Florida, also widely known as The Sunshine State, is the 3rd most populous and 22nd most extensive state of the United States. Spread over an area of 65,757 square miles, the state has an estimated population of over 20 million and is home to some of the most beautiful cities of the country, including Orlando, Miami, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville, the most populous city in Florida.
With a GDP of more than $748 million, Florida’s economy is the fourth largest in the United States. Tourism, healthcare research, international banking, construction, simulation training, commercial space travel, biomedical and life sciences as well as aerospace and defense are major contributors to the state’s economy. Being one of the most populous states of the country, with an annual average income of over $50,000, Florida is the ideal location for a fashion shop.
Florida has a diverse group of potential customers. However, to ensure you cash in on this large pool of customers effectively, it’s imperative that your fashion shop is located in the right area. Ideally, you should be looking for properties in high-traffic areas and in close proximity to other businesses that are somewhat related to yours. Stores located in these areas enjoy walk-in prospects, reducing the cost of advertising and marketing to some degree.
The state of Florida is home to several commercial and shopping districts, including Park Avenue, Lemon Street, The Galleria, Soho, Worth Avenue, Third Street South, 5th Avenue South, Coconut Grove, Flagler Street, Miami Design District, International Drive, Washington Avenue, Lincoln Road, Miracle Mile and Ocean Drive, among others. The 3rd largest shopping mall in the United States, Aventura Mall, is also located in Florida.
Since these places attract a huge number of shoppers every day of the week, which includes both locals and tourists, selecting a property in any one of them could work out well for your startup. However, even so, it’s best if you conduct some research to determine where you can draw in maximum customer traffic. Once you have found a property you are interested in, inspect it carefully before signing the lease papers.
Choosing a Legal Status
The following are the most common types of business structures in Florida:
- Sole Proprietorship
- General Partnership
- Limited Liability Company
Running your fashion shop as a sole proprietor or in partnership with another individual may seem like the right thing. However, neither of the business structures will protect your assets from personal liability. Remember, the most successful fashion shops will have a large number of customers coming through the door on a daily basis, bringing the risk of damage or injuries.
By choosing a legal status that protects you from personal liability, any losses or damages will be compensated by your business and not you, which means that your assets are protected. You should consider hiring a private attorney or tax advisor to help you choose a legal status that suits your business needs.
When starting a clothing business (or any other business for that matter) in Florida, you may be required to pay the following taxes:
- Sales and Use Tax
- Reemployment Tax
- Corporate Income Tax
- Other Taxes
State & Municipal Licenses and Obligations
If you are the sole owner of your business, you must obtain a federal tax ID number. For all other forms of business, it’s necessary to acquire an Employee Identification Number as you will obviously need employees to manage your store. You can easily apply for it by visiting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. Most counties in the State of Florida also require businesses to obtain a business/occupational license. Depending on the details of your business, other licenses and obligations may also be required. Visit this guide for more information.
If you are looking to hire employees, such as front-line staff and salespersons, you should be aware of how much they will cost you. The average salary of a sales representative in Florida is around $42,000, while customer representatives earn around $29,000 to $37,000. The minimum wage threshold is $8.05 per hour.
The hiring process in Florida is similar to any other. You receive and review applications, interview potential candidates, and ultimately select the most qualified and successful candidate as your employee. However, several state and federal laws may limit what you can ask candidates during the hiring process. Learn more about it here.
Popular Clothing Styles
Fashion in Florida is a big deal and is different from other areas of the country, particularly because of the severe weather. A great way to find out what’s in is to look at other clothing shops and see what they are stocking!
Inventory Ordering and Management
Having proper inventory ordering and management system is crucial. After all, you wouldn’t want a potential customer to leave just because you are out of stock for a particular clothing option. So, hire an inventory manager and purchase software to ensure your fashion shop is well stocked throughout the day. You can also go to the fun gift markets and beef up your inventory with a lot of fun ideas for the next season.