Starting a clothing boutique business is a popular startup idea, mostly because of the multitude of opportunities available. Most clothing brands become successful in part because they’re created by people who are passionate about clothing. This business sector is booming and it is a good time to get into it. The Indian clothing retail industry is the largest among all the industries, accounting for over 10% of the country’s GDP and around 8% of the employment. There’s more to starting a fashion business than just having the idea and passion for it. An understanding of the different aspects of the industry is a must. It is important to have the knowledge of the materials, trends and basics of manufacturing clothing. This will help you understand the field and produce quality products for your clients. It requires a lot of planning and a business mind. To help, here are the basic things you must do to start your own boutique.
How To Start A Boutique?
What will you sell?
Before starting your boutique, you must decide what it is you will sell in the boutique. You should align your niche to the type of product you understand and have knowledge about. Find out what you are interested in and research that completely. You must decide which is your target audience, who you will be making products for since there are many choices when it comes to clothing boutiques. Below is the list of choices you would have:
- Women’s clothing
- Men’s clothing
- Children’s clothing
You can offer a variety of products in these areas. Figure out what you are most informed about and interested in. A clothing boutique can offer different products such as:
- Formal Wear
- Semi-formal Wear
- Casual Wear
- Ethnic Wear
- Gym Wear
Within your niche, you can develop and focus on specific products of your choice.
Carry Out Market Research
You should be completely aware of your competition. Do your research about the other boutiques already present in the area where you want to start yours. Look into the kind of services your competitions have. Understand the demands in the area and how they are met. Are there disparities between demand and supply? What are the areas that have a higher demand but lower supply? It is not always necessary that the supply has to be low. Sometimes, even with the minimum difference in supply-demand, businesses flourish. This is because they offer high-quality products. Thorough market research will help you plan your business better.
Research must also be carried out for the raw material needed, its pricing, quality, where to purchase from, etc. In order to have a successful business, you must be knowledgeable about different types of materials and fabrics. You should keep yourself updated with all the new designs and trends as part of your market research.
Write A Business Plan
Writing a business plan is important because it will give a well-defined structure to your idea. It will help you take your business in the direction you want it to go. Also, you will have a better chance of succeeding if you have a structured, detailed and well-written boutique business plan. A basic business plan consists of the following points:
- Executive summary
- General company description
- Industry and market
- Business strategy
- Marketing plan
- Operational plan
- Financial plan
To write a foolproof business plan is not difficult if you work on one objective at a time.
Ideally, you should start with enough money to conduct your business for at least 6 months. You will need money for renting or buying a place for your boutique, for the interiors of your store, to pay your employees, and for inventories and supplies, among other miscellaneous expenses. To meet these expenses you must decide if you will need a business loan? Getting business loans depends a lot on the location, whether you’ll be buying or renting a place, size of the shop, hiring employees, and store decor. It also depends on whether you can fund yourself or you have someone who is willing to lend you money. In the end, how the money is utilized or how it should be utilized must be planned carefully. Make a list of everything within the business that requires funding and figure out how you can use the capital you have.
Supplies & Manpower
If you are planning on staying in this business, you better choose one man for one purpose. This will save you a lot of time and money. Look out for the most reliable wholesaler supplier for your clothing boutique. Ask for samples because the pictures/catalogues never tell the full story. After you have seen them firsthand, you can compare prices from various wholesalers, negotiate and pick the one that offers the lowest unit cost of clothing products. Here are some of the materials you will require to start your business:
- Fabric and linen
- Embroidery threads
- Glasses and mirrors
- Labels, tags, and packaging
As much as you want this to be a one-man show, down the line you will need a helping hand or two. Many business owners start on their own, doing everything themselves till they start making a profit. You will have to hire someone at some point in time. You need staff to clean the space, manage the cash, and as salespersons because if you plan to manage everything yourself, you may burn out soon.
To be a customer-centric business, hire employees that are representatives of your boutique’s style, an are friendly and efficient. The staff should be reliable and those who are willing to work extra hours during weekends or on special occasions. You might need:
- Production staff
- Press/iron man/finishing
- Administrative staff
- Customer service staff
Ensure the employees you hire follow all the operational policies in your store as it is something that cannot be compromised.
Display it right
Nobody knows your niche better than you. To start an online boutique you need to create a trend. A unique trend or a USP will make your boutique stand out in the crowd. Choose what you want to display to attract more actual and virtual footfall in your boutique. In this glamorous world where more emphasis is on presentation, you cannot afford to fall back in this aspect. Display your brightest works upfront and let them know your area of expertise and your panache.
Let The Seasons Speak
It is during these special occasions and seasons that your business will have the opportunity to garner more customers. Adding a little glitz and shimmer to your place will add to the charm of your boutique. You can make slight changes in your decor in accordance with the upcoming season or festival. Change your merchandise to match with the seasons, festivals and its colours.
You must obtain all the necessary certificates and permits from the city and State you plan to operate your business in. Check the zoning laws for your store location and get a sales tax permit. Obtain GST registration and make sure to comply with local licenses and permits for the same. Select your business structure and register for it accordingly. If your business intends to sell original clothing, that is exclusive to your own design label, it is important to receive copyrights and trademarks for your brand name and logo. Acquiring essential licenses is one of the most important tasks while starting any small business.
Decide On Location & Branding
Do not underestimate the power of a good location. Your boutique will thrive with a supportive location. Select a location for your boutique that is usually crowded and bustling with popular shops so your store will attract many people each day. These places can be within a mall or at busy intersections or in shopping zones. You could also start your business right from the comfort of your home by reserving a section of your house for the main shop. Design your boutique and furnish it such that it reflects your product line and theme you have in mind.
Your logo is the face of your business, so make it such that it reflects the essence of your business. You will need a logo and a name for your business which can portray you as an artist. Make an attractive logo that reflects your identity. The logo should be relatable and something the clients can connect with. The name of your company should be unique and recognizable.
Starting a boutique is only a fraction of the work. Maintaining the store and making the boutique a success takes a whole lot of determination, hard work and a little bit of luck. If you’re still facing obstacles with how to start a business then contact deAsra. deAsra will help you with the setup of your business and also support you through the entire process.