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Starting up a small retail business in Equestrian products?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by sunhorse, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. sunhorse

    sunhorse UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    18 0
    At the local livery yards/riding schools I go to, I've noticed that there isn't any good local supplier of equestrian products (ie. decent range and price), this is also a problem for me too because I don't like having to buy products for myself from numerous different websites (even the large retailers don't have great great product ranges imo).

    To this end I've considered establishing a retail business where I could sell equestrian products: tack, yard tools, feed, clothing, horsecare etc. People seem to be buying these products all the time, but end up going to all sorts of different places. I feel I could offer a more convenient solution and at a more competitive price than some of the local shops (I can undercut some local shops even by buying from retail for goodness sake).

    I also have a lot of web development experience and already have my own personal website so I can establish a decent online shop for next to nothing.

    Do you think this is a viable business proposition, or am I just fantasizing here?
     
    Posted: Apr 20, 2013 By: sunhorse Member since: Oct 12, 2012
    #1
  2. baycix

    baycix UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 1
    I think it is a good skill to have specially in these day and age. i know a retailer who does exactly what your trying to do. i can give his detail to you if you want it or do business with him.
     
    Posted: Apr 20, 2013 By: baycix Member since: Apr 18, 2013
    #2
  3. sunhorse

    sunhorse UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    18 0
    I've actually been attempting to contact wholesalers at the moment, I've fired off emails to a dozen or so after incorporating a company and registering an associated domain name that I've added to my web hosting account. I guess I'll probably need a business bank account as well to have much hope of buying from wholesalers based on what I've seen?
     
    Posted: Apr 21, 2013 By: sunhorse Member since: Oct 12, 2012
    #3
  4. Socio South West

    Socio South West UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    744 184
    'firing off emails' does not sound like a very businesslike way to go about getting suppliers on board.

    Much better to make direct contact with their wholesale managers, at the very least by phone, and build a decent serious business relationship. If it reverts to email after that, then fine, but at least try and reveal yourself to them as a serious entity.
     
    Posted: Apr 21, 2013 By: Socio South West Member since: Mar 24, 2013
    #4
  5. vvaannmmaann

    vvaannmmaann UKBF Legend Free Member

    13,112 3,369
    28,500,000 results on Google for "equestrian on line"
    Three from the first page.
    http://www.rideaway.co.uk/
    http://www.onlineforequine.co.uk/
    http://www.thesaddleryshop.co.uk/
    How will you compete with these and all the others? What is your USP?

    I was in a yard yesterday.Lovely people but the place was very tatty and run down.She is paying £600 per month in rent to keep three horses on several acres.She was saying that with her costs she cannot afford "new" items for her or her horses.
    So perhaps you could look into buying and selling used tack? As you will know,horse people will give up their own comforts to provide for their horses,so good quality clean and reasonably priced used equipment may be more attractive to people?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
    Posted: Apr 21, 2013 By: vvaannmmaann Member since: Nov 6, 2007
    #5
  6. smo

    smo UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,096 336
    There are thousands of equestrian retailers form specialist through to sell EVERYTHING - if you've not found them you arent looking hard enough as many many places sell hundreds of brands covering all items you could ever want and far more than youll ever need.

    As for wholesalers, most of them wont even talk to you about opening an account. To do so many want you to have physical premises and the minimum order values are crazy. One form we had come to us from a VERY well known wholesaler asked for photographs of the inside & outside of the retail premises as they dont deal with internet based firms....

    Good luck!
     
    Posted: Apr 21, 2013 By: smo Member since: Apr 3, 2010
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  7. sunhorse

    sunhorse UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    18 0
    I've had some responses from wholesalers and two minimum order values quoted were £250 and £1000, neither one of those required a physical premises either, so maybe it's not as bad as it seems in that regard.

    My main target is local customers rather than trying to compete online with larger retailers, I've noticed that most people at the yards still shop at local shops for equestrian products rather than buy online from those companies, and these local shops aren't anywhere near as competitive. I'd be able to offer the convenience to people of buying products from their own yard premises, rather than having to go to a physical shop elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
    Posted: Apr 21, 2013 By: sunhorse Member since: Oct 12, 2012
    #7
  8. vvaannmmaann

    vvaannmmaann UKBF Legend Free Member

    13,112 3,369
    "I'd be able to offer the convenience to people of buying products from their own yard premises"

    Are you still refering to an online shop,or are you getting a van to do this?
     
    Posted: Apr 21, 2013 By: vvaannmmaann Member since: Nov 6, 2007
    #8
  9. sunhorse

    sunhorse UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    18 0
    I'd be stocking products at the yards, I already have secure storage space there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
    Posted: Apr 22, 2013 By: sunhorse Member since: Oct 12, 2012
    #9
  10. cucumber

    cucumber UKBF Regular Free Member

    116 21
    Just start doing it - with a small number of products and a tiny amount of stock. See if people want what you're offering. Even if it means doing it at a loss -- consider this research. Research costing a small bit of money to find out if it's going to work or not -- money well spent. But from what you say you won't even be losing out. Do it in a small way, test it. You don't need a website for that.
     
    Posted: Apr 22, 2013 By: cucumber Member since: Nov 16, 2011
    #10
  11. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    9,534 1,924
    Please make sure you make a realistic business plan and include profit and loss spreadsheets and cashflow, sales are always very slow with start ups and cashflow the killer

    From you posts about no one doing it , then really have a good look at those who are and check thier prices against what you expect to charge,

    Buy something very cheap from one or two of the web based sites say a £5 + postage at each and then buy again in a months time, you will have spent £10 at each one which seems silly untill you look at the order numbers and you then find out how many sales they have made that month,

    Making it the best £10 you ever spent
     
    Posted: Apr 22, 2013 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #11
  12. sunhorse

    sunhorse UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    18 0
    Thanks you two, that is very good advice.
     
    Posted: Apr 22, 2013 By: sunhorse Member since: Oct 12, 2012
    #12
  13. westpointltd

    westpointltd UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1 0
    Hi, i think i may have the contacts that you would require, i used to sell hoofknifes, saddles etc. on ebay but then got tied down in other things so had to leave but had good links with manufactures, ( swana exports ) ,maybe visit their website to see all the products they produce, hoofknifes were a good seller on ebay back a few years ago but now there is too much competition on there, my 2 pence
     
    Posted: Apr 23, 2013 By: westpointltd Member since: Apr 23, 2013
    #13