Oklahoma, also commonly referred to as the Sooner State, is the 28th most populous and 20th most extensive state of the United States. Spread over an area of 69,898 square miles, the state has an estimated population of over 3.8 million residents and is home to the 27th and 47th largest cities of the country, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Other prominent cities include Norman, Lawton, Edmond and Stillwater.
With a GDP of more than $139.3 million, Oklahoma’s economy is the 29th largest and the 10th fastest growing among all states. An important producer of food and natural gas, the state is home to a variety of sectors, including telecommunications, aviation, electronics, energy, food processing, and transportation equipment. Rated as one of the most business-friendly states in the country, Oklahoma is an ideal location to set up your fashion shop.
Choosing an appropriate business location is one of the most important decisions an entrepreneur has to make. After all, location is still everything in business and that is no different for a fashion shop. Ideally, you should look for properties in areas with high customer traffic. Also, the surrounding businesses and amenities should be somewhat related to what you are selling. Stores located in these areas attract a huge number of walk-in prospects, reducing marketing and advertising costs by some margin.
The Sooner State is home to several shopping and commercial districts, including, Utica Square, Uptown, Spring Creek, Peoria Street, Park Avenue, Broadway, Campus Corner, Plaza District, Automobile Alley, Western Avenue and Classen Curve, among others. Oklahoma, more particularly Oklahoma City, has several options for a distinctive shopping experience, including 50 Penn Place, Penn Square Mall, Quail Springs Mall as well as Sooner Mall.
These places attract a huge number of shoppers on a daily basis. To cash in on this large pool of customers, you must choose a property in any one of these areas. However, the retail industry is highly competitive and it’s still recommended you conduct some research to determine which areas will help you attain maximum traffic and repeat business. Once you come across a suitable location to set up your fashion shop, hire a professional to inspect the premises carefully before you sign the lease papers.
Choosing a Legal Status
The following are the most common types of business structures in Oklahoma:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company
- General Partnership
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Limited Partnership
Although you may want to operate your fashion shop as a sole proprietor or in partnership with another individual due to the simplicity of these business structures, note that neither can protect you from personal liability. A successful fashion shop will receive a large number of customers every day, which increases the risk of damage or injuries.
When you choose a business structure that protects you from personal liability, such as a Limited Liability Company, your business compensates any losses and damages, not you! This means that your personal assets will stay protected no matter what. Need help with choosing a legal status that suits your business needs? Consider hiring a tax advisor or private attorney.
When you start a clothing business (or any other business for that matter) in Oklahoma, you may be required to pay the following taxes:
- Corporate Income Tax
- Business Sales Tax
- Unemployment Tax
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance
State & Municipal Licenses and Obligations
All sole proprietorships must obtain a federal tax ID number. For other forms of business, if you are looking to hire employees, you have to acquire an Employee Identification Number. This can easily be done by visiting the IRS website. State laws require businesses to obtain a sales tax permit from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Other licenses and obligations may also be required, depending on the details of your business.
You will require some employees, such as salespersons and front-line staff, to manage your fashion shop. Salespersons earn an average salary of $16,400 – $41,480, while customer representatives make $18,940 – $45,350. The minimum wage threshold in Oklahoma is $7.25 per hour.
The hiring process in Oklahoma is similar to any other state. The Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act prevents employers from discriminating candidates on the basis of handicap, age, race, national origin, color, sex and religion. While the application process is pretty much the same, discrimination laws prevent you from asking certain questions that aren’t job related. Learn more here.
Popular Clothing Styles
Now, to the most important question: What should you stock your clothing store with? One of the best ways to find out is to look at what your competition is selling! Many shop owners carry local college gear – two of the best teams in the Big 12 are located in the state! It’s also a huge rodeo and cowboy clothing market, so consider some western wear if you want to!
Inventory Ordering and Management
You wouldn’t want a potential customer to leave your store just because you are out of stock for a particular clothing option! Hence, having a proper inventory ordering and management system in place is crucial! You should consider hiring an experienced inventory manager and invest in good software to streamline the entire process.