For fashion lovers, there is nothing more exciting than opening a clothing boutique. With proper preparation and loads of hard work, one can make dream of opening a boutique a reality.
By Ademola Alawiye
Boutiques are small stores that usually have a specific sales focus. For most, a boutique will sell clothing or accessories. Put differently, boutiques are small businesses that offer personalised customer care and a more thorough shopping experience than a larger store.
Experts say before opening a boutique, it is important to figure out what type of items you’ll be selling. This will determine the location of the store, what financing you’ll need and who your competitors will be. In-depth research of these areas will be necessary at the business planning stage.
Of course, a boutique like any other business, will have a better chance of succeeding with planning and research. Whether done by yourself or a consulting firm, the business plan is essential to organisation and financing. A full plan will include licensing information, tax identification forms, financial projections, mission statements and examinations of nearby competition. Experts say because a boutique is small and more vulnerable to economic upheavals, good research can be a security blanket in the face of uncertain times. According to them, the following steps should be followed to set up and improve the sales of the business.
Learn everything you can about your industry
The best way to do this is to work in the clothing industry, either at a boutique, a design house or a clothing manufacturing business.
Decide what kind of clothing you will sell in your boutique
Will you design and manufacture your own clothing, or sell items designed and made by others? If you plan to feature your own designs, begin researching where you will have these items made, and what the manufacturing costs will be.
Choose your location
Make sure you choose an area that will provide the type of traffic you expect to shop in your store. If you plan to sell expensive, designer clothing, you’ll want to set up shop in an area that can support this type of store. It’s also useful to look for locations that will allow for lots of walk-in traffic, such as in strip malls or downtown shopping districts.
Secure the financing that you will need for your business
This could involve getting a business loan from a bank, borrowing money from family, or utilising your own savings. If you plan to apply for business loans, you’ll need to prepare a business plan with solid financial projections.
Set up your boutique
This will require either making the clothing you will sell or arranging manufacturing by others. Get any required business licenses from your town or state. This is also a good time to set up sales and income tax accounts. Open your doors for business. Let all of your friends and family know about your boutique and have them spread the word.
Stock the boutique
Once you’ve planned the store, the next step will be stocking it. The buying process sounds like fun, but it can be complicated and easy to mess up. When first opening a boutique, it’s better to under buy than over buy. Most retail items have a shelf life, especially clothing, and discount sales to get rid of extra items can eat away at profits. Purchase sparingly, unless the manufacturer has a very limited production run of a particular line. Find wholesalers at reputable trade shows or through trade associations and merchant groups.