Starting a Bellydance Store

Brea

New member
Hi all,

Well, I have decided to do it! I am going to rent some space and start a bellydance store/studio!! My question is, how should I go about it? For instance, I'd LOVE to have Dahlal costumes in my store, but they are insanely expensive. When I had my little farmer's market store before, I just purchased things off ebay from sellers I liked and marked them up. It was an inexpensive way to do it and provided an area that did not have any costume resources with hip scarves and other necessities. Yes of course they could have bought them on ebay but it's nice to be able to touch and see things before you buy (at least this was my thought!!) Any help in regards to renting such a combination place (store/studio) would be great! There are no bellydance costume stores anywhere in my state or nearby states, and there is a large bellydance community here, so I do think that there is a market. With limited funds, should I return to my initial plan of ebay purchase, or are there wholesalers that I should know about?

Thanks; this forum has helped me so much in everything I am trying to do, and I have learned more about history and culture here than I have in years of dance study!!
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Store

Hi all,

Well, I have decided to do it! I am going to rent some space and start a bellydance store/studio!! My question is, how should I go about it? For instance, I'd LOVE to have Dahlal costumes in my store, but they are insanely expensive. When I had my little farmer's market store before, I just purchased things off ebay from sellers I liked and marked them up. It was an inexpensive way to do it and provided an area that did not have any costume resources with hip scarves and other necessities. Yes of course they could have bought them on ebay but it's nice to be able to touch and see things before you buy (at least this was my thought!!) Any help in regards to renting such a combination place (store/studio) would be great! There are no bellydance costume stores anywhere in my state or nearby states, and there is a large bellydance community here, so I do think that there is a market. With limited funds, should I return to my initial plan of ebay purchase, or are there wholesalers that I should know about?

Thanks; this forum has helped me so much in everything I am trying to do, and I have learned more about history and culture here than I have in years of dance study!!

Dear Brea,
I would suggest you talk to the Small Business Administration in your area, and maybe take some business courses at your university in order to learn about marketing and other business needs. You can begin to find out things like how to judge if there is a need for your products and services in your area, what kind of marketing you will have to do to reach which segment of the population, if you should teach in the same place you sell in order to save rental $$, or if you should do an online store, etc.
Regards,
A'isha
 

sedoniaraqs

New member
All of the vendors I know have contacts directly with costume designers in Cairo and/or Istanbul. They generally place wholesale orders that are shipped over, plus they go on buying trips over there.
 

da Sage

New member
Hi all,

Well, I have decided to do it! I am going to rent some space and start a bellydance store/studio!! There are no bellydance costume stores anywhere in my state or nearby states, and there is a large bellydance community here, so I do think that there is a market.
Actually, there is a store in Dinkytown that sells costume pieces and other bellydance items. As far as I know, they don't carry full costumes yet, though.
 

Zurah

New member
I agree 100% with A'isha's suggestion about signing up for courses on business administration, business law, taxation, etc. Is there also a Chamber of Commerce, or Women Business Owners' associations or similar where you live? I'd look up those as well - also, when my mother set up her business (here in Spain), she applied for a subsidy at the local Women's Institute (a goverment institution), and got it. I don't know if there is an equivalent of this in the States, but it's definitely worth asking about.
 

Brea

New member
da Sage-

Yes, I know the one you mean, but it mainly carries simple coin belts, etc, and its purpose is not as a bellydance costume store.

Again, thanks for the advice; I will see if there is anything like a Women's Business Owner's Association in my town!
 

da Sage

New member
da Sage-

Yes, I know the one you mean, but it mainly carries simple coin belts, etc, and its purpose is not as a bellydance costume store.
It's a gift store that has a significant percentage of display space devoted to bellydance items and ethnic jewelry, but you are correct that it's not strictly a costume store. Both the owners are into bellydance, and one of them also teaches - it's not a side thing for them.

If you open a store in Duluth, you won't be competing directly. If you focus on full costumes, AFAIK, you won't be competing directly. But if you open a store in the Twin Cities and carry the same kind of stock, the split market could cause both stores to go out of business. I have seen that happen too often with gas stations and grocery stores, and I would hate to see that happen here.
 

Brea

New member
Hi da Sage,

It would be in Duluth, actually. I am no longer in the Cities.

I also don't want to compete with anyone in a way that will hurt the community. My store, I was hoping, would be a very strange blend of bellydance costumes and Scottish items. Those are my two passions so that's what I was hoping to do.
 

Marya

Member
Hi da Sage,

It would be in Duluth, actually. I am no longer in the Cities.

I also don't want to compete with anyone in a way that will hurt the community. My store, I was hoping, would be a very strange blend of bellydance costumes and Scottish items. Those are my two passions so that's what I was hoping to do.
Brea,

I used to work in Economic Development and I am also on the board of a non-profit that helps small businesses.

There are two similar non-profits in Minnesota. If you are in Lincoln county call 507-694-1306 or 800-658-2479 or check out Lincoln County Enterprise Development, if you are near the city of Richfield they used to have a facilitation program but I could not find any current information about them, but a call to the city would help you find out.

when I worked in Economic development one thing that we tried to emphasize concerning new businesses is that have two very disparate products (like Middle eastern Dance and Scottish dance) does not help drive customers to your store. A general dance supply store might work better.

I also highly recommend contacting the chamber of commerce for your area. they should have all the information about the small business development centers, local classes etc. also look for an economic development office. our local one offers marketing classes just for artist.

also check out
Grants and Loans For Women in Business | Funding Resources for Women Business Owners | WomensNet.Net, Home Of The Amber Grants For Women Entrepreneurs

Marya
 
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Brea

New member
Hi,

I was intending to do Scottish items (non-dance) as well as bellydance costumes. The general theme seems to be that this kind of stuff has similar, or the same, buyers. That's my experience anyway. We will have to see.

I am in contact now with Community Action and the Northeast Entrepreneur's Fund, so hopefully something will come out of that.
 

Alice of SaraCura

New member
Hi all,

Well, I have decided to do it! I am going to rent some space and start a bellydance store/studio!! My question is, how should I go about it? For instance, I'd LOVE to have Dahlal costumes in my store, but they are insanely expensive. When I had my little farmer's market store before, I just purchased things off ebay from sellers I liked and marked them up. It was an inexpensive way to do it and provided an area that did not have any costume resources with hip scarves and other necessities. Yes of course they could have bought them on ebay but it's nice to be able to touch and see things before you buy (at least this was my thought!!) Any help in regards to renting such a combination place (store/studio) would be great! There are no bellydance costume stores anywhere in my state or nearby states, and there is a large bellydance community here, so I do think that there is a market. With limited funds, should I return to my initial plan of ebay purchase, or are there wholesalers that I should know about?

Thanks; this forum has helped me so much in everything I am trying to do, and I have learned more about history and culture here than I have in years of dance study!!
Wow, that's exciting! If you'd like to talk retail sometime, I'd love to do that. When Sarah and I decided to partner and open the shop we now have in Minneapolis, we started about this time last year. It took us until July to open the doors and feel as if we had done it right. Some of our first steps were contacting a wonderful local charitable organization: WomenVenture: Welcome to WomenVenture
they helped us with writing an intensive business plan, and deciding whether we wanted legal counsel for a partnership agreement. They also have grants and loans available.

No doubt your vendors and ours won't be exactly the same. Good relationships with vendors are serious business assets.

Best wishes! Our email address is saracura@saracura.com. Love to hear from you.

-- Alice
 

Brea

New member
Hi Alice! That is so exciting you guys are on here too! I don't want to take any business away from you (i purchased a small coin belt from you for a special routine I was doing for Cassandra's Cabaret, and I was VERY glad to have a place to get one at short notice). I was hoping to be providing full costumes as the purpose of the shop. If we could work together that would be great!

Thanks for the tips; I will keep in touch!
 

janaki

New member
Very exciting Brea!!

I am business women. My advise to you is do your research in the following areas first.

1.What and how much demand is there for the goods you are planning to sell. 2.Can you source the finances??? This is one the biggest issues for any business.
3.Do have suppliers??
4.What kinds of cliental you are trageting? Local/international
5. Check out your potential competitors.
6. It is very important that every business has to have edge to survive.

Once you have done yout research, as Aisha suggeted, if you need it get some help on business logitics. Talk to your accountants about finances. Location is also very important for business. Spend good amount of time to do your research so that you won't have regrets later.

Good luck to you!
Janaki
 

Brea

New member
Hi janaki,

Thank you! That is so sweet! I will definintely do as you recommend; I am already in contact with several places around my hometown that help with business growth.
 

KuteNurse

New member
Hi da Sage,

It would be in Duluth, actually. I am no longer in the Cities.

I also don't want to compete with anyone in a way that will hurt the community. My store, I was hoping, would be a very strange blend of bellydance costumes and Scottish items. Those are my two passions so that's what I was hoping to do.

I think it is a great idea Brea because there are no other stores like this in Duluth. There is a good population of BDers in Duluth, however, would the population be enough? Perhaps you could also consider selling on the web? Welcome back to Duluth and Happy dancing!
 

Brea

New member
Hi KuteNurse; we should get coffee sometime! I am hoping it will be a good thing to have up here because, as you said, we don't have anything like that.

I met Sarah from SaraCura last night; we had a great talk and are eerily similar as people! She's really nice; you guys should stop in there sometime.
 

KuteNurse

New member
Hi KuteNurse; we should get coffee sometime! I am hoping it will be a good thing to have up here because, as you said, we don't have anything like that.

I met Sarah from SaraCura last night; we had a great talk and are eerily similar as people! She's really nice; you guys should stop in there sometime.
SaraCura??? Good for you...Yes...We will have to do coffee sometime soon. Good luck with the store:)
 

Brea

New member
Hi,

OK, I have been moving along with opening my store/studio. The problem is, I'd like to do it downtown, but there is already another bellydance studio there. I don't want to step on any toes. Any suggestions? KuteNurse, you might be the best resource for this, since you know the area.
 

KuteNurse

New member
Hi,

OK, I have been moving along with opening my store/studio. The problem is, I'd like to do it downtown, but there is already another bellydance studio there. I don't want to step on any toes. Any suggestions? KuteNurse, you might be the best resource for this, since you know the area.

Downtown might be expensive to rent a place. What about in a strip mall that is accessible. Kenwood, plaza or someplace like that. What about in Hermantown. There is also a small area for stores on Woodland Avenue past UMD with a few stores. Maybe there is something open there? I think it depends on the space you need. You will just have to think about how much space you need then look for something appropriate. Good luck...It is COLD out.
 
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