How to Start a Sunglasses Store

Eyewear has become a critical part of an individual’s personal style. It offers insight into one’s tastes and is the perfect accessory to complete any look. As a result, many consumers invest in multiple pairs of sunglasses, insuring they have the “right” pair each time they walk out their door. To meet this growing demand, entrepreneurs are investing in online and brick and mortar retail stores, offering consumers a multitude of options to choose from.

Learn how to start your own Sunglasses Store and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.

Start a sunglasses store by following these 10 steps:

  1. Plan your Sunglasses Store
  2. Form your Sunglasses Store into a Legal Entity
  3. Register your Sunglasses Store for Taxes
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  5. Set up Accounting for your Sunglasses Store
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Sunglasses Store
  7. Get Sunglasses Store Insurance
  8. Define your Sunglasses Store Brand
  9. Create your Sunglasses Store Website
  10. Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your sunglasses store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Sunglasses Store Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability.

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your sunglasses store?

Business Name Generator

What are the costs involved in opening a sunglasses store?

Upfront expenses will be largely dependent on your storefront location and the merchandise you choose to invest in. Costs will be significantly lower if you decide to open an online only store. Doing so will limit you, in some capacity, as many consumers prefer to try sunglasses on prior to purchasing.

Startup costs include the following:

  • Location - Sunglass leaders such as Sunglass Hut occupy 400-600 square feet in an area with a lot of foot traffic
  • Stock of sunglasses that appeals to a variety of different customers. If you plan to target one specific audience, be sure to understand what it is they are looking for and invest accordingly.
  • Shop decor and sunglass displays
  • Materials/fees to support your marketing campaigns
  • Computer system and POS software
  • eCommerce website design and hosting
  • Insurance

If your business model calls for an online store only, make sure you have enough space to store all inventory. It should be easily accessible and each pair must be stored properly for safe-keeping.

What are the ongoing expenses for a sunglasses store?

Owners should consider the following ongoing expenses when considering their short and long-term goals

  • Cost for retail space
  • Costs associated with retail space
  • Inventory investment
  • Standard administrative costs associated with running a retail space and/or online business
  • Payroll taxes and associated expenses
  • Advertising/marketing and networking
  • Insurance

Who is the target market?

Consumers shopping at sunglass shops aren’t looking for a cheap pair of disposal eyewear. They want quality and believe that you get what you pay for. They are devoted to making a fashion statement and possess the disposable income to do so.

How does a sunglasses store make money?

Sunglass stores, whether online or with a brick and mortar, generate revenue from each pair of glasses sold. Experienced entrepreneurs indicate that, when aligned with the right manufacturer, profit margins are much higher than many other types of retail establishments.

How much can you charge customers?

The average price for a pair of sunglasses is $100 to $350.

How much profit can a sunglasses store make?

Sunglass retailers realize one of the largest profit margins in the fashion industry, charging a markup of up to 1000%. Successful sunglass business owners have reported a profit of $75,000 to $100,000 annually.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Store owners should consider selling additional products in their retail establishment. Accessories that complement the products they currently sell is a great way to increase profit margins and establish the business as an industry leader.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your sunglasses store is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website. If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a sunglasses store business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

Certificate of Occupancy

A sunglasses store business is generally run out of a storefront. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a sunglasses store business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your sunglasses store business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

FInd out what types of insurance your Sunglasses Store needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Sunglasses Store.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a sunglasses store

Regardless of your business model, your marketing campaign will be pretty much the same. Social media is a very affordable way to promote your product, with a reach that extends far and wide. Instagram is an effective way to reach those entrenched in the fashion industry. Experts recommend taking a two-part approach: marketing influencers and analyzing competitors. Couple this with promotional giveaways and gifts and you will have a solid foundation of loyal followers in a short amount of time. Additionally, shopping websites such as Kaboodle and Polyvore are great tools for driving traffic to your website.

How to keep customers coming back

The key to building a solid reputation in the fashion eyewear community is quality product and customer service. Every successful retailer will tell you - word of mouth can make or break you in this business.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

The most fitting owner will have an eye for fashion and design, as well as a clear understanding of what their potential clients are looking for. They genuinely enjoy keeping up with the latest trends and are passionate about sharing their information and experience with those seeking their guidance and knowledge.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a sunglasses store?

Managing a retail business requires a significant amount of work each day. You and your staff will be responsible for:

  • Interacting with customers, addressing any questions and advice they may have.
  • Changing out displays, re-stocking shelves, pricing merchandise, and making sure the shop is clean and free of any hazards.
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with merchandising vendors.
  • Implementing and overseeing of marketing/advertising campaigns.

Additionally, there are a number of administrative duties that must be tended to each day.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful sunglasses store?

While you do not have to be an expert in eyewear, it would prove beneficial to possess knowledge regarding the different shapes, tints, and styles. This will help insure each client walks out the door with the best product for their individual needs. Experience and strength in customer service would also prove beneficial. Those interpersonal skills will additionally assist you in building and maintaining relationships with merchandise distributors - a critical component to your business’ overall success. Experience in the retail industry is recommended, as it can provide invaluable insight into running this type of establishment and understanding the needs of your customers.

What is the growth potential for a sunglasses store?

Studies indicate that, while only 20% of consumers have a need for corrective eyewear, virtually every individual will shop for sunglasses during their lifetime. This significantly expands your pool of potential customers. Additional factors, such as low cost per unit, high profit margins, increasing demand, and low shipping costs leave much room for growth for entrepreneurs considering this as a business venture.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a sunglasses store?

Experienced entrepreneurs in this industry offer the following advice:

  • Conduct thorough research prior to getting started. There are a number of organizations overseas that can ship you the same product at a fraction of the cost, increasing your profit margins.
  • When considering merchandising distributors, choose a supplier that: offers quality products, delivers quality customer service, support, and product delivery, and has a large selection of products to choose from.
  • Remember that product is only part of the equation. Consumers are most drawn to a brand. Make sure your brand sends the message of value and quality.

How and when to build a team

While managing an online-only store can help increase your overall profits, you will want to hire a few employees once the business really gets going. Owners with a storefront should consider building a team from the beginning. There are a number of administrative duties that must be attended to on a daily basis, and the risk for burnout is high. Each employee should be knowledgeable on each product offered and must possess an outward appearance and demeanor that properly represents your brand.

Useful Links

Real World Examples

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