A boutique is a merchandise retailing store which specializes in fashionable and stylish clothing, accessories or other kinds of luxury goods. The stores specialize in stocking and selling assorted products used for human beautification. It is easy to start, easily manageable by one person and requires relatively small capital to start.
Some boutique stock and sell their products for a particular sex or for both (unisex) , this is known as the “Buy and Sell boutique”. It buys from manufacturers or distributors at a whole sale price and sell to customers to make profit. And also we have a “consignment boutique” which may not need much capital as the’ buy and sell boutique’. In a consignment boutique you make your profit by seeking and negotiating with manufacturers of your choice product on a percentage for the sale of any goods/products. In opening a boutique you should know the niche and brands you wish to start with and make room for expansion because in this business there is so much you can stock and sell as you grow.
Why You Need To Start A Boutique Business
1. Uniqueness and easy access
Boutique shopping is a unique experience that allows one to find original fashionable products that you wouldn’t find easily if you were walking round an open market. Nowadays, people want a place where they can pick out one-of-a-kind pieces that is not common or easily seen anywhere around. They want something unique that will make other people stop and look, admiring them over and over again and a boutique is just the right place for such people. The fashion and entertainment world is growing daily and it needs a place such as a boutique to patronize due to their kind of work that demands uniqueness and style.
2. Multi-market sales opportunities
Clothing stores is one business in which you can sell through various platform. Those going into the business have an added advantage of selling in a physical shop and also online. With this they open a much larger markets to meet needs and make much more profits. This open market targets more customers than serve a specific neighbourhood, town or community.
3. Less stressful business model
A clothing and accessories store is one business that is less stressful. It has simple business operations that can be handled by one person. It’s basically has to do with acquiring your merchandise, advertising/display and the sales of the merchandise. It is a business that is easier to start up than many other businesses. You can start with a little capital and grow as the business break-even. As long as you have good products, you don’t have to have the fear of perishing or damaging products, the products are durable. There could be more reasons why you would want to venture into the boutique business but in all ensure your motives for the business is more of adding value and the fulfillment you may enjoy and not only because of the profit. This is because at the initial startup you may not get as much profit as you want and you may experience some pitfalls that may discourage you, but venturing with the right motives will keep you going when the going gets tough.
Venturing into the business is very interesting and rewarding financially, but there should be adequate planning. So we have proffered guidelines that could help you run the business and break-even.
Guidelines in Opening a Boutique Business
1. Carry out a feasibility study
Carrying out a feasibility study will help you strategize and get organized for productivity. You should first have an insight of the boutique industry. Proper knowledge of the business will help you ascertain the area that pays better and position you for optimum success. It also helps you know more on the competition that exist in the business and helps you thrive. Below are strategic points that will help you win in the competitive market. Your ability to carry out feasibility study helps you see potential customers, as well as a good and population estimate of the area where your boutique is to be located.
2. Decide the type of boutique
Boutiques are of class and categories. As mentioned in the introductory part of the article. There are different classes and categories in boutique. For instance, there are unisex boutiques and those strictly for single sex. Some boutiques focus on a particular type of brand. Examples of outstanding brands are kalmanovich, angelos, berg berg and so on. You could also decide to open boutiques that stock and sell varieties of products as clothes, shoes, bags, jewelries etc. rather than one product. There are also boutiques for kids; this segment seems to be very lucrative. It’s vital you start from a segment and augment as the business progresses.
3. Write a business plan
A business plan is one major thing that can never be over emphasized in starting any business. The business plan for your boutique should outline the business description, marketing analysis/Plan, operations and management strategy, competitive analysis, Financial Statements as well as prospective or futuristic plans for your boutique. It is essential to the survival of your boutique. Why most boutique businesses in Nigeria fail is due to lack of well thought-out plans on the business. So a business plan will advert failure and also help you source fund when you’re running out of fund.
4. Choose a good location
The place suitable for your store should be a place where there are a good number of people passing in order to ensure you make good amount of patronage. The categories or brand of your stock should give you the caliber of people that should patronize you and you have to be in an environment where such people can assess you. Don’t forget to also consider a place with high inflow of traffic. This is to say, settle for a place where a lot of people come daily, look for cities that are lacking businesses like the one you want. It is also advisable to settle down in the lesser competition area if you do not have what it takes in goods and services to stand the competitive market.
5. Register and brand your business
Get your business registered this can be achieved legally under the Corporate Affairs Commission of (CAC). This is a cooperation which is much easy to register your business with minimal conditions. The CAC offices are everywhere, in each state. So walk into any of their offices and get the business registered as soon as possible. The vision you create initially for the business will help you make choice on the branding of your business. Ensure you also create your business logo, slogan all should reveal a comprehensive message of your products and services. It can be done by any graphic designer. Branding generally creates the perception you want your customers to have as the come in contact with your boutique products whether online or physical store.
There could be other guidelines in the city you reside or where you want to establish your business, is left for you to find out as you carry out your feasibility study. Also be free to get more ideas from successful people already into the business within your reach. It could go a long way to help you.
How to make your boutique to stand out from your competitors
In your quest for success in this business, you will encounter competition. So how do you develop a strategy to compete with competitors? Here are some strategies outlined for you.
1. Advance your marketing strategy
Invest in marketing efforts that are going to drive traffic to your boutique’s physical location and online store. At every season in your business try out new methods of advertising to attract customers, lookout for various marketing strategies that will make your boutique stand out. As you try new methods such as advertising on fashion magazines, Facebook pages, newspapers, radio or television broadcast etc. evaluate which method of advertising works best for your business.
2. Customers appreciation event or rewarding programs
Periodically, you can organize a mini appreciation event to host your loyal customers. It makes you form a stronger relationship with them. Most times people you get return patronage from your existing customers than seeking first time buyers. Periodically, you can reward returning customers by providing some form of gifts or shopping discounts for a season. Your business depends so much on the returning customers, and as long as you keep them satisfied and happy with your services, they will be more likely to tell other people about your boutique.
3. Go for unique brand goods
Just as mentioned earlier, people love unique style. They want where the can find the best. Your brands should be trending and unique to keep your sales traffic. And as your business grows, you can have a fashion house where you make your own unique designs and sew for your clothing boutique. It becomes your own style and people will spend fortune to shop from you.
The world is changing rapidly and becoming digital. E-commerce will help you diversify in marketing and sales. It will encourage you develop websites and even apps. These apps will give you another platform to advertise your merchandise as such that you can reach shoppers who may not have known about your boutique otherwise. Ensure you maintain these profiles so that customers will keep checking back on your boutique’s page.
4. Physical location
The location of the business is important in a competitive market. Ensure your location is accessible and an area where it would be easily noticed. Imagine one having a boutique inside a street with bad roads to another having a boutique in a nearby location where you don’t need to go through the hurdles of a bad road. No matter how trending your brands are your boutique wouldn’t see if your boutique isn’t accessible.
5. Improve on your customer service
When customers visit your boutique, they should have a pleasurable experience. Customer service is lacking in many department stores and other brand-name stores and it will make customers take notice of your boutique. Make your customers feel well taken care off. Constructive criticism could help your boutique business flourish. Be open to customer’s feedback and see what customers appreciate about your boutique and suggest ways for improvement. This feedback will help you to continually advance your business, and customers will be grateful that you’re taking their ideas into consideration.
Globally, the fashion industry is worth about $ 1 trillion, also within the last decade this industry has grown in size and sophistication, encouraging investments and commerce in the sector. The boutique business serves as a sustainable business model which adds value in economic development and significantly adds to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many African countries. Based on all this being a wholesaler or retailer in this sector is not a bad idea.
Ideally, starting this business as discussed earlier needs a lot of planning. It’s a very interesting and rewarding venture but not without ups and down, so lack of adequate planning could result to a failure. This is why is paramount to create your business plan as discussed earlier.
Do well to join our Telegram group to relate with hundreds of like-minded people about investment, business and money matters. Just click our Telegram group link after installing the telegram app on your mobile device.