Some people have a great passion for fashion. These are people who have wardrobes full of unique clothes, with the most trending and traditional items of all the present and past years. Mostly they are the people in the friend circle who always rock and look fabulous the way they carry their styles. They are the people with whom all the friends discuss the latest and upcoming fashion.
If you are one of those people, consider turning your passion for fashion into reality and start boutique.
How to start a clothing boutique?
For this, you don’t have to be a famous designer, a celebrity, or a model to have a profession of working and styling others with beautiful garments. You can get more of these opportunities just by starting a boutique!
Like many other businesses, starting your boutique doesn’t happen overnight. But with the positive approach, this challenge becomes easy, exciting, and inspiring to take on.
Here are 15 essential steps of how to start a boutique
1. Explicate your idea
2. Make a Business plan
3. Assess your Budget
4. Search for your space
5. Build your team
6. Find your suppliers
7. Set up Pricing
8. Advertise and brand yourself
9. Market your business
10. Sell your Product
11. Keep your Customer satisfied
12. Analyze your Business
13. Make your business grow
14. Invest in yourself
15. Plan for the future
EXPLICATE YOUR IDEA:
Starting a clothing boutique is a dream come true for a person who has a passion for clothing. To start a boutique, you need an idea of what you want to sell, whom you want to sell, who your target audience is, or at least in which market you are going to enter. Do a complete research about existing companies. To make a business successful, it must solve a problem, offer something the market wants, and fulfill customer needs. There are several ways to identify these needs, including research and focus groups.
Learn and understand what current brand leaders are selling and figure out how you can do it better than your competitors. Delivering something which others don’t deliver means you got a fantastic idea.
MAKE A BUSINESS PLAN:
Once you have done with your boutique idea. Put first things first, before searching your boutique location and its products. You should have your business plan in your hand. This outline will help you set your short term as well as your long term goals and everything regarding your initial earnings and expenses too.
A well-established business plan sets you up for success by clearly defining your barriers to strike throughout your business growth process. This plan helps partners and potential investors understand your mission/vision and the opportunities and risks associated with it.
ASSESS YOUR BUDGET:
Starting a clothing boutique doesn’t require much money, but if you don’t manage your money wisely, it doesn’t matter how fashionable freak you are. You will require some initial investment to grow your boutique idea and the ongoing expenses before you get a profit.
Make a spreadsheet that estimates the startup cost for your boutique (equipment, legal fees, market research, branding, license and permits, property leases, insurance, trademarking, inventory, grand opening events, etc.) as well as precedes your expenses to keep your business running for at least the next 12 months (utilities, rent, production, supplies, marketing, and advertising, your salary, employee salaries, and travel expenses, etc.
These are all the initial investment you will require for your boutique business
There are several ways to fund your boutique business because you have a rough number in your mind, including small business loans or grants, financing, crowdfunding, and angel investors.
Bootstrapping the business off the ground and using the resources as little as necessary to start your clothing boutique. You will find that the combination of the paths mentioned above works best. Though, the goal here is to work with the options and setting up the resources by creating a plan that will get your boutique business off the ground.
SEARCH FOR YOUR SPACE:
Where are you going to put all your boutique items when you get it on your hands? Of course! On the back of your store. Searching for your business’s location is very important for your business operations, whether you will have your home as an office, a private or shared office place, or a retail location. One should keep an eye on the location right at the moment when getting your budget ready. That will give you enough time to check out different locations, select one, and set up your lease contract.
Space of the boutique is one of the factors which will decide the success of your business idea. Selecting the store in a posh area and big malls have massive rents, but the store will target the frequent buyers compared to the store in a residential area where there are fewer customers, but the rent will be affordable for the startup.So the selection of the store will ultimately depend on your budget.
The best criteria for selecting a location for your boutique is analyzing from where your customer shops.
BUILD YOUR TEAM:
Now its the time you are getting ready to start a boutique. Managing a business all on your own is a challenging task. You need an excellent team to help you run your boutique. Here you don’t need so many employees but start adding a few employees to your team.
There should be people with some experience of sale and of course with the mindset of fashion too.
Define the role and responsibilities of each employee so that they can work efficiently on their assigned tasks. Motivate your employees by appraising their work and encourage them to work as a team.
FIND YOUR SUPPLIERS:
To shop for your boutique, start listing your most liked brands which you wear, and would love to support. Make a note of everything their price, practices of production and company values
It’s better to align your boutique with some other brands’ practices
Running a boutique business can be overwhelming; probably, you and your team are not going to do it all on your own. At this point approaching third-party vendors is a viable option. Every business industry from HR to business phone systems exists to collaborate you and help you run the business
Start narrowing down the options once you have made your list. Consider the supplier, which is easier to approach in terms of distance and shipping cost. Also, consider how many other competitors may be carrying the same material.
Whomever you decide to partner with and whatever the number of vendors you end up having, you should try to differentiate your boutique business with your unique selling point, which no other boutique has.
READ MORE: IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON EXPORT OF PAKISTAN
SET UP PRICING:
The bottom line for how to start a boutique is you should charge what you are worth.
There are so many strategies involved in setting up the prices, but you need to figure out what pricing strategy work for your boutique business
Setting the premium price works well to run a small business. That will work when you show your potential buyers why your product is worth the higher price. After communicating the value, you need to deliver on it! Make it your practice to make your boutique items and services worth ten times what you are charging your customers. That’s how you meet their expectations, make loyal customers and earn word of mouth marketing because your buyers are so happy with their buying experience and the value they receive in terms of the quality you are providing
ADVERTISE AND BRAND YOURSELF:
Running a thriving clothing boutique doesn’t only on the accessories and amount of clothes you are selling but also on how you advertise your brand. Create a logo so that your customers can quickly identify your brand. To attract customers, you need to advertise what you have in your store to offer your customers. Advertise and reach your potential buyers through multiple channels as much as possible and be creative so that your brand will stand out from your competitors
Advertise and market your brand through newspaper ads, direct mails, fliers.
A shop website is one of the most important things, and this will become the foundation for all your marketing campaigns. Having a website for your boutique means you have a place for your potential customers to welcome as they shop online. It will connect you with your existing customers too.
MARKET YOUR BUSINESS:
There are several activities and marketing materials that you can choose to run a successful and profitable business.
To attract the passing customers to your boutique, display the eye-catching signs. An easy to read typeface with bright colors such as bright pink posters and with black wordings on it will impulsively take everyone’s attention. Promote sales and offers to attract new customers. Some common types of sales promotion include buying one and getting one free, buying one, and getting the second one at half price.
Plan a grand opening event. Make the event attractive by hiring a band or local musician to perform at it. So that people passing by can walk in and get to know about your boutique opening
SELL YOUR PRODUCT:
Selling is an art of creating a product or service that can benefit the Customer’s needs and desires by delivering the value of the product to your customers
know your product: Imagine each question that your Customer may ask you about the product and prepare yourself for their answers
clarify your offering in a sentence: Summarize everything into a brief explanation that can grab your customers interest and make them think, “hmm, this product surely benefit me.”
breaking the ice with customers: The way the salesperson can connect with the customers is also very important. The direct salesperson should always greet the customers with a smile and talk them nicely
KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS SATISFIED:
Customer satisfaction and loyalty are some of the most important factors to keep your business running. As a boutique owner, you don’t just want new customers but also want to retain your existing customers. If your customers are satisfied, they will make purchases from you again and become loyal. But if they are not satisfied with the products you sell they may share the negative feedback with other people
If you make your current customers happy and satisfied, then your chances of getting the new one will get bigger. Your business will most likely spread to the world by your loyal customers
ANALYZE YOUR BUSINESS:
Once you establish your boutique and running it well, you may be inclined to continue to run things as they are. Here is the time to plan again. After starting the boutique early stages, you should review your business progress regularly. Identify your product market position and decide where you want to take your boutique business next. You need to make necessary changes to your business plan with new strategies in your mind and introduce the developments which you have noted. Below mentioned are some essential points to analyze your business
⦁ Highlight your strength and weaknesses
⦁ what actions you need to implement
⦁ Conduct a market analysis
⦁ Conduct Customer analysis
⦁ Conduct a competitor analysis
MAKE YOUR BUSINESS GROW:
Once your business is established, you need to effectively attract customers and clients to promote your boutique because customer perception can make or break your business. If customers are happy with your product they will appraise you by social media or through word of mouth similarly, they mess it up even faster if they are not satisfied
To grow your business faster depends on how happy and satisfied your customers are with their experience of buying from your boutique
INVEST IN YOURSELF:
In the early stages of your boutique. You will identify a minimal profit margin or no margin at all. So the money you will make from your business should go directly towards helping your boutique grow.
Investing in the startup will accelerate the growth, so it is necessary to invest in the early stages to proliferate heavily.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Once you have accomplished with your short term goals and done with the startup activities, you will have the most necessary bases covered. Next step is to identify and work on your long term goals.
Now regularly assess your performance against the business plans, strategies, and targets that you have set, you are more likely to meet your objectives. Always keep your plan updated by reviewing the progress every three to six months. That will keep you focused on your business goals and show you the right direction to grow your business.
BY: SHUMAILA SUBHAN