QUESTION.... new business on STX?
Smart or dumb?
We know the economy is really tuff, but are believers that hard work, smart marketing and affordable pricing can work.
We live back and forth, but are thinking of opening a small apparel, consignment, thrift type store in the Csted area. It would deal in new, almost new, used clothing, jewelry, handbags and etc.
Looking for input, both positive and negative.
Thanks in advance.
~ It's Always Beer Thirty!
IMO you can buy EUC clothes on eBay much cheaper than you can in the Caribbean (I checked a resale store in PR last time I was there, plus the one on STT and on STJ). You're also possibly competing with other charities.
Better to find a line of affordable, stylish clothes and do home parties to show and sell the clothes. Be the Mary Kay of fashion!
It's not just ebay, ANY store you like online has incredible sales. Can't remember the last time I bought something and it wasn't at least 30 to 50 percent off. The island stores have cute girl stuff but it's just too high, I can get it so much cheaper online and then throw a coupon code on top of that and it's a HUGE bargain even with shipping.
If I was starting a business on island I would stay away from clothing, jewelery, restaurant/bars all the stuff that is glutted. Find something unique or something needed. We don't need clothing. Maybe if you could get flip flops cheap. Remember reading an article about a guy who started a chain of flip flops and made millions. But then again many that sold clothes and shoes have closed. Rents, wapa, labor are a killer, much more so then most places.
BEST advice you are going to get is work in the line of work that you would like to open for at least a year. Learn the island ways and politics. Network, Network, Network and Save, Save, Save. If you are still crazy enough after a year to give up all your free time and money to open a business in PARADISE then you are ready.
Hiya, you can sometimes get good deals (or at least same as Stateside) in the VI, at least on STT. One of the things I hate about buying clothes online is you're never sure exactly what you're going to get, and you have to pay return postage many times to send it back. It is so nice to be able to try something on and have it right away. I'm usually willing to pay a slight premium for that advantage!
Some of my friends have a contact with a wholesaler in Miami, and they re-sell the clothes in the VI and make some nice part-time money. They sell mostly out of their homes.
Almost every store on STT sells flip flops of all sorts. Local Color sells that Brazilian model, Gisele, line. Caribbean Surf has Reef. The prices are pretty much same as Stateside based on my online comparisons. I also read that article about the flip flop guy. Unbelievable!
It's all about finding a niche.
Ms411 if you know your brand, 9 times outta ten you will know how it will fit. And to me going to the store on island is no great advantage, most of the stores are too crowded or not the nicest, especially the dressing rooms.
If I order INC, Calvin Klein, etc from Macys I know how the tshirt, jeans, skirts fit, I know what size I am in all of them. It's just part of being a girl, you have to be able to remember what size you are in different brands and hopefully not gain weight! 🙂 I only get in trouble when I order from the more economically friendly brands like Old Navy, where there is not always the greatest quality control. But if you're a smart online shopper you really don't have to buy the cheap brands you can get the expensive cheap! There are so many ways to save, and ebates is a great site to start at. But first is to sign up for the store you like emailing list (tons of 4 hour, 8 hour and 24 hour sells out there) and learn how to use coupon codes. I've never been impressed clothes wise with what the islands has to offer.
Can't think of any clothes or shoes I buy on island anymore. I also buy things I used to buy at Kmart on drugstore.com, free shipping and always a good coupon or two, so it's a lot cheaper.
I would like to support local, but first the quality has to be there, I want decent customer service, I want to not pay 2x to 5x what it will cost if I buy it online (including shipping). Until things change I buy just about everything online. Rather buy a few things online quickly and have more time for the beach!
Hiya, that's just it, I'm not wedded to any particular brand. That used to drive me crazy at Macy's in NY, because everything is by brand instead of by item (blouses, pants, etc) all displayed together. When I do buy online, I generally buy from eBay, because I can do a search by description and get lots of different brands. I'm waiting on a long sleeved, white, scoop neck fitted top now, and I have no idea what brand it is.
I love Pacific Cotton on STX, but can't get to STX often enough to replace my current wardrobe! Their sale prices are excellent!
If the locals don't spend money here, and the tourists don't spend any money here, what kind of economy will the VI have? No matter what your job or business here is, it's generally a good idea to grow your network, and supporting the local shops is one way to do that.
Retail is not a big business on stx, maybe jewelery and I do support that market. I can not stand trying to shop on ebay, I think we're just too very different shoppers. Most of the retail clothing on stx is very poor quality- Marianne's, Rainbow, Kmart, (biggest ones are stateside corps) etc... OR is tourist items, tshirts, caps etc... With a few good exceptions like Scuba Boutique.
But basically there is no way I'm going to support the "little guy" or the "local guy" just because he is the local/little guy. Put out a good product, have good customer service at a reasonable price (I have no problem with someone making a profit, just don't want to get raped). The current big guys all started out as little guys and can fall or rise on their continued product. Little/local guy can turn in the giant guy anytime they have the smarts, drive, energy and luck to do so.
We all network, not worried about that.