Ever been trying or thinking of starting your own little fashion store or boutique, but every time you try an idea it doesn't come out right or just sounds plain silly? Now you'll know how without having to worry.
Determining the boutique's style
1. Think of the style. What sort of clothing and accessories do you wish to sell in the boutique? There are many possibilities from punk rock and edgy to Elizabethan ball gowns and wedding dresses. Do you want to specialize in fancy, casual, career clothing or party wear? It's important to have a theme to your style, as being too eclectic will discourage customers as they won't be sure what to expect, although you can be eclectic if you run a quality recycled clothing boutique.
2. Consider the cost of the style you'd like to develop for the boutique. Some fashion will cost a great deal more than other fashion. The more detailed, hand sewn and high couture the items, the more expensive your stock will be. On the other hand, if the items are manufactured in bulk for all sizes, they'll cost less.
Dealing with the practicalities of setting up a business
1. Remember at all times that this is a business. While fashion may be your passion, you won't last long if you don't treat it as a business and take the need to keep within a budget and make a profit seriously.
2. Develop your budget. If you are serious about starting a boutique, then make sure you check if your local bank does special start up business loans. You could always borrow from a relative, providing that it is not too big a loan and it is not going to affect the relationship that you have with them now.
The budget needs to cover rent for the store, insurance, power/water, stock, clothing racks/hangers/display units, etc. and such items as lighting, cash registers, card payment facilities, carry bags, advertising, etc. You'll also need money for staff and cleaners.
3. Find out what licensing requirements exist for running the boutique. Talk to your local council/municipality for help on this.
4. Decide whether you'll sell in a store or online. One of the good things about doing your business online is that you can start off there, make a profit, then move to a store when your business is up and running. One of the good things about having a storefront business is that you usually make more profit, but will need to work full time, unless you have the money to spend on employees. A good online business boutique can be run part time, in the evenings, whatever.
5. Find a suitable place to set up the boutique. Think location. If you plan to use a shopfront, you'll need to be where the customers are going to find it easy to get to you and are going to make the effort. Check for parking and local transport, accessibility for all persons and a safe area. It's helpful if people already shop in the area for fashion.
6. Source suppliers. You'll need to find a reliable and affordable source of the fashion going into your boutique. Spend a lot of time researching this aspect and making quality, long-term contacts. It's a really good idea to work with someone who already knows the fashion industry well and is willing to help you to make the right connections. Do plenty of research and talk with the manufacturers, tailors, designers and others, as relevant.