5 Tips for Starting Your Own Head Shop
by Mashum Mollah Small Business 02 August 2021
Nearly 66 percent of American adults have tried marijuana at some point. Half of those people continue to use it regularly, which is great news for the head shop industry. Whether you smoke marijuana, hookah, or fine tobacco, you need someplace to shop for all your smoking gear.
With the variety of ways to consume cannabis and tobacco, a whole industry has formed around the gear for smoking. There’s an intersection between people who smoke, love music, and are into design and smoke shops have found ways to cater to them. While a head shop is a great place for people who love to smoke, it can be a way to build community through the form of a business.
What Is A Head Shop?
It is basically a retails outlet that deals with paraphernalia that is used for consuming tobacco and cannabis. A head shop also sells items related to cannabis culture along with counterculture.
Why Is It Called A Head Shop?
There are several talks on the market about why the shop calls a head shop. Any person who consumes certain substances is referred to as a pothead. As cannabis and tobaccos are also particular substances that are consumed, the shop is named a head shop.
There is another theory. In the year 1967, Jefferson Airplane classic has released “White Rabbit.” If we look at the lyrics, we will mind a line saying “feed your head.” It was believed that it was the reference to expanding one’s mind by using drugs. What do you call your mind in other words? Obviously “head”.
How To Open A Head Shop:
If you’re interested in opening up your own shop, you need to follow some basic rules. In order to get your shop open and to stay ahead of the competition, follow these 5 tips.
1. Come Up With Your Niche:
There are plenty of places to pick up a pack of rolling papers, a glass pipe, or some cleaning solution. There’s nothing particularly special about a head shop that sells these items if they’ve got no style and nothing else to offer.
Get to know who the market is for these items by getting to know your community.
If you live in a college town, you might get a little further with a style that’s a little rough around the edges than you would in a place that’s more conservative. If your neighborhood has a lot of high-end businesses, take the approach of an Apple store and make your design simple, clean, and high-tech.
Get to know who your local patrons would be. Start to talk to other small business owners in the area. Go to meetings of your community board or the local chamber of commerce.
Most of all, be yourself. Few people get the experience of getting to know the owner of small businesses these days. It can be a refreshing experience.
2. Set A Budget:
At the end of the day, your head shop is a business and you need to keep the lights on. You need to have a budget for your business to succeed.
Your first step is to know your minimum operating budget. Figure out how much all of your utilities, rent, insurance, and payroll costs. Make sure you have at least one employee, even if it’s a family member volunteering at first so that you can take breaks and you can afford to get sick.
Figure out what hours other businesses in the area are open. Head shops are best in areas where they can afford to be open a little later.
Add to your budget any technology you need for running transactions, security equipment, and daily operating supplies.
The last piece of your budget should be the cost of supplying your store. Remember, you always need to have more than you can sell to keep things running and never run out of anything. You need to be prepared in case a distributor runs out of something and you need to wait for a backorder.
You should keep a savings account for the business to bail it out of hard weeks.
3. Find A Glass Dealer:
One of the most important things you’ll need to stock your store with is solid, quality, beautiful glass. You can easily get a bunch of low-quality and cheap stock from overseas, but that won’t make you a unique head shop.
Audition some local glassmakers for space in your store. Begin by selling on consignment and then see what your customers respond to the most. Be sure to stock a variety of price points and designs.
Find some good water pipes and a range of small pipes. Be sure that there are fun things for young people and more sophisticated designs for older people. No self-respecting 50-year-old professional wants a skull head bong sitting on their dining table when guests come over for dinner.
Create a Facebook account and run a poll for which designs people like. Ask glass dealers to submit their work and run their designs against one another to determine what to stock. Build relationships and be good to your glassmakers.
Check out what Brothers With Glass has to offer to find some fine-looking stock
4. Give Customers Reasons To Stick Around:
One of the most important things that your head shop can do for your community is to become a place to gather. If you have the skills and the extra funding to get a food license, you can serve coffee drinks and packaged pastries. Find a small way to get more people in your shop beyond just the smokers.
There are many shops that have sold smoke supplies in addition to skateboarding supplies.
Nothing pairs with smoking the way books and records do. If there aren’t many good record shops in the area where you’re opening up, maybe it’s time to make a place for people to shop for records. The vinyl market has grown precipitously for years and if you can give customers a reason to spend an hour hanging out in your shop, they might spend more money.
If you’re more into the literary side of things, it’s easy to stock shelves with inexpensive, high-quality books. Even as Amazon grows, small independent bookstores continue to thrive.
You could give your neighborhood a nice double whammy by being the best local smoke shop and a great book dealer.
5. Opening A Head Shop Should Be Fun:
By its very nature, opening a head shop can be one of the most fun business adventures to go on. You’ll be able to meet so many interesting people, connect with local marijuana activists, and just meet other local business owners. Your shop could become a great place for people to unwind after a long day at work or to hang around on the weekends and pick up supplies.
Don’t forget to build an online presence. Check out our guide to make sure your business makes a splash online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Where Is The Closest Head Shop In the US.A?
Some of the closest headshops in the U.S.A which are also popular at the same time are Smoking Tattoos (New York), Native Roots (Colorado), Secrets Smoke Shop (Chicago, IL), etc.
Q2. How To Open A HeadShop
To start your own head shop, the first thing you need to do is license. Without a license, you cannot proceed with a single step to fulfill your dream. Then open a business account and get registered for the taxes.
Give your business a name, and look for a perfect location. Last but not the least, get develop a marketing plan and you are all set to rock with your headshop.
Q3. Is Headshop Illegal In The U.S.A?
Head shops are legal in the United States until and unless they are selling illegal products. However, there are a number of headshops in the U.S selling unauthorized items and these are not entertained over there.
Q4. Why It is Called Headshop?
The term Headshop in America has derived from “potheads” and “acid heads” from the 1960s. So from the American counterculture perspective, the cannabis or tobacco selling points are called a Headshop.
Q5. Can You Open A Headshop Online?
Yes, you can open and market headshops online provided you are above 18 years and have all the required licenses.
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