Important Things to Consider When Opening a Fashion Boutique

When it comes to fashion labels, most women have their personal favourites. Wearable original designs, ranging from updated little black dresses, sexy sweaters, skinny jeans, chic blazers, gorgeous jackets and other statement pieces with a giant dollop of sex appeal may simply be hard for some women to resist.

Celebrities and regular individuals alike can look so chic and put together wearing clothes that are well-designed. A burning passion for fashion can be enough inspiration for some enterprising individuals to decide on opening a fashion boutique. It is also amazing to note that behind some of the really eye-catching fashion collections are designers who really toiled hard before succeeding in building a fashion empire. You would hear of some world-famous fashion designers recalling how they had to do extra design jobs to keep their companies afloat during their early years in the fashion business. Many of them worked with experienced designers and collaborated with talented people to learn the ropes and also to create attractive interiors and hassle-free shopping ambience for their own stores.

If you re among those looking forward to opening a fashion boutique someday, you would be inspired to know what famous designers such as Tory Burch, Anna Sui, Chloe Dao and several others went through to get their business off the ground. Some designers studied art and design and spent years as apprentices trailing after a mentor, while others stepped out of the shadows of a regular job and built their own fashion brand with the help of family, friends and business partners. The common thread running through most designers is hard work. Ingenuity is another plus factor. A handful of designers get a great reception by offering quality options at a reasonable price range. A few – including some high-profile Hollywood stars who have launched their own fashion labels – got off to a rocky start.

Successful fashion boutique owners share that one of the most important things to get cash registers ringing, or to make customers to stay loyal to their label is to offer quality products. Most customers gravitate to a particular brand for the lifestyle it offers. They go for something fresh, fun and nice to wear yet elegant. Aspiring fashion boutique operators should plan everything – from the product mix, to the store location and interiors, to the logistics aspect, to customer service and marketing campaign. Opening a fashion boutique, like other ventures (as running a restaurant), also requires monitoring the daily cash flow. A trustworthy manager may be delegated by the fashion boutique owner to handle this task. Ensuring a healthy financial bottomline is crucial. In addition, it is also important to continually be updated on evolving fashion tastes.

Dream Fashion Job: Starting an Online Fashion Boutique

Have you always wanted to open your very own store? Are you driven and want to be your own boss? Get the scoop on becoming a fashion boutique owner!

Successful boutique owners are very entrepreneurial-minded people who use a combination of great business savvy and a knowledge of the fashion industry to make profits. Their boutiques target specific customers and carry an assortment of clothing/accessory/beauty designers that appeal to their target market. Boutique owners must be willing to do whatever it takes to get the business going, from planning their inventory, to ringing up customer sales and even cleaning up the store.

Owners must be able to attract investors to fund the initial opening and daily operations of the store. Some boutique owners use loans or personal savings to do so. A solid understanding of business becomes key in obtaining capital to open your store.

Qualifications:
Education: A bachelor’s degree in Business Management or Fashion Retailing/Merchandising/Marketing is common.

Experience: Extensive experience in the fashion retail industry in a variety of positions.

Suggested Skills: Solid business skills; management skills; interpersonal skills; knowledge of trends and forecasts; time-management skills.

Personal Characteristics: Entrepreneurial and risk-taking personality; persistence; ability to self-promote.

Here’s what Grace Wang, Founder of Unsung Designers, has to say about running an online fashion boutique!

“When I decided to start up my boutique, it was really an issue of timing. I was working at a small start-up that went out of business and I wasn’t sure what my next step should be. A colleague and I talked about opening a boutique in Washington, DC. We thought it would be great to work for ourselves in an industry we both loved. Our talk turned into research. We started writing a business plan. The big labels didn’t excite me, I always sought out interesting young designers. They were much more cutting edge, they were always ahead of trends. The boutique idea turned into a website because we wanted to reach a wider customer base. We were so excited about the emerging designers, we wanted to make them accessible to people in small towns, across the country, around the world.”

Now that Unsung Designers is a successful business, Grace offers some insight on what a typical day is like for her. “An average day for me always starts with a big pot of coffee! I read the fashion news. I take care of orders, customer service, reply to emails from designers, media, general inquiries. I usually spend lunch meeting with a designer or showroom rep. This is networking time. It’s important to constantly talk to other people in the industry, especially when you work from home like I do”.

For Grace, the best part of being a Online Fashion Boutique Owner is being immersed in an industry she has a passion for. “It used to be a guilty pleasure, when I’d surf fashion sites and do online shopping at my 9-5. I’ve learned that working for yourself allows you a lot of flexibility. Working for yourself is also a big challenge. You have to be a self-starter or you’ll never get things done” says Grace. In the 4 years that she’s been in business, Grace has stayed true to the designers the business is based on, “It was always about respect for the creative process and love for clothes. I fiercely protect my designers and trust their creative instinct. I’ve done what I wanted to do and have close, trusting relationships with my designers”, stated Grace.

Things You Must Remember When Starting a Fashion Boutique

When it comes to fashion and trends, the only thing constant is change. Season after season, designers are innovating. Clothing lines are emerging left and right, and new designs making use of new materials are always cropping up. This is something that you must remember especially if you are thinking of starting a fashion boutique or a clothing store.

Starting a fashion boutique can be a real challenge. As a matter of fact getting into business and establishing your own store involves lots of details. You must always stay focused on the business. This way, you will be capable of sound decision-making not just on the business side but on the creative aspects of your fashion business as well.

When starting a fashion boutique, decide on a good location and open with a bang. This means that you must find a good place to put up your business. Look for a vacant space in a mall or a commercial complex. Be accessible. Make the space attractive and appealing, especially to your target market. Be in a good location where people can see you and where people can be made aware of your existence. You can’t invite them into your store if they do not know you exist.

This brings us to another important point to consider when starting a fashion boutique: advertising. Let people know that there’s a really fashionable and trendsetting thing going on, and that is your boutique. Advertise in the traditional forms like fliers and billboards. Likewise, make use of technological developments to advertise your store and your merchandise. Set up a website and let people in a social networking site know about your fashion boutique. You can also consider producing commercials for tv and radio. Check out airtime costs and find out if the cost of advertising in your local radio and tv stations are worth it.

When it comes to starting a fashion boutique, staying on top of the trends is important. You must also have a clear pulse of what your target market wants. This can be really difficult if you do not have an eye for fashion and a passion for the business. You must constantly be creative in order to stay in front of the competition. You must be the one setting the trend, not following it. This way, you are sure to succeed in your clothing and fashion retail business venture.