Ukay ukay business is something that Filipinos are quite familiar with. Though in the Philippines, the business doesn’t deserve the connotation sometimes associated with it — used and worn out, a potential source of skin diseases — the bad reputation may have come from a bad experience or flat out lack of understanding about the quality of products.
What is ukay ukay business?
An ukay ukay business is typically a shop located in markets and shopping arcades in the Philippines where second-hand items such as clothing, shoes, bags and other accessories are sold at cheaper prices.
Ukay ukay shops are filled not necessarily with second-hand clothes, but also those with slight factory defects, out-of-season fashion, displaced ready-to-wear items from department store shelves to make way for new arrivals, and all others that deserve another chance of being worn.
Items sold at the ukay ukay business are commonly imported from North America, Europe, or certain parts of Asia.
Meaning of ukay ukay
The term ukay means dig in Cebuano dialect, and ukay ukay means to dig or sift through a pile of clothing to find prized clothing at a significantly lower price. It is also synonymous to wagwag, or the act of dusting off a piece of clothing, or SM (segunda mano or second hand), a play on a popular retail chain in the Philippines.
But as you learn more about merchants making their thrift haul goods a profitable and fashionable business, you’ll soon find out it’s not as bad as its unfair connotation.
Willing to know more on how to start your modest, thrift line clothing shop? Read on.
Starting from modest shops but focusing on great products and marketing works best for those with limited capital money.
Getting extra supply in return for rental cost savings is a critical consideration now that you are starting the business and wish to convert strangers into customers and even those who are inclined to buy elsewhere switch to your products.
|Equipment (hangers, fans, racks, chairs, etc)||12,000|
|Rental (Monthly rental + one month deposit)||24,000|
Good first impressions can lead to long-term relationships with loyal customers
To do so, get supplies of imported and original wardrobes generally classified under surplus clothing. This means you need to extensively research for suppliers online or join trade shows and social gatherings of similarly-minded merchants.
Focus on retaining customers instead of reaching out for new ones
What to do when clothes don’t fit or wear out sooner than later? Be prepared to make such incidents an opportunity for customers to love you more, without abusing your kindness.
Show customer care by returning the favor once they put their trust in you
This makes your offer more targeted because you know what their interests are.
Once new stocks arrive, they’ll be among the first to know and get to pick their choices first even before displays are made. This makes them feel valued more and tend to profess their loyalty to you every time they make a repeat purchase.
Remember, this is an ukay ukay business and not some more glamorous fashion shop, but still, you want to offer the best customer experience.
Set aside New Arrival items each week creates an element of surprise
You can pick a day and stick with it. For example, you may choose Saturday to take advantage of larger foot traffic and give customers more time to browse over your clothing goods.
Going online is a cost-efficient way to promote your products
Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook live stream have become a part of the way businesses market their products and services, and there’s no reason why your ukay ukay business should not take advantage of it too.
Being nice to suppliers goes a long way for business partnership
Expanding product line offers more buying opportunities for customers
The line should also take advantage of seasonal needs. For example, school uniforms, shoes, and socks for children may be displayed a couple of months before the school year starts.
Improve face value of goods as you care for them
If needed, dry clean or wash the fabric to get rid of particles and dust that may have settled in the material during shipment. If items have an unpleasant odor, they might be better off discarded and should no longer be sold.
Bonus: Bring down the price for unsold items to clear inventory and contribute to your next shipment
Items that remain in racks three to five weeks after display are prime candidates for marked-down tags and discounts between 20% and 70% placed at a prominent location close to the cashier. The aim is to salvage whatever value you can get, and pool funds used for the next batch of shipment, typically every 45 to 60 days.
Entering the ukay ukay business can be a risky venture, especially if you have no prior knowledge about the industry, no connections to sources and supply chain, and no idea about the target market. Just like any other business, get to know what kind of products are most appealing to your target customers, and if there’s a need for a new player in the field of the clothing business.