How to Start a Boutique: Tips and Tricks
Do you know how to start a boutique? It’s a great way to be your own boss, set your own hours, and make a good income. But before you can start selling clothes, jewelry, or other items in your store, there are a few things you need to do first. In this step-by-step guide, we walk you through the process of how to start a boutique from start to finish.
How to Start a Boutique: Tips and Tricks
Starting your own boutique can be a lot of fun, but how do you actually get it started?
Step 1. Choose a name for your boutique & secure all handles, domain names, and a logo.
When choosing a name for your boutique, be sure to pick something easy to say and spell. Do a thorough search on all social media platforms to make sure the name doesn’t already exist. You don’t want to infringe on someone’s trademarked name.
You could end up infringing on someone’s Trademarked name if you’re not checking ahead of time. Make sure to secure all handles, domain names, and a logo for your boutique before moving forward.
As you establish your boutique, be sure to trademark your name to prevent others from using it. This will help you build a strong and recognizable brand that can continue to grow and thrive in the future.
Step 2 – How to Secure Your EIN Number and Sales Tax Permit
Using a federal tax ID with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a great way to protect your personal information and your Social Security number.
You will need to get a business license, as well as talk to an accountant about what type of business structure is best for you. You will also want to get a sales tax permit. This will ensure you’re in compliance with all the appropriate rules and regulations.
If you want to keep your business and yourself out of legal trouble, make sure you file for a state and a local sales tax exemption. This will allow you to file your federal taxes without a problem.
It is mandatory for all businesses to pay taxes, irrespective of their size. Yay, Uncle Sam!
Step 3. Research your customer’s needs & create your unique brand.
Who do you plan on selling your products and services to? Who is your target customer and what are their needs, frustrations, and where do they shop now?
Using Canva, you can create your brand identity. This can help you stand out from your competition as you continue to grow.
Step 4. Set up your Shopify account.
It’s important to have the right tools in place when selling online. Shopify is the most robust e-commerce platform for online boutique owners and is very easy to get started with.
Shopify is a great platform for online businesses of all sizes. They have an extensive app store that can help you customize your shop to fit your specific business needs. Additionally, if you have a brick and mortar location, Shopify can integrate with many POS systems to provide even more reporting options.
Step 5. Order wholesale products to sell.
When sourcing products to sell, it’s important to find quality wholesale brands that will appeal to your target market. Attending a wholesale apparel market is a great way to find vendors and get an idea of what’s available. You can find a list of U.S. and global markets here.
When you’re at the market, take some time to test the quality of the products, build relationships with vendors, and get inspired. Be careful when ordering from overseas vendors without knowing anything about them or the quality of their products.
Preorders can be tricky, as customers may not trust you enough to buy your product before it’s ready. Instead, it’s better to have products ready to ship as soon as you receive an order.
Step 6. Get the right business tools.
You’ll need Quickbooks to track your income and expenses. This is critical in order to ensure that your business is running smoothly and efficiently. Once you have Quickbooks set up, you can choose your e-commerce and point of sale system.
We recommend using Shopify as your e-commerce solution and integrating a point of sale (POS) system that works well with it. You can combine your shopping cart and inventory management with your physical store to streamline your operations. But, most importantly, you need to learn how to use your tools properly so that you can make informed business decisions.
But the most critical step here is using the tools correctly to create reports.
But wait, there’s a lot more to talk about here. What should you NOT DO?
There are some things that you should avoid when starting an online clothing business. These are mistakes that many new business owners tend to make.
Don’t copy other stores.
If you want to stand out from other boutique owners, be the best you that you can be. Instead of trying to imitate other stores, build relationships with other store owners so that you can learn from them.
Build relationships with other boutiques, but never copy anything, including photos, words, poaching customers, posts, terms, brands, or displays.
AVOID: Using stock photography.
Don’t use stock photos if you want to stand out from the crowd. Use your own photos to show off your unique style.
As a style expert, it’s important to have strong photography skills to help your customers recognize your unique perspective. By using your own photos, you can ensure that your customer base knows what sets you apart from the competition.
You don’t want to price yourself too low and create an expensive hobby. AKA buy-in groups.
If you want to have a business that can sustain itself in the long run, you need to price your products at 2.5 times their cost. Pricing them even slightly above wholesale prices is a guaranteed way to turn a hobby into a money pit.
If you want to succeed as a stylist, you’ll have to sell enough to cover your overhead, pay your stylists, and even get a paycheck for yourself. Your clients want someone who is knowledgeable, a leader, and who can give them great styling advice – not someone offering the cheapest prices.
What NOT to do: Price shoppers are the worst and you should never try to build your business on a solid foundation with thought out financials.
AVOID: Expecting it to be simple.
What no one ever mentions is just how tough it can be. The hours you work, the investments, the efforts…and sometimes with little to show for it.
No one tells you how hard this business can be. The time you invest, the money, the effort…and sometimes with very little to show. It can be tough and leave you feeling defeated. But don’t give up!
The people you thought would be there for you during your tough time don’t support you and you’re left feeling anxious at 2am.
Any business venture comes with its own unique set of challenges. Before you decide to open a boutique, please take the time to consider all of your options and create a solid plan for making your business sustainable. Keep in mind that Dreams only work if you do!
How to pick the location for your boutique and design its interior
Start your own business by finding the perfect location and creating a welcoming atmosphere.
One of the most common questions we get from potential boutique owners is how to start one. But it’s actually quite simple.
Choosing a location for your boutique
Location is key when opening a boutique. You’ll want to choose an area with plenty of foot traffic for potential customers. If the area is near public transportation or has lots of car traffic, that’s even better! Accessible parking is also a plus.
If you want to be in a high-traffic area, you will have to pay a higher price. However, you will not need to spend as much money on marketing and advertising.
The location of a boutique is important, as it needs to be easy for customers to access it. If your store is tucked away in an alleyway or is obscured by other buildings, your customers may have a hard time finding it. Choose a place that is easy to find and is visible from the street.
Designing your boutique
When starting a small business, you’ll want to ensure that your store’s design is cohesive with your branding. Incorporate your brand’s logo and colors throughout the store to create a strong sense of brand recognition.
Your shop’s design should be eye-catching and encourage customers to come in, browse, and take photos. Use murals, wallpaper, or window displays to make your store stand out from the rest. Utilize visual merchandising techniques to understand how best to layout your store to encourage spending.
Your retail store should be designed in a way that encourages customers to buy. Learn about how your store’s layout and design affect customer spending.
If you’re thinking about how to start a boutique, the first step is to get your EIN number and sales tax permit. Once you have those secured, then it’s time to start sourcing inventory for your store. Use this guide as a resource to help you through the process so that you can open your doors and start selling sooner than later!