50 Profitable Retail Business Ideas You Can Start With Little Capital

50 Profitable Retail Business Ideas You Can Start With Little Capital

Looking to start a retail business but not quite sure what to start?

The good news is, there are so many opportunities to become an entrepreneur and build an innovative product/service in this line of work.

If you're looking to start your own retail business, there are several low-capital options you can choose from.

We put a list together below of the most profitable retail business ideas you can start today!

Here they are:

1. Start an ecommerce retailing business ($300K/year)

Tom White from Sydney started Breeze Mobility over 3 years ago, a ecommerce retailing business.

  • Revenue: $25,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Sydney

I have a background in digital marketing and running online businesses. I’ve been buying and renovating online businesses for over 12 years, starting with a $50 website about natural toothache relief which I sold for a whopping $200! But whilst this didn’t make me rich it showed me what was possible and I went on to build a small portfolio of online businesses and buy, renovate and sell others.

Treating your existing customers as VIPs will encourage repeat business, reviews, and referrals and it's much easier than finding a new customer!

Before BreezeMobility.com.au I was looking for an opportunity where I could make a bigger impact and build a ‘real’ business I could be proud of. I’m excited about the next few years as I see where I can take the revenue, and the impact Breeze Mobility can make.

how-i-started-a-25k-month-mobility-products-ecommerce

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Tom White, on starting Breeze Mobility ($25,000/month) full story ➜

2. Start a furniture business ($444K/year)

John Humphreys from Austin, Texas, USA started Humphreys over 4 years ago, a furniture business.

  • Revenue: $37,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Since I was a kid I have always had a sense of wonder about the world and the mechanisms behind it. Whether it be a jet engine or a windshield wiper-I have thought about the creative process behind these things since I was 10 years old.

I drew houses as a kid. My dad grew up in a home designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, it was a solar home and it had an odd features. One example is, the entire back wall that was about 100 feet long and 15 feet high comprised of windows that all opened. In front, there were functioning levers that had fans which would draw airflow in and out.

Growing up I thought I wanted to be a pilot. I was described in high school by a classmate as “poetic” which I found offensive. I tried a hand in many things; managing a farm and pre-school, which were two businesses I inherited. This type of work wasn’t for me.

my-story-starting-a-400k-year-handcrafted-furniture-business

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John Humphreys, on starting Humphreys ($37,000/month) full story ➜

3. Start a stationery business ($156K/year)

Ruth Daro from Los Angeles, California, USA started Seniman Calligraphy over 6 years ago, a stationery business.

  • Revenue: $13,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

I always loved creating with my hands and I tend to get carried away with presents and cards during the holidays. That being said, I was content that my passion for drawing and painting would be a minor supporting role while I majored in Interior Architecture and worked as an Interior Designer over the next 4 years after I graduated.

So one day when my then boss passive aggressively asked what day I would like to show up for work that week, I told her ‘how about none?’... and never looked back.

It wasn’t until 2015 where I decided to pick up modern calligraphy as a hobby. Upon admiring all the more established calligraphers’, I realize that working on bespoke custom wedding invitations would allow me to do everything I love and at the same time make a living off of it.

how-i-started-my-own-13k-month-custom-stationery-design-studio

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Ruth Daro, on starting Seniman Calligraphy ($13,000/month) full story ➜

4. Start a grocery store

Examples of a successful grocery store:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a grocery store:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a grocery store ➜

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5. Start a subscription box business ($4.8K/year)

Lindsay Scholz from Saint Louis, Missouri, USA started Vowed Box Co. over 3 years ago, a subscription box business.

  • Revenue: $400/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

I got married in 2016, and if we’re being honest, the entire process was overwhelming – the wedding industry is saturated with ideas and opinions on “how” you should celebrate your big day, but I quickly realized that getting married is not a one-size-fits-all process.

Honestly, my goal was to sell just one box the first week that the website went live, but I ended up selling five!

Leading up to my wedding, my friends had a difficult time finding bridal gifts that aligned with my interests and taste. I had never really dreamed of a big fancy wedding, and I definitely viewed myself as a non-traditional bride. On the flipside, I also had a hard time finding gifts and keepsakes for my bridesmaids – we were all a little bit quirky, and a lot of the overly feminine and girly gifts in the market just weren’t for us!

how-i-started-a-gift-box-business-for-non-traditional-brides

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Lindsay Scholz, on starting Vowed Box Co. ($400/month) full story ➜

6. Start an electronics store ($48K/year)

Jeff Olson from Denver, Colorado, USA started LEVDisplay almost 4 years ago, a electronics store.

  • Revenue: $4,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

I moved to Denver in 2011 after graduating from college and started working in software sales.

My goal was to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible and then start my own business. Entrepreneurship was always the end game, but I wasn’t sure about what business I wanted to start yet.

By 2014 I had paid off my $30K student debt and was feeling pretty burned out. I quit my job (I was working for a company called Autodesk at the time) and got a part-time bartending gig. I had worked in restaurants through college and knew that bartending was the easiest way to earn cash while figuring out what kind of business I wanted to build.

starting-an-amazon-business-as-a-bartender

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Jeff Olson, on starting LEVDisplay ($4,000/month) full story ➜

7. Start a food truck ($18M/year)

Jeffrey Mora from Los Angeles, California, USA started Food Fleet over 9 years ago, a food truck.

  • Revenue: $1,500,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

We started the food truck business in 2012.

We kept finding it very difficult to find locations to operate. We had a booker that we used to find our locations but fell short and we let her go. I took over our booking and found that most people did not want to book just one truck, not only that they were upset that most of the time the trucks didn’t show up or were late.

We learned the real need was not only helping the trucks but providing a turnkey service for the corporations. This was a game-changer for us, we were really struggling financially.

how-i-took-food-trucks-corporate-and-built-a-18m-business

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Jeffrey Mora, on starting Food Fleet ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

8. Start a cosmetic store business

Examples of a successful cosmetic store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a cosmetic store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a cosmetic store business ➜

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9. Start a news stand business

Examples of a successful news stand business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a news stand business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a news stand business ➜

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10. Start a sewing and alteration business ($12K/year)

Saara Hafeez from New York, New York, USA started ALTRD about 3 years ago, a sewing and alteration business.

  • Revenue: $1,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 0
  • Location: New York, New York, USA

We’ve been friends for awhile - we met right out of college in New York and stayed close even though we took fairly different professional paths.

Saara worked in the corporate world for a number of years before moving to Mexico where she launched a jewelry business aimed at rehabilitating sex trafficking survivors. Stephanie was a business consultant before going to law school and becoming a corporate lawyer; along the way, she launched an argan oil company that empowers women in Morocco.

these-two-founders-started-an-on-demand-clothing-alterations-startup

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Saara Hafeez, on starting ALTRD ($1,000/month) full story ➜

11. Start a pet store ($240K/year)

Mike Leon from Orlando, Florida, USA started Bike Tow Leash about 18 years ago, a pet store.

  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 1
  • Location: Orlando, Florida, USA

I am a mechanical engineer graduate from Georgia Tech. My wife Betsy, GA Tech EE graduate, and I met her first day at school. We married after graduation. We have two daughters Jessica and Sam. After GA Tech I developed airline products up until when the 9-11 terrorist attacks occurred.

After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Betsy and the girls, then 5 and 8, met Cindy at Publix getting groceries. She had a black Lab puppy in a light blue cape with her. From that encounter, my family and I volunteered raising service dog puppies for individuals with disabilities as a way of giving back to our community and country. In honor of those lost, we named our first puppy Tribute.

Raising service dog puppies is a wonderful volunteer opportunity, which ultimately provides companion animals to individuals who suffer from seizures, or who have mobility, vision or hearing impairments.

how-i-started-a-6-figures-business-selling-a-dog-accessory

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Mike Leon, on starting Bike Tow Leash ($20,000/month) full story ➜

12. Start a personalized gift business ($1.2M/year)

Dmitriy Peregudov from Arlington, Massachusetts, USA started GiftBasketsOverseas.com about 14 years ago, a personalized gift business.

  • Revenue: $100,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 60
  • Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Half of my life ago (23 years ago) I immigrated from Moscow, Russia to the United States with an MS in Engineering and was trying to figure out the best way to leverage the degree for my career in the US. I’ve worked in several tech jobs, mostly focusing on Software development and picked up web programming on the way.

While I enjoyed my tech jobs I felt there are more interesting ways to apply my skills. At the same time I’ve seen my father being miserable after he was laid off from his highly paid Hi-tech job, I simply felt there got to be a better way to make a living.

So a friend of mine from University and I launched our first website, initially a hobby business we named flowers2moscow.com - servicing just our home city of Moscow. The idea came from my own negative experience trying to send flowers back home to my girlfriend and to my parents. Product and service experience were far from perfect, so our first website was born.

how-i-started-a-100k-month-corporate-personal-gift-baskets-company

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Dmitriy Peregudov, on starting GiftBasketsOverseas.com ($100,000/month) full story ➜

13. Start an antique business ($180K/year)

Tim Showalter from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA started Hoosierboy Restorations LLC about 8 years ago, a antique business.

  • Revenue: $15,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 4
  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

At 10-years-old I saw a bicycle in a neighbor’s trash can and asked if I could have it. I ended up with two broken bikes and combined them to make one, which I rode and eventually sold.

In junior high school, I took woodshop and fell in love with woodworking. Evenings, my father, the school superintendent who had started out as a shop teacher, would take me to the school’s woodshop and we’d build furniture and Christmas presents and fix things.

Today, my career is based around restoring old bicycles, pedal cars, Coke machines as well as other items. I previously worked at Beech Grove schools doing education technology, but began to get burned out and wanted to do something that I really enjoyed. Around that same time a TV show called “American Restoration” was on the History Channel, and it inspired me. I thought, ‘Wow, that guy [on TV] is making a living at restorations, maybe I can do the same”. So I just kind of blindly cashed in my 401k and jumped into it not knowing what to do or how to run a business or anything like that. I started in my mom’s garage, and I put up a website right away.

how-i-left-a-25-year-career-to-start-a-15k-month-antiques-restoration-business

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Tim Showalter, on starting Hoosierboy Restorations LLC ($15,000/month) full story ➜

14. Start a perfume business

Examples of a successful perfume business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a perfume business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a perfume business ➜

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15. Start a bakery

Examples of a successful bakery:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a bakery:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bakery ➜

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16. Start a mobile store business

Examples of a successful mobile store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a mobile store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a mobile store business ➜

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17. Start a kids store business

Examples of a successful kids store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a kids store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a kids store business ➜

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18. Start a coffee cart

Examples of a successful coffee cart:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a coffee cart:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a coffee cart ➜

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19. Start a butcher shop business

Examples of a successful butcher shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a butcher shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a butcher shop business ➜

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20. Start a plant nursery shop business

Examples of a successful plant nursery shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a plant nursery shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a plant nursery shop business ➜

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21. Start an auto parts shop business

Examples of a successful auto parts shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a auto parts shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an auto parts shop business ➜

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22. Start an ice cream shop business

Examples of a successful ice cream shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a ice cream shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an ice cream shop business ➜

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23. Start a ladies garment shop business

Examples of a successful ladies garment shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a ladies garment shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a ladies garment shop business ➜

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24. Start a retail pharmacy business ($6.18K/year)

Examples of a successful retail pharmacy business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a retail pharmacy business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a retail pharmacy business ➜

And for some real world inspiration, give Misty Dupree's story on creating Medical Bag Tags, LLC a read:

My name is Misty Dupree and I own Medical Bag Tags, LLC. I create customizable medical and allergy awareness bag tags for your purses, backpacks, lunch boxes, and more! I desire to help bridge the gap between the medical community and everyday folks by raising awareness of medical and allergy conditions. My Bag Tags can help in emergencies where someone may not be able to speak for themselves.

I started Medical Bag Tags, LLC in October 2018. Shortly after I started my business I was hit with the loss of a child, and within 3 years I managed to also go through the loss of a marriage, endured a year of covid, became a single mom to my 8 beautiful children, and moved cross-country back home where I would have the support I needed to get back on my feet.

During the darkest of dark days, I managed to keep my business afloat, getting small orders here and there. I did manage to pull myself out of the muck and get my LLC and Registered Trademark too. I am now on the other side of the years of pain and am looking forward to putting more time into my business and seeing it grow.

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Misty Dupree, on starting Medical Bag Tags, LLC ($515/month) full story ➜

25. Start a restaurant

Examples of a successful restaurant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a restaurant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a restaurant ➜

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26. Start a fruits store business

Examples of a successful fruits store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a fruits store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a fruits store business ➜

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27. Start a flower shop business ($1.44M/year)

Examples of a successful flower shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a flower shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a flower shop business ➜

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28. Start a fashion accessories store ($621K/year)

Examples of a successful fashion accessories store:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a fashion accessories store:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a fashion accessories store ➜

And for some real world inspiration, give Jen Fox's story on creating Foxly Handmade a read:

I'm Jen, and I own FOXLY Handmade, a handmade bag company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I work with artists to develop illustrations that I then turn into useful, practical pouches. Think of them as little pieces of portable, functional art!

Now, I've transitioned my business almost entirely online, and my website sales have been growing month over month. I anticipate that I will triple last year's sales by the end of this year, even without the in-person events I used to rely on.

how-i-started-a-3-5k-month-handmade-bag-company

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Jen Fox, on starting Foxly Handmade ($3,500/month) full story ➜

29. Start a kitchenware and home essentials shop business

Examples of a successful kitchenware and home essentials shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a kitchenware and home essentials shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a kitchenware and home essentials shop business ➜

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30. Start a bags store business

Examples of a successful bags store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a bags store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bags store business ➜

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31. Start an organic food store

Examples of a successful organic food store:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a organic food store:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an organic food store ➜

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32. Start a pizza store business

Examples of a successful pizza store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a pizza store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a pizza store business ➜

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33. Start a toys store business

Examples of a successful toys store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a toys store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a toys store business ➜

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34. Start a xerox shop business

Examples of a successful xerox shop business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a xerox shop business:

Learn more about starting a xerox shop business ➜

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35. Start an aquarium house business

Examples of a successful aquarium house business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a aquarium house business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an aquarium house business ➜

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36. Start a departmental store business

Examples of a successful departmental store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a departmental store business:

Learn more about starting a departmental store business ➜

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37. Start a crockery store business

Examples of a successful crockery store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a crockery store business ➜

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38. Start a hydroponic store business

Examples of a successful hydroponic store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a hydroponic store business ➜

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39. Start a fuel station business

Examples of a successful fuel station business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a fuel station business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a fuel station business ➜

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40. Start a tyre store business

Examples of a successful tyre store business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a tyre store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a tyre store business ➜

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41. Start a two-wheeler showroom business

Examples of a successful two-wheeler showroom business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a two-wheeler showroom business ➜

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42. Start an apparel boutique business

Examples of a successful apparel boutique business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an apparel boutique business ➜

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43. Start a fabric store business

Examples of a successful fabric store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a fabric store business ➜

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44. Start a footwear store business

Examples of a successful footwear store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a footwear store business ➜

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45. Start a liquor shop business

Examples of a successful liquor shop business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a liquor shop business ➜

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46. Start an used book store business

Examples of a successful used book store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an used book store business ➜

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47. Start a health food store business

Examples of a successful health food store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a health food store business ➜

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48. Start a gadget accessory store business

Examples of a successful gadget accessory store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a gadget accessory store business ➜

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49. Start a workwear retailer business

Examples of a successful workwear retailer business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a workwear retailer business ➜

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50. Start a sports wear store business

Examples of a successful sports wear store business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a sports wear store business ➜

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Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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