Published On: Thu, Apr 16th, 2020

5 Tips for Starting an Online Clothing Boutique

Clothing boutiques are only growing in popularity as consumers recognize an opportunity to purchase quality, unique clothing for less than retail pricing. Whether you want to replace your current career or make a little money on the side, an online clothing boutique is a great option.

There are many perks to running this type of operation including the ability to do it from home during the hours you choose. Much of your revenue will be profit because your overhead is low, and if you’re into fashion, this can be a fun, creative outlet for making money! 

You should never pursue a new entrepreneurial venture without first researching the practices that make it a success. Here are a few tips for running an online clothing boutique. 

  1. Source Your Products 

The first step, even before writing a business plan, is sourcing your products at the right price and packaging before you can determine whether or not you can start this business. 

When sourcing products, look into wholesale options. You can often purchase great products for rock bottom prices from no-name designers if you order in bulk. This means greater margins when you sell.

Another fantastic option is to try group purchasing in which other boutique owners get together through a group purchasing organization to purchase similar products. You’re buying ultra wholesale, dropping the prices even more and increasing your profit margins. 

  1. Determine Your Financial Needs 

One of the biggest benefits of a clothing boutique is the low overhead. You don’t need an office or to pay designers or manufacturers. However, you do need money to pay for your initial inventory. There are also costs for website design, digital marketing, photography equipment or photographer fees, and business startup needs. 

Most can foot the bill of a small clothing boutique startup using their existing savings, but if you find yourself short on cash, you’ll need to have a backup plan. You might be able to take out a small business loan or a personal line of credit to start the process. 

  1. Write Your Business Plan 

When you’ve squared away sources for your products and the funding with which to purchase them, you’ll be ready to write your business plan, even if you’re only doing this as a side business that doesn’t need financing. A business plan does much more than help you win financing. It also provides a road map for the future of your business. 

It forces you to write down what your objective is, how you plan to achieve it, how you’ll pay for it, marketing strategies, potential employees needed, and future projections. With all of this information on paper, you can easily refer to it and reassess regularly to help you reach your goal. 

  1. Get Licensed and Have Insurance 

Even small side businesses require proper licensing and potential business permits. There may be federal and/or state permits to consider so you can legally operate in your state. Because your business is based online, you have fewer permitting and licensing needs, but because you’ll be using your property for inventorying, you should look into proper licensing and permits. 

You should also file as a business entity for tax reasons. This will help to reduce some of your tax burden while providing extra protection for your personal name and credit. 

You should also purchase insurance on your inventory and business. You may consider general liability insurance and/or errors and omissions insurance to protect you if a customer makes a claim against you. That way, your business takes the fall, but your name and assets aren’t liable. 

  1. Develop a Unique Brand 

Today’s clothing boutique landscape is becoming more and more saturated with owners trying to carve their niche. As such, you need a truly unique and impactful brand to make your way in this competitive landscape. 

A good boutique brand starts with what you sell. Determine a narrow niche of potential consumers who are interested in a particular style of clothing, then market all of your products to this group. 

A clearly defined aesthetic is also important for curating a brand that stands out and speaks to your target audience. This goes for your website design, the subject and angles of your photography, the way you post to social media, and more. Your aesthetic will contribute to your unique brand, help you sell more products, and set you up for greater success in your boutique.

Author: Anna Johansson

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