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A checklist for new boutique owners

A checklist for new boutique owners


If you’re interested in starting your own boutique, you’re probably feeling a range emotions from excitement to anxiety. Your drive to open your own shop probably comes from a love of fashion and clothing, but you may not be as well versed in the actual business of selling clothes. Don’t worry – this is completely normal! Use the aspects you’re passionate about to fuel your desire to learn about the other requirements for opening a retail establishment.

Clothing displayed on racks.Racks are one of the basic building blocks of good display.

When it comes to filling your retail space with the items necessary to store and display your merchandise, you can always count on us for help. Our knowledgeable customer service staff are available during the week to take your questions and help you along the decision making process. For some more immediate tips, check out the list below:

1. A business plan
Before anything else, you should have a solid business plan for your retail venture. This will help you move along the necessary steps one at a time and in the correct order. From ordering merchandise and renting a space to hosting your opening day, there are bound to be points where you’ll need some help and guidance. A business plan can spot these issues in advance so they don’t surprise you. If you’re not sure where to start, Entrepreneur magazine has several step-by-step guides to help you begin. Basically, you’ll need to have an understanding of the local market and the geographical layout of your proposed site before beginning. From there, you can make decisions about suppliers, banks and marketing.

2. Merchandise
This item might seem obvious, but it’s important to take nothing for granted. For example, if you are still in the early stages of planning for your boutique, it’s a good idea to think about what exactly you want to sell. A few factors will help you make these decisions. First, sell what you’re passionate about. Focusing on the items you really care about will boost your drive to succeed. Plus you’ll have the added advantage of being able to speak knowledgeably about the items with your customers. Next, you’ll need to consider the market. If the local area is already saturated with women’s clothing stores, you might want to focus on menswear, or take a niche approach to women’s fashion. No matter what, you need something that will make your boutique stand out from the competition.

3. Racks and Shelves
Once you have figured out your business plan and decided on what you want to sell, it’s time to go for the basic building blocks of retail display: racks and shelves. A great starter item is the rolling rack. Because it can move, you can easily experiment with your store’s layout as you discover what works best.

Gondola shelving is another item that’s quite customizable, making it ideal for spaces that may go through some changes in the future. Besides that, they provide easy access to smaller items. Finish the basic arrangement of your store with some tables and bases. They’re great for displaying shoes and folded shirts and pants.

4. Mannequins
Add some life to your store with a few mannequins. They may not move, but they can certainly make your merchandise feel more energized. Tables and racks are good for storing and displaying quantities of clothing items, but the mannequin will really show customers how outfits can work together and fit on a body. We have a number of mannequins that can suit your needs, some in casual sitting positions or confident standing poses. For even more customization and style, consider our C3 collection. The custom-made mannequins can come in your store’s signature colors, creating a sense of cohesion amongst your displays.

5. A payment system
With the above items, you have enough to set up a boutique – all you need is a solid payment system so you can accept credit and debit cards from your customers and pay your suppliers. This is in addition to your business bank account, of course, from which you can withdraw and deposit cash. According to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, most retailers will need both a POS system and a bill payment solution, though there are others to consider as your business grows. New boutique owners can usually connect their POS system to the credit network via a local financial institution. And a bill payment solution can help you keep track of your invoices and recurring costs.

6. Decorations
Once you’ve dealt with the first five items on this list, you can begin to focus on the the aesthetics. The theme you choose will have a big impact on the type of clientele you attract. This is where you can truly express your creativity and personality. For your window displays, you’ll need fun items like graphic transfers, display lights, and hanging paper decorations. Check out this post for ways to save money while decorating your establishment. Above all, have fun with this part – being a retailer should be fun!

“After establishing your physical store, it’s time to move online.”

7. An online presence
After establishing your physical store, it’s time to move online. You can create a simple website that shows off the unique look and style of your store and gives potential shoppers more information. But that’s not all that an online presence means. It also means getting added to Google Maps, so searchers can easily find your location. Additionally, you should have at least one social media profile from which you can interact with shoppers and post promotions.

8. A sense of humor
Bob Phibbs, a retail expert, told newcomers to the business that they need to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing. There will be times when things get tough and not everything will be fun. But as long as you can laugh about the process, you are bound to have a good time and keep a level head on your shoulders.

We wish you the best of luck with your new endeavor and encourage you to reach out to us if you need any help!