If you need some ideas to get you started, here are some examples:
- Custom Shoe Store: Customization here doesn’t just mean the fit and medical needs of the shoe, but the style itself. Imagine being able to choose from a range of materials, colors, and patterns to create your perfect pair! It’s a great idea to attract creative customers.
- Sustainable Shoes: Selling eco-friendly shoes in beautiful, sustainable packaging can be a great way to stand out. Choosing a more sustainable path can help your shoe business attract many environmentally conscious allies!
- Art Lovers Shoes: Paintings and art, in general, have always been excellent ways for individuals to express themselves. Hence, when you sell shoes that allow the market to express itself, you tap into a corner that’s always looking for new ways to define itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There a High Demand for Shoes?
Rest assured that there’s a high demand for shoes in the market today! In fact, according to Grand View Research—a reputable research database—there’s steady growth in the footwear industry.
This is because many people are searching for comfortable shoes to do sports, work, or just everyday use.
Is Selling Shoes a Good Business?
Selling shoes is more than just good business. It’s a lucrative one that can help you earn a lot of money if you put in the effort and fight the competition.
Because there’s always someone out there looking for comfortable, beautiful, or athletic shoes, it’s a market with endless potential.
Similar Businesses to Consider Starting
Besides starting a shoe business, there are several other ventures you can consider. Here are some examples:
- How to Start a Clothing Business With Buying Wholesale: If you don’t want to move too far from fashion, selling clothes is the perfect option. It’s a highly competitive industry, but it can be lucrative if you know what you’re doing.
- How to Start a Jewelry Business Online: Selling jewelry can leave you with a profit margin of up to 70%! It’s one of the most profitable businesses out there, and you can do it from home by taking a look at this guide.
- How to Start a Boutique Business: Opening a boutique can be a great way to make money and express yourself simultaneously. It can be a tad overwhelming at first, but with the help of this guide, you can get started.
Did our guide help you better understand how to start a shoes business? If so, let us know in the comments and share it with your friend!
To give you a quick recap, the first step in creating your shoe business is research. Research can help you determine your customer base, competition, and what your shoe brand will be about.
Once you’re done with research, you can start strategizing your marketing scheme and business model to guarantee success. After that, it’s all paperwork and interviews.