starting a business
my wife and I are thinking of moving to St. Thomas to sell shoes. the web site is glaglausa.com . the shoes are light, cooler on your feet and very comfortable. We think stt is a great place to sell them, but would like some opinions and advise.
Opinion: sounds great, we all wear shoes,a lot of the tourists wear shoes too.
Advice: come down and find a place to live and transportation
find a suitable retail location
get a business license
get shipping plans organized
Have power and communications connected
Read some of the info contained on the home page of this site
People move here all the time with business plans so it is possible.
we will be there 11August-18August to find a rental to live in, interview schools for our 14 yr old daughter (do you know anything about Antilles School?), and secure our retail space in yacht haven grande. If you could offer anymore helpful info we may need it will be appreciated....this is such a leap of faith for us, and we can think of no better place to take it but stt.
Ok - Read ALL of the info on this sites homepage.! Antilles is an excellent school with a very high college acceptance rate .
A couple of questions:
Have you been to St Thomas?
Who is your target market for these shoes?
Antilles requires testing before enrollment. Has your daughter been enrolled? Have you read the schools' website? http://www.antilles.vi/index.aspx
Other schools include: http://www.vimontessori.com/ , http://www.allsaintscathedralschoolvi.org/, http://www.spps.vi/, as well as the local public high schools.
And I agree that you should spend some time reading the information on this site.
yes we have been to st. thomas. our thought is ship passenger's are who we think will buy them and maybe some locals. we live in texas now and have been selling them at trades days with good sales, people of all ages have been buying them. we thought where would be a really good place to sell them? we think stt. thank you for your questions, we can use all the questions and opinions we can get. we have just been looking at the schools on the net, thanks for all the info.
Just be aware you'll probably have to charge more for them here for lots of reasons including much higher retail rent, REALLY high utilities & while there is no sales tax, there are built in taxes on all merchandise brought in for resale.
You might also want to contact by PM (private message) board member rokipatel, who, if I am not mistaken, has a business at Yacht Haven Grande. As Trade says,: beware the rent, excise tax (where are the shoes made?) and gross receipts tax.
the shoes are designed in france and made in china
Be prepared for heavy excise taxes.
what do you consider heavy ? a dollar a pair? or ten dollars a pair?
You may want to use google and - virgin islands excise tax - there is a comphensive 25 page document explaining all the taxes applicable that came up #1 on my search - from www.viirb.com
That would depend on how much the shoes are!
From what I know, Excise and custom taxes will be about 10% (together). that what most of the product that you import will be, there are some special rules for jewelry and other stuff but I think you should be paying around 10%. Then there is also the 4% gross receipts tax you will have to pay on all your sales before costs.
another thought I wanted to trow in....if you want ship passengers to be your customers then I am not sure if Yacht Haven is the right place for you. Even though it is located right next to the ships, most ship people do not go there. The main customers there are locals and hotel guests. Ship passengers stay either in Havensight or go downtown for shopping. Of course there will be some...You will also get the people that walk back from town to the ship.
If they are walking back to the ship from town through Yacht Haven -- they may well be interested in comfortable shoes by then.
all the info. and opinions are great keep them coming!!! thanks so much
i think they'd be great for flats fishing or boating/fishing. i'd grab a pair in a second if you get some florida gators ones 😀
college shoes other than the ones on the web site are in the works
All i could tell you about Yacht haven grande that i have not told by PM is that a company there wanted to put a Crocs Kiosk and the Administration did not allow it. Like i told you Yacht haven wants to keep it very upscale look at the tenants? Maybe Havensight or Port of Sale or Al Cohens or buccaneer mall could be an option. I told you to look at international plaza where Hard Rock used to be allot of shops have closed there too. Like i told you on PM talk to a local retailer like Caribbean surf co. to carry your product before you commit to a lease. Allot of items in St thomas don't have FEDERAL Custom Duty and if they do it wont be more than 5% and USVI excise tax for clothing is no more 5% go to the website and see the percentages!!!!!
we talked to a guy earlier to rent a place to stay when we come to look around, he also said yacht haven is not the place for us
I would consider coming down and getting a retail job first so you can get a feel for the business climate first before sinking your money into something. So what if you take a year to get a feel for the island, it may save you thousands $$$. How much do you know about the area? I mean really know from experience?
We stayed on STT for six weeks the first time we came down to start a business. We did nothing but walk around the shopping areas and talk to (business) people. Gets boring real quick, but you learn a lot!
I'm not sure what kind of customers you are looking for, but if you're selling shoes for $20, you need a lot of traffic, if you're selling $200 shoes, you need the right traffic.
In Havensight you'll get almost every cruise ship passenger (especially since they now have to walk to the taxis), but I found it impossible to find any space available there, almost found a spot once but didn't feel like coughing up $75,000 key money! Port of Sale is less busy, but still quite expensive when I was looking.
I would think Buccaneer or Al Cohen's (across the street from Havensight) attract the cruisers that don't want to spend the $4 to get to town... I never actually investigated that, it's just a hunch. The road works may affect businesses there as well.
Don't even think about Crown Bay.
Yachthaven could be something five years from now, if you have the right product. If you have the means to sit it out, it could work.
In town, you'd have to settle for an alley store; Waterfront and Main Street will (probably) be too expensive and you'd probably have to pay key money.
And, uhm, I would stay away from International Plaza!