A few days ago I told you guys that I would be launching my Business 101 series on my blog. This is something I was already doing on my old YouTube Channel, but I wanted to expand it by bringing it to the blog as well. I’ve already done videos on business registration/formation, domain purchasing, and e-commerce vs blogging, and I promise I will re-upload these videos in the near future for easy access. Going forward I’ll be discussing how to launch businesses such as: Clothing boutiques, clothing lines, hair salons, and many others. A few years ago I had a women’s clothing boutique in Brooklyn NY. It was tiny (only about 900 sq ft), but it was so cute and I loved it! Here are some old pics of the space:
I opened my boutique during a time when I was very unhappy at one of my previous jobs. I was looking for a way out of the 9-5 lifestyle, and I figured that opening my own business was one of the best ways. I worked on the planning of it for about 6-8 months before I really got into the launching phase of it. It was hard to do but I did it and it’s definitely one of favorite memories and biggest milestones. So anyway, I brought up the boutique because this will be my first topic in the Business 101 series. I have first hand experience with it, and I can definitely tell you where I excelled and where I messed up. So much goes into this that it’s hard to really fit it into words on a blog. For that reason I also uploaded a video version on this topic. So let’s get into it. Here are the Essential Steps to Opening A Clothing Boutique:
**This is for people who want to open a physical (Brick/Mortar) store as opposed to an online boutique. I’ll do another post on online boutiques down the line**
The Business Plan
The first thing you want to do is come up with a business plan. Even if you don’t want to do a formal plan, you still need to at least have an outline of your vision for your clothing boutique. This plan should include: The types of items you’ll be selling, where you will be located, who your target market is, how you will fund the business, where you will get your inventory, how you will spread the word, and what your profit margins are. Many other things go into a business plan but these are the main parts.
Next, you want to create a realistic budget. In my case I was so “green” when it came to budgeting for a business. For starters, I didn’t take out any business loans. I saved up my checks from work and I received help from family and friends, but that was it. I purchased small pieces of inventory as I could to get the ball rolling. I do not recommend doing it this way. This was kind of like a winging method.
Next you can move on to securing your location. Your budget should’ve shown how much you can afford in rent. If your heart is set on having a physical store, but the rental prices are too high for your budget, you could consider opening a mall kiosk, or renting a small space within a mall as opposed to a stand-alone store.
Here is where the fun starts. This is where you can decide how you will run your boutique. You can run it as a thrift/consignment shop which means you primarily sell vintage/used items. This means you won’t have to spend too much money on inventory. You can also run it the way I ran mine which was to purchase inventory from vendors and show rooms at wholesale price and sell it for a profit. Or you can create and sell your own designs. You can also do a mixture of all. In my video I get into “net terms” when purchasing inventory. If you’re interested in that concept click here.
Now it’s time to launch. You’ve done all of the leg work and it’s time to debut your business. If you used a Business Plan template then it should’ve made you figure out your marketing budget. If you really don’t have room for a marketing budget you can always make it work with social media. Social media is one of the best marketing tools available for businesses of all sizes. All social media sites have a way of doing business promotions. It’s quick, easy, and very affordable.
In a nutshell, these are the essential steps to open a clothing boutique. It’s definitely not as simple as reading a blog post, but these are the basic requirements. Feel free to add any tips I might’ve missed in the comments. In the very near future I’ll be introducing How-to guides for this series which will allow me to go into further detail. For now I’ll try to keep these posts short and sweet. 🙂