Opening a boutique - any tips?

  1. I'm trying to get ideas of how to go about opening a boutique in my town. I have no problem finding a building. My problem is where do I start after that. I know I will need a tax id. Where do I get the stuff to sell? I'd like to sell accessories, trendy tee's, jeans. Similar to Revolve Clothing items. I hear a lot of people talk about "going to market" in Atlanta. But I don't think they have the supply I'm looking for.

    Anyone have a boutique and how did you start?
  2. I think you can probably find some books online about opening a business and do your research. It is hard work and not as easy as you may think. My one friend had a consignment shop which was great because her start up cost was not much money but she had the clients that bought and consigned high end things with her.
    I really think you need to do some market research to see what will sell, do the people have the money to buy and I am sure you can go online and see where the markets are to buy your stock.
    Good luck.
  3. When I had a boutique..I would travel to the LA MARKET. Or you can request a directory to get their reps direct numbers and speak to them. The MAGIC SHOW twice a year is also a good place to attend for the upcoming trends.
  4. I'm in commercial real estate and I see many wonderful boutiques fail because they didn't write a business plan.

    My advice is if you haven't worked retail, do that first and find out if you are going to like all the different jobs you are going to have to do: janitor, buyer, accountant, customer service, hiring and firing, etc. to name a few.

    Then write an extensive business plan and secure financing before you start looking at a place for your store or place you first order.

    Hope this helps (I spent the better part of a year writing a business plan and realized that there is NO money in retail and the hours are horrendous!)
  5. You MUST MUST MUST write a business plan. Get some books on it read and reread them. You won't get financing without one.

    I recommend some books from Enterprise Mag called 'Start Your Own Successful Retail Store' and Start your own Clothing store. Also get Business Plans for Dummies, a book on fashion buying and how to start a business in whatever state you live in.

    I've been writing my business plan for almost a year now. It's a love/hate relationship. If you have any questions, let me know.
  6. Definitely work in retail and get an idea of what you are up against. It's hard work, and takes a lot of capital to run a business. If you plan to borrow money to start the business, be sure to borrow enough to cover 2-3 seasons of inventory.
  7. I had some friends that owned a teeeny boutique in SF.. back then, they told me 100K minimum start up costs and to definitely expect a loss your first year.. and that was back then in 97. I agree w/ everyone else.... write a business plan!
  8. I had a small retail shop for a while & it is NOT a fun business. You will have to work ridiculous hours, put up with rude and disrespectful customers who act as if they are "better" than you becaue they are spending money in your store, pay your employees before you pay yourself and do all the crappy jobs that you can't afford to pay someone to do.

    And most small retailers cannot compete with the chain stores and the internet. People will come in and look, try on clothes to make sure of sizes and then go home and order it online to save a few $$:cursing:
  9. Everyone who said "write a business plan" is absolutely right.

    You are not just putting words on paper like an essay or a report, you are like an architect working out every single detail of your dream house.

    Writing the business plan will force you to work out details of budgeting, advertising, finances, competition - everything.

    The resources mentioned above are excellent. Here are two more.

    SCORE and SBA

    These are federally-funded agencies who give excellent free counseling to small business owners. Each will expect you to arrive with a short-version business plan.

    You just call to make an appointment. You can find local offices at

    I have found the online counselors to be pretty worthless. The gold is to be found in person at the local offices.

    I make an appointment with my Score counselors whenever I have a specific project (like learning SEO when designing my website). I have a standing appointment at SBA every 6 weeks.

    Can't say enough praise about the SBA!
  10. good luck...what an interesting thread to refer back to if I ever should venture into this market myself
  11. I used to have a boutique before i stupidly gave it up to go help my ex husband out in his office. I should have kept my independence! My best advice to you is to buy stock with cash, current season stock if you can get good stuff. When you get into forward ordering for the next season you get carried away & buy stuff that just maybe won't take off but you still have to pay for. I know if you are going to do designer stuff you have to forward order but if it is going to be with it middle of the road try to find stock houses & pay cash! Good luck!!
  12. Write a business plan & go to the garment (magic) shows to get ideas.
    I have a friend that has had a boutique for over 25 years. She is in a small tourist town & does very well. But she has no local competition & seems to know what her clients will buy.
  13. Business plan doesn't help when it sounds like you haven't worked at a boutique before or have direct experience.

    I would suggest to work part time for a local store even if they don't have the similar products. Get to know what it is lke working with clients, managing inventory, your budget and the non-stop life of a small business owner.
  14. this is a very old thread