Author of " Every Way of Earning a Living-," " Our Sons and Daughters," etc. How To Open A Draper's Shop With A Capital Not Exceeding 500

Where to Start - Considerations that Should Affect a Decision - Choice of Premises - Rent -Suitable Stock - Window-dressing - Secrets of Successful Salesmanship - The Staff

Supposing that you have passed through your period of apprenticeship at a wholesale house., and have also spent a while " behind the counter" (see page 1928, Part 16), and that you can command a capital of 500, you may be said to have the ball at your feet, providing you have sufficient pluck and enterprise to open a shop on your own account.

I am assuming here that you mean to open a shop that has not been in the trade before, so that you will not have to buy "goodwill." As a rule, it will be found that you cannot afford to pay for an established business out of 500, for the amount of goodwill you would get for your money would in all probability be scarcely worth having, whilst the stock you would take over would only be fit for a sale.

Some Questions

The selection of the town in which you would work would probably be governed by the whereabouts of your relatives or friends, but should there not be a really satisfactory position in a good thoroughfare to be obtained there, the wise business woman will sacrifice these personal considerations and go farther afield.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself about the town in which you intend to seek your fortune:

1. Is it a "go-ahead" place, where a new, enterprising establishment will be appreciated, or is it a place of the sleepy order, where enterprise is wasted?.

2. Is it near enough to London for goods to be "delivered free" to consumers from the big stores of the metropolis?

3. Is your special knowledge (everyone specialises in some branch or other of her trade) of the kind that will help business forward in the town under discussion?

4. Is the drapery trade already sufficiently catered for by existing firms, both as regards the old-fashioned or conservative part of the business and the modern or enterprising?

The Answers

If the answer to the first part of question 1 is "Yes," of 2 "No," of 3 "Yes," and of 4 "No," you may decide that the streets of your town are still paved with gold for you, and that the next thing is to fix upon premises.

Your choice must fall upon a shop which satisfies the following points:

1. Ample attractive window space, which will call the attention of passers-by going in either direction.

2. Floor space to allow for a showroom as business grows. This may be in the form of a shop-parlour, or part of the shop itself partitioned off.

3. A first floor that would lend itself to business purposes should fortune smile sufficiently upon you to demand space above the ground floor.

4. Well-established businesses should be on either side of your shop (unless, of course, it be a corner building), where customers of the class you intend to cater for are served.

5. The shop must not be on a "dead side" of the street where many tradesmen have tried many lines of business and afterwards put up their shutters.

6. The construction of the shop-front itself must lend itself to easy and distinctive decoration.

7. The thoroughfare itself must be a busy one all the week, and not with a one-day trade which is carried on all in a few hours on a Saturday.

With these seven points in favour of your chosen premises, you will be justified in entering into negotiations with the landlord. The rent should not be more than 125 a year, including rates.

Fixtures

Having secured your premises, the next serious question is that of fixtures. These may be purchased second-hand and adapted to your needs for a cost, all in, of not more than 100. In many cases, according to the nature of the shop taken, this figure will be less. As to the style of fittings generally, you will have your own particular idea-the result of some years of observation and experience-and thus you will give to your establishment a character which will help to make or mar your business, according to the capacity for success which you have in you.

Stock

The nature of your stock-upon which you must calculate a profit of 33 1/3 per cent.-will depend largely upon the class of trade you intend to build your business upon. But, expressed in general terms, your first purchases will include ladies' underwear and hosiery up to 200 and fancy goods up to 80.

The following list of ladies' underwear was prepared by a lady starting on her own account. It was included in a 500 prize-winning essay published recently in the "Drapery Times," now- incorporated with the "Draper." It will form a useful guide. Of course, you must vary .the'quantities,'the qualities, and in some cases the items, with the locality.

s.

d.

Ladies' Underwear: hosiery, hose (tan and black, plain and ribbed) embroidery and lace, Lisle thread, (plain and lace), say, is. 03/4 d. to 3s. 11d. ..

35

0

0

s.

d.

Woollen combinations, vests, spencers, drawers, 3s. 11d. to 10s. 6d., 10 1/4d. to 2s. 11d., is. o 3/4d. to 2S. 11d., 2s. 11d. to 5s. 11d.; knickers, knitted and material (cotton and wool), is. 11 1/2d. to 3s. 11d.

40

0

0

Underskirts, flannel, cotton, moirette, and silk, etc., is. 11 1/2d. to 8s. 11d.

10

0

0

Sundries: suspenders, woollen belts, night-socks and caps, sanitary towels, cloutings, etc.

10

0

0

Corsets, is. 11 1/2d. to 10s. 6d...

35

0

0

Flannel and flannelette nightgowns, nuns'-veiling, Viyella, etc-., 2s. 11d. to 8s. 11d.

15

0

0

Few dressing-gowns and dressing-jackets, 8s. 11d. to 21s., is. 11 1/2d. to 5s. 11d...

15

0

0

Cotton nightgowns, chemises, bodices, camisoles, knickers, combinations.

30

0

0

Small assortment of gloves, woollen and kid

10

0

0

200

0

0

Fancy Goods

Here, again, you will be very largely guided by the neighbourhood in which you are operating, for, obviously, there must be great difference between the stock of fancy goods required for a West End trade and that required for the East End. But, in the main, the stock of fancy goods will include the following items, upon which not more than 80 in all should be spent, the quantities of each varying with the local demand. The stock, then, should comprise: Servants' aprons, holland, linen, muslin, (plain and embroidered), overalls, servants' caps, collars, cuffs and sleeves, leather, suede and fancy belts of various qualities, collars (plain and fancy), lawn Puritan collar sets, lace jabots and fancy articles, silk ties and bows, and fallings, veilings, motor veils, embroideries and insertions, longcloth, and Swiss muslin, Torchon laces, small assortment of haberdashery, including feather-stitching, handkerchiefs (plain and fancy), etc.