Many fashion enthusiasts, like yourself, dream of one day opening a fashion boutique. Thankfully it seems like now is the perfect time to make those dreams come true! It has been estimated that the fashion industry’s revenue will exceed £60 billion by the end of this year. However, a question you may be asking is: how do you go about starting a fashion boutique? Where do you begin? If you’re looking to have your boutique up and running soon, here are some very helpful tips to keep in mind.
- Research and understand the different types of boutiques
Generally, there are four main types of boutiques: retail, buy and sell, franchisee, and consignment boutiques. As a potential boutique owner, you must know which kind of boutique business you would like to operate. If you are a talented tailor or seamstress, you can run a production house, where you would be in charge of making clothes and selling them.
Buy and sell boutiques involve buying goods at wholesale prices from manufacturers and selling them at a higher cost to customers. This type of boutique operation is perhaps the most profitable, but it can be very capital intensive. It also involves a lot of relationship building, as you would have to develop healthy business with wholesalers to purchase goods at significantly lower prices.
Franchisee boutiques usually operate under a large brand name and will often sell clothing items of that brand. Like the retail boutique, it also involves a lot of capital, as you would have to pay a franchise fee to a company. The benefit of this type of boutique is that you will be selling clothing items that already have brand awareness, and you will benefit from company advertisements.
Consignment boutiques sell goods from other designers and take a percentage of their share when the clothing item is sold. Under this model, you do not require a lot of capital, and your profit margins would be much lower than the other models mentioned. Nonetheless, it is a good option for potential boutique owners with little capital.
Knowing the type of business you want to run will help you develop an excellent strategic plan for your business’s growth, so keep this in mind.
- Location matters
Your choice of location has the power to make or break your business. However, sometimes your budget can limit your choices. For example, a shopping centre might be the perfect location for your store because of the type of clothes you sell. But even though you might have more foot traffic in such a busy area, the cost of renting a space there can be out of your budget. Nonetheless, you might be able to find a good middle ground that is generous on both rent and your inflow of customers.
The most important thing is to select your location based on the demographics of your target audience and identify key areas where they hang out, live or work in. Eventually, you will find a suitable place that accommodates your products at a much more affordable option. Ensure that you conduct thorough research on all possible locations before deciding.
- Plan your store layout
Once you have a location, it’s time to plan your store layout. Your layout should make your customers feel comfortable shopping through your boutique. Décor plays an important role, too, and the colours you use can influence your customers’ buying decisions. Your boutique’s layout should also include security features such as security cameras and a well-lit car park, among many others. For better results, it would be best to invest in a surveillance system that can help you monitor your business remotely when you are out of the store. The Spectur 4G security camera, for example, can help you monitor your business in real-time. Your customers will feel safe shopping and doing business with you, but you can also have the peace of mind to run your business.
Ensure that your boutique layout has break rooms for staff, changing rooms for customers, and a lavatory. Your store should be well-lit and should also have adequate space to accommodate traffic, so keep this in mind.
- Define your boutique’s operational procedures
Operating a boutique is just like any other business. It would help if you had an idea of how you would like to run it. Consider creating policies on how you intend to perform certain daily tasks like bookkeeping and inventory management. It would help if you also had policies on customer relations, refunds for purchased goods, cash register management, and maintaining cash flow.
- Complete all business legalities
You must also decide on a name for your boutique and ensure that your business’s name has not been trademarked with another company. Once that’s fine, you must register your business and choose to start your business as a partnership, sole proprietorship, or limited liability company. You would need to open a business account with a bank. You must make sure that your business account can process debit and credit transactions, especially if you will not rely solely on cash for payments.
Another useful tip is to keep all important documentation concerning your business, including your business licence, insurance, tax documents, and other permits. You will need to prove that your business is an established entity to credible suppliers, as it helps you get more items at more discounted rates. If you plan on using online platforms, you must also create social media profiles in the name of your boutique so that it is not taken by someone else at the last minute. You must also add your business’s name on Google My Business.
If this process is too cumbersome, you can work with lawyers and financial advisors to guide you through the process.
So, there you have it! Some of the best tips to help you get started in the fashion industry. However, starting is a small part of the work. You must be ready to maintain your boutique to keep it running for as long as possible.