If you are planning to open a boutique store, it can prove to be a highly interesting and lucrative venture. However, there are a few things to know before doing so.
You will have to buy the right inventory management software, which will help you keep your stock updated from time to time.
Fashion is one business that will always have customers no matter what the position of the economy is. Hence, if you have passion for fashion and want to start something of your own, nothing will quite work out like opening a boutique store. However, there are a few things to know before opening one. If you are a novice, it is recommended that you work for a boutique to understand its working in and out. Also, it is important that you make a detailed business plan before sourcing funds or completing the other formalities. It will help give vision to your business and enable you to achieve your goals through a set of guidelines. Here is a list of few more things to consider when opening a boutique.
Know Your Niche
There are several different boutiques offering a variety of clothing and accessories. Understand if you want to go for casual wear, party wear, swimwear, maternity wear, sports wear, children’s wear, etc. Decide if you will cater to only men’s or women’s fashion or both. You will have to decide if you will source ready-made clothes or make them yourself. Conceptualizing all this is important even before you start looking for a leased commercial space.
First and foremost, come up with a trendy name for your boutique that will resonate with your stylish customers. You will have to register your business as “doing business as” and also with the IRS to get the EIN (Employer Identification Number). You will also have to check with your local, state, and federal authorities and get relevant licenses and permits.
Getting an Insurance is a Must
You must get the relevant insurance for your business. It should cover general liability, your boutique premises, clothes for sale, the transport vehicle, and workers’ compensation. You would need to protect your premises, goods, and vehicles against any kind of accidents and damages. Also, if an accident occurs on your property involving one of your workers, then the workers’ compensation insurance will come to your rescue. Also, if there is a lawsuit filed against your business, a limited liability insurance will protect your personal belongings.
Understand Your Target Market
Even before you plunge into this business, you must conduct market research to understand who exactly is your target market. For example, if your target market comprised female teenagers, you will have to know what kind of clothes and accessories they would prefer. Also, you may have to design the décor of your boutique accordingly.
Know the Latest Trends
Fashion is one dynamic field that changes very fast. If you keep stock that belongs to the last season or is not trendy enough, forget about making any sales. You must visit malls, other boutiques, read magazines, and search online to know the latest trends. If a customer walks in and asks for the latest skirts, you should not give her a puzzled look.
Walk the Talk
To make an impression on your customer, you must yourself wear one of your designs or sport clothes of the latest trend. In fact, you should come across as a fashionista. This will impress your customers and boost your sales. Also, you must look well-groomed and presentable all the time. Also, offering help to some clients to choose their outfits will create customer loyalty.
There are certain things you need to start a clothing boutique. Apart from clothes and accessories, you will also have to source equipment like mannequins, hangers, full-size mirrors, shelves, cash till, tables, showcases, etc. You should try to get all these from a wholesaler to save on cost. If you are buying a ready-made boutique, buy it with all these equipment. It will be cost-effective for you.
You must have attractive window displays at all times. You may put together your own creative idea or look on the Internet for one. There are many easy and affordable ideas available online. Just remember that you will have to change it according to the flavor of the season. If you have still put up Christmas displays for Valentine’s Day, it’s not going to impress your customers. Remember, your strong visual merchandising is going to attract many to the store. Once you start earning considerable profit, you can actually hire professional display artists.
Sourcing a Place
While leasing a place for your boutique, ensure that it is a commercial area like a shopping mall, shopping street, etc. You must lease a place that has a large space to arrange display and isles to move around. You will also require a restroom, trial room, and inventory room. A considerable space will have to be dedicated to the cash counter. Also, the ambiance of the place should be soothing, and you should have good lighting conditions. Try to keep your boutique clean and tidy to make the customers feel pleasant.
Given the increasing amount of shoplifting these days, it is advisable to install anti-shoplifting devices. It will not only help keep your stock safe, but also protect the belongings of other customers. You can have video surveillance systems or closed-circuit television (CCTV), and add special RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags and labels to all your clothes and accessories. You should install radio frequency systems at the exit door so that they will detect stolen objects.
Find a wholesale supplier who provides trendy clothes and accessories to various boutiques. However, see to it that you are offering something innovative, which is not commonly found in malls. This will ensure that you register a good amount of sales. Try to have multiple suppliers so that you are not overly dependent on one. Suppliers tend to be very busy before holiday seasons, and you may have to seek help of an alternate one.
Undertake Serious Marketing Measures
It is ideal that you invest in a search engine optimized website for your boutique. Also, have dedicated pages for your business on social media networks and update it from time to time with information about your new stock. Encourage people to follow you through freebies, discounts, contests, and giveaways. Pay for Facebook ads to find local customers. Also, send out flyers, put up posters, and advertise in local magazines for your boutique.
Take Your Business Online
Today, many boutiques are also doing online business through websites and have a list of loyal global customers. All you have to do is partner with a good packaging and shipping company. Also, you may have to open an account with PayPal to accept online payment. However, this requires a lot of resources and funds, so you can do it after you are established in your business.
Before you hire sales assistants, ensure that you interview them properly. It is advisable to hire people who have prior sales experience. You can fix their remuneration and offer additional commission if their sales figures cross a certain amount every month. Run a background check on the individuals you choose to hire. If they have a criminal record, you must be aware of it.
You will have to check all the legal jargon in your leasing documents and supplier contracts. Hence, it is advisable that you seek help of a legal professional. Also, you must know about the different types of taxes you will have to pay. Always set aside a certain percentage of profit for reinvesting in business and undertaking expansion. You can even start a chain of stores once your boutique becomes famous.