How to Open a Boutique
So you’re thinking of opening your own boutique, huh? Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step into being a successful business owner. We know you’ve got an idea, and oh—you’ve got passion. We’re just skimming the surface here with a few tips on how to begin your store’s business plan.
Whether it’s a niche boutique offering hard-to-find, vintage shoes or an online wholesale clothing store, keep reading for 5 things to ponder, plan and do before opening your very own.
1. Location, Location, Location
It’s no secret that the traffic around your physical location will considerably impact the amount of customers who visit you—and ultimately your sales and profit. Research the area you’re considering. Is it up-and-coming? Is this a neighborhood full of folks with disposable incomes? What are the demographics of this part of the city? Check out this easy-to-read guide by Entrepreneur that should help. Also, think about how your product type will work within your building. If you are only selling vintage kicks, you don’t need an expansive warehouse space.
If you’re going the e-commerce route, smart choice! According to Statista, global e-retail sales clocked in at 1.9 billion U.S. Dollars, and forecasts show a projected growth of up to 4.06 trillion U.S. Dollars by 2020. The future of online sales is bright. Oh, and Statista also stated that, in a 2016 survey, 11% of people who responded shared that they use their phones or tablets to online shop about once a week. Make your website mobile-friendly! We love Squarespace for creating gorgeous websites with ease.
2. Who’s Your Customer? And Who Are You As A Brand?
So, you’ve figured out the location. Who visits that neighborhood? If the answer to these questions isn’t who you want to sell to, go back to the drawing board when it comes to location. If the facts align, let’s dive deeper into your customer.
The age especially of your customer will play a big role in how you merchandise, market, what types of products you keep in stock and most importantly—your brand. If you’re drawing a blank in these aspects, consult a brand development specialist, a copywriter, a marketing guru. Knowledge is power when it comes to getting to know your customer, gaining their trust and building your brand’s personality.
3. Create a Budget—And Don’t Budge It
We apologize for the wordplay. But seriously, the quickest way to get discouraged with a new business and start off on the wrong foot is overspending after you have created a budget. There are much more costs than buying/renting a building, display materials, employee salaries, benefit packages and wholesale clothing purchases. Formulate a business plan and include every single expense you can muster. Use free apps and tools specifically designed to help create and track commercial budgets, like Scoro and Float.
4. Embrace Documentation Nation
Whether you leafing through a 150-page lease on a commercial lease or wondering if your online store’s name is trademarked, you should get an expert’s opinion. We recommend hiring a lawyer that specializes in said topics and preparing questions for them. Don’t forget to include this cost in your budget! And don’t let these obstacles diminish your passion. Stick with it—because you’ve got a great business idea.
5. Creativity Is Key
Last but not least, you’ve got to stay creative in your efforts to plan, start and allow your business to thrive. Buy a book about business ideas. Google everything. Email a business owner of a company you wish you owned. Use any and all connections you may have, and think of how they may help you during any step of your process. This could be a freelance wordsmith who can assist your marketing efforts via social media, a visual merchandiser who creates and takes photos of stunning displays, or a fellow CEO who started their business from scratch and has been through it all before you. Your friends, family and former peers can help you more than you might think.
What sets your business apart? What has been a hurdle you’ve had to jump when starting your business? Tell us in the comments below!
My hurdle or obstacle when I had my boutique was I underpriced my inventory. I felt like that would bring in customers and it did…but there wasn’t much profit. I made just the required amount to pay the expenses of my boutique and a little over. Had I stuck to my original prices and didn’t lean, I would have profited a lot more. I still enjoyed my own boutique. I gained a ton of experience and the next one I open I will be better prepared.
Do you sell wholesale to resellers? Rebecca Webb, 3177142131, firstname.lastname@example.org
Can we use your pictures for our own website? I am just thinking about starting my very own online boutique.
These are helpful tips. I’m excited to get started.