5 Point Checklist To Help You Start Your Own Boutique
Starting your own boutique can turn out to be a great investment. If you have a passion for all things fashion and have a sense of style then venturing into the fashion business could prove to be a smart career choice. Starting a fashion business is a dream for many women who are looking for self-employment. Nevertheless, one mustn’t ignore the fact that the fashion industry is fiercely competitive, so before you jump in, you must do your due diligence.
Let me walk you through the steps to start your own boutique:
#1. Preliminary market survey before starting a boutique
There are many practical considerations before we jump into the deep end of starting a business. Having a sharp sense of design, flair and style is a good premise, but a business model needs a solid foundation to be successful. Here are a few things that are the basic surveys that need to be conducted before you start a boutique.
1) Decide The Type of Boutique
It is mandatory to decide what type of boutique you want to open. Boutiques can be a showcase of your own designs, be resellers of high-end labels, and be a reseller of mid-level brands or ‘pret lines’, sell popular clothes that cater to a larger clientele or even deal in children’s clothing. There are boutiques that sell only accessories and are very successful too! Once you have decided what you want to sell and to whom you can start on the next step.
2) Decide on location
Retail sales are fully dependent on location. If you are planning a high-end couture shop you need to open your boutique in a posh area where there is the availability of parking and the clientele has a preference in buying designer clothes.
3) Check for Competitors
The next preliminary step is to do a recce to check out the boutiques already available in the area and what they sell. It is generally a good idea to know your competition and the clients they serve in the area. You can get a grip on what will sell and what will not.
#2. Drawing up a business plan
Once all your preliminary queries are fulfilled, move to making a sound business plan.
You might be Wondering how to start making a boutique business plan?
First, Find out what licensing and business associations you need to join. Trade licenses, shop and establishment associations, tax registrations are all important. Do make sure that you have a comprehensive list of all the documentation and paperwork that will be required.
Draw up a list of major expenses that will be incurred to set up a boutique of your dreams. Do include all capital expenditures that are needed to set up a boutique. It could be a deposit on the venue, furniture, lights, signage, and business registrations. Then list out the recurring expenses that will be a part of your working capital. Add rent, salaries, electricity and stock inventory expenses. This could be a little flexible as you can almost always get stock on credit. Marketing and advertising should also be meticulously planned and the estimated expenses should be factored in.
Once you have all these figures in hand try and make a sales projection based on the preliminary market survey. Take into account credit available and sales revenue that is projected. Keep a healthy margin of error so that you have time to establish your market. It might be a good idea to take your plan to a competent Chartered Accountant who can ratify your plan and guide you towards success.
Once your plan is justified look for adequate investment. You could be self-financed or have an investor who will be interested in financing you for a share of profits. You could also look for bank finance if you have the necessary documentation and your business projection is robust. You should ideally have a cushion of working capital for at least six months to make it easy for you to set up the new venture.
#3. Planning the beginning
Once your planning is done it is time to execute the plan efficiently. Look for the perfect address and try to get the lowest rental possible. Keep parking areas in mind as your shoppers will be hassled if they have to park far away and you will lose customers.
Plan the interiors carefully. It should match the products you are planning to keep. Choose the décor with a client base in mind. The décor should complement your wares. For example, if the interiors are not well lighted or the wall and furniture are very cluttered or dark coloured the clothes are not going to be showcased well. Have large glass windows to let in natural light.
Have a changing room to try the clothes on and have a well-defined billing area. The trendier the interiors, the more your average shopper makes a favourable impression about your boutique. Once the interiors are on their way to being finished, get your stock in place.
#4. Planning your inventory (Requirements For Opening a Boutique!)
The boutique is ready for business once you decide on the quantity and pricing of inventory. It is good business sense to keep a few brands, either local or high end to complement your own designs. A larger variety will ensure a good mix of clientele and will make sales robust.
Understand what is the credit limit and duration that you can avail the credit for. These decisions are the base of your business and will be a big decision that will last you for a lifetime. Try and get a wholesaler who will take back damaged goods and may also help you market the goods through advertisements and PR initiatives.
#5. Hiring the right staff
Your sales and accounting staff are the backbone of your business. Do take your time in hiring the best-suited people for the various positions that are to be filled. The right salesperson will add a charm to the boutique and may also slowly gain a reputation of giving style tips to customers. These enhance the services that your boutique provides.
There is a growing trend for small niche boutiques that are paired with cafés. These boutiques generally cater to a small but elite crowd that likes to browse as much as buying clothes and accessories. These add-ons can also be a revenue addition to your boutique. These services also contribute to the uniqueness of the boutique and add to its popularity.
Your boutique is now ready to do business. It is a good start if you have the right ambience, the right staff and the right inventory. But do remember that a customer comes back again and again if they get value for money and good service. Do ensure that the customer gets a personalized service. This makes your boutique different from the others. A shopper always goes back where they are made to feel special.
After sales services like minor alterations in size and a smart return policy are also services that should be available to your shoppers. It is good business to entertain all the needs of the customer so that they can find the ease of shopping at your boutique.
Planning a good marketing campaign is also a necessary means to a good sale. People need to be made aware of the new premises and a robust digital and print marketing may help in promoting your new boutique. So why wait! Get your plans in shape and make some shopaholics happy.
T*****Nicely put it would be of great help !!!
J*****Do we need any fashion n design course to start this business? If yes, what short course to be done for getting basic knowledge?
S*****What if we want to start from home?