Do you want to start a designer clothing store or fashion boutique business? But don’t know how to or where to start? Find here a complete step-by-step guide with a business plan sample on how to start a boutique business. Also, the article includes the cost of the business, boutique supplies, and online operation.
Basically, the boutique is a word that closely related to lifestyle or innovative goods. Sometimes these are handmade or machine-made. However, boutique items are designer goods and often come with a high price for the upmarket audience. Generally, boutiques cater to the small upscale market niche.
As a business related to creativity, the business is perfect for creative individuals. Also, the business is perfect for professional fashion designers. Sometimes, a boutique helps them to showcase their innovation and creativity to their clients.
Boutique Business Market Analysis
The success of the boutique industry heavily depends on micro and macroeconomic factors. Generally, the clothing and apparel boutique consists of different types of products. These are women’s clothing, men’s clothing, children’s clothing, footwear, and accessories.
Broadly, the industry includes small retail stores that offer a limited range of apparel and accessories. The industry is defined as single-establishment stores only. Generally, boutiques sell designer clothing materials or they may sell a mix of brands that are specifically catered to the local market.
As the boutiques cater to high-end or niche markets, it is only a business for the metro cities. Moreover, the location has a high population density of people who have high purchasing capacity.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Boutique Business?
Opening a boutique is a cash-intensive business. However, the exact cost of opening a boutique depends on several factors. First of all, it depends on the business model. Whether you are opening a brick-and-mortar store or online boutique or a boutique from home.
However, there are several cost aspects that are almost the same in every case. The first thing is supplies or inventory. The second thing is the cost of securing a space. If you start an online boutique then the cost of having the domain name, hosting, and store establishment. Then the cost of having permission and license from the Local Authority.
You also need to purchase business insurance to protect you and your business both. Finally, the working cost like utility bills, staffing, transport, and other operational costs. So, at the time of crafting the financial plan, you must consider these cost aspects carefully.
3 Most Successful Boutique Business Models
Open a Boutique at Home
Opening a boutique at home is a great choice for both passionate and professional fashion designers. Simply, you can operate the business in two ways. If you live in a residential complex, you can consider turning your drawing room into a boutique. And in that case, you can only cater to the local consumers.
Another great option is dropshipping. You can sign up for an eBay store and a Yahoo store. And can operate your boutique dropshipping business from home even without keeping any inventory.
Broadly, the online boutique operating includes two major aspects. One is online store maintenance and technicalities. Another is procuring supplies and delivery. If you have strong confidence in your product, you can definitely consider this option. There are several reputed companies including Shopify who provides online store building facility for the small store owners
Boutique Retail Store
A brick-and-mortar boutique business is the most profitable option for small entrepreneurs. Also, you can consider opening a store as a franchise partner of a reputed brand. In the remaining portion of this article, we will discuss the 15 steps to start a boutique business successfully.
How to Write A Boutique Business Plan
Regardless of the business size and model, you must craft a business plan. If you can’t do it yourself, you can take the help of business plan writing software solutions. Preparing the business plan is not only mandatory for getting finance but also opening and running the business with fewer mistakes. Here we list down the basic aspects of creating a boutique business plan
Though you can craft this page, at last, this is the first page of every business plan. Craft the content page clearly without any spelling or grammar mistakes. Generally, this page contains the company name, logo, and catchline (if any). Format the page number in a consistent way.
This is the most important section of the entire Business Plan because most readers will find the answers to their questions in this summary. Still, this summary of your plan should not be more than two to three pages long.
Management & Organization
This segment, explains the legal form of your business. Additionally, list key management positions, including primary job responsibilities. Also, identify the board of directors/advisory board members, including primary contributions expected. Also, include the documents of the process of recruiting and selecting employees.
Products & Services
In this segment, describe the product and service in plain language (not too technical). If possible, use specific terms. Also, provide evidence that the product/service is technologically feasible. Additionally, identify the unique features and special benefits. Moreover, try to explain product/service liabilities and potential solutions.
Marketing Plan with Pricing & Competitive Analysis
In this segment, you must mention the current market size and growth potential of the industry. Also, you can discuss the industry trends and opportunities associated with each. Additionally, you must clarify the direct, indirect, and future competition. Describe the competitive advantages also. Mention your target market and size. Address the pricing strategy. If possible, include a price sheet. You may include the volume and special pricing information (if any).
In the operation plan segment, mention the control systems. Include the risk management and disaster plan. Also, include the document workflow and related accounting processes. If possible include an HR or employee manual.
This is the most important portion of the business plan. Generally, the financial plan includes sales and profit projections, assumptions and projections, operating expenses, and hidden costs. Here you must include the salaries and other benefits that are in line with industry standards or entrepreneur’s goals.
Here are the 15 Steps to Start a Boutique Business
After deciding on the opening of the boutique business, you will need to take action. Here, we have compiled 15 important steps to start a boutique retail business successfully.
Step 1: Market Research
After fixing up what business you want to start, market research is the most important aspect. First of all, check what are boutique stores are already there. What type of products are they selling? And at what price? What are their target demographics? Is there really any need for starting another boutique store there? These all will help you in selecting your product range, price, and business model.
Step 2: Identify Your Products
When you get every detail of information about the boutique market in your area, you can easily set your product line. The items that you want to sell at your store. Broadly, there are two options you can explore. Either you can procure the items from the wholesalers or you can sell your own products.
Step 3: Select the Name of your Boutique Business
According to the products you sell, you will need to have a name for your boutique. Most of the boutique owners who sell their own products prefer to name the business ‘Creation’ just after their name. Also, you can select the name that relates to the products and your target demographics. Whatever the option you take, select a short, memorable, and catchy name for your boutique store.
Step 4: Write a Business Plan
This is the most important consideration in creating the foundation of every business. We hope you can craft the business plan yourself with the help of our guide. Otherwise, you can use a business plan writing software solutions.
Step 5: Arrange Finance
Even if you want to open the store with your own investment, then also a bank loan is better to apply. However, verify the interest rate and monthly EMI amount before signing the agreement. In most cases, banks offer finance for inventory and stock.
Step 6: Apply for Business License & Insurance
Now it’s time to apply for business permission and license. The requirement of a specific license depends on the local state laws. It’s better to have a talk with a small business consultant in your area. He or she can guide you properly. Also, buy business insurance.
Step 7: Secure a Store Location
Selecting a location is the make-or-break decision in this type of business. Always it is better to have a good location that is much costly than a not that good location that is cheap. Never do compromise with the location. You must select a venue for your store that is in a high-traffic area with a wide opening.
Step 8: Design your Store Interior
You must provide a great interior look inside the store. Also, you will need to provide a comfortable ambiance for your customers at the time of shopping. So, it is better to talk to an interior designing consultant. Ask him or her to craft a floor plan first.
Carefully consider the display process. Decide whether you want to hang the products or want to keep them on the wall-mounted racks. Carefully decide the interior wall colors. Obviously, have wide mirrors inside the store. If possible, have a small trial room.
Step 9: Procure the Supplies
First of all, you will need to identify the requirements for opening a boutique. And the most important consideration is the products that you want to sell. It is better to go with a niche category. And keeping every possible item under that category.
Remember, people, visit the boutique store for getting the most trending and fashionable items. So, never procure a lot of inventory at one time. Also, keep the items according to the running season and coming festivals.
Step 10: Hire Employees
You can’t run a boutique business of your own. Even for a small store operation, you must hire one or two employees. However, hire experienced and knowledgeable employees only. Maximum boutiques account for the major amount of revenue from impulse selling.
Generally, most people want to know about the product before they buy it. A boutique is not only selling fashionable items but also guides your customers to drape the product and how to be more beautiful.
Step 11: Get a POS
POS stands for Point of Sale software. A POS is an effective solution in maintaining the inventory, keeping the stock record, and sales turnover. Also, you can generate invoices and money receipts instantly with the help of POS software. So, you must have POS software for a smooth store operation.
Step 12: Craft a Boutique Store SOP
Regardless you run the store of your own or with employees, you must craft a Standard Operating Procedure. There are a lot of aspects that you must mention on SOP. Mention the weekly closing date (if any). Describe a product return policy etc.
Step 13: Open the Store
Finally, open the door of your store for the customers. Before you start the sale, you can opt for a soft launch. On an opening day, offer discounts to your customers. Also, you can arrange free gifts. If possible prepare a media kit. Ask the local media houses to cover a feature article or story. Advertise properly, and aware as much as people within your target demographics about the opening of your boutique store.
Step 14: Promote your Boutique Business
Any type of retail business needs proper promotion. To be successful in this business, you must find out creative ways to promote your business. In this type of venture, co-branding is one of the best options. You can keep your posters at the beauty salons or cosmetics stores in exchange for a monthly fee.
Fashion magazines and local newspapers are also great options for publishing advertisements. Promote your business online too. Apart from having your own website, you can have a Facebook page or Whatsapp group for promoting your products there.
Step 15: Start Online Selling
When you start getting positive feedback from your customers, you can consider selling the products online. Nowadays, there are several options you can try for building an online store of your own. And it doesn’t come much costly. When you sell the products online, you can cater to a wide range of customers in your boutique business.
About the Author: 99businessideas.com led by Rupak Chakrabarty is committed to helping beginners, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in starting, managing, and growing their business. Our aim is to educate the entrepreneur on the various stages of entrepreneurship.