If fashion gets you hot under the Peter Pan collar you may have dreamt of being part of the industry. While it is an extremely competitive sector to break into there are lots of different jobs open to you. From fashion writers through to boutique bosses -there’s a host of careers that allow you to have your own little corner of the fashion field.
Fancy doing it for yourself? Five tips for setting up your own fashion store
Here we explore some of the key points you need to consider when you decide to strike out on your own as a boutique owner.
1) Do your research
If you love fashion, chances are you have your own distinctive sense of style and may want to sell clothes and accessories that reflect your own tastes. You may even want to focus your efforts on a particular type of clothing such as shoes or accessories. This can work well and of course, it’s easier to sell any product if you have real enthusiasm and passion for it. However, it can also be a dangerous tactic. Whether you are selling clothes that you have designed or buying in stock, it’s essential you research the market to make sure there is demand for the pieces you intend to sell. This means carrying out research on the demographic of shoppers in your area as well as keeping up to date with the latest trends and buying habits in the fashion world. In this respect, reading LadyM Presents totally counts as conducting important research.
2) Learn the art of boutique buying
If you intend to sell designer pieces or even items that you’ve made yourself it’s important to work out and stick to a profit margin, which may be very narrow. One way to boost your profits is to purchase a selection of wholesale clothing that reflects the trends and offers a better return on investment. Just remember, your selection needs to reflect the type of customer you are likely to attract. Maintaining a sense of brand is key to earning repeat custom and while it’s good to stock a range for different tastes and sizes, you want to clearly carve out your own niche in the market.
Consider stocking fashion staples like this little black dress or some skinny jeans. These are items that stay in fashion, are commonly shopped for and can work alongside the more fashion forward items you sell.
3) Remember location, location, location, but don’t let it weigh you down!
You may find yourself limited by budget when choosing your store premises but that doesn’t need to hinder you, just be aware of the type of shoppers in the area. You might have to alter your original vision when you cater to the needs of locals but remember you are working towards a long term goal. Setting up an e-commerce site on the internet can help you open up new revenue streams and expand your business without increasing your spending on premises.
4) Don’t forget the finer details
While there are a lot of things you can take a more relaxed approach to initially and figure out the finer details of later on, there are some things you really need to have in hand from the off. These include business rates, credit arrangements, and insurances such as contents, stock and public and employer liability insurance. It’s these basic business costs that you need to build your business plan around as taking these into account correctly can be the making and breaking of a new business, which is far more likely to fail within the first two years of business.
5) Engage and evolve
Over time your business and the clothes you sell is likely to evolve to meet the needs and wants of your customers. Great customer service is just as important as a sense of exclusivity when you’re a boutique boss – you need to make your customer feel special and so do the clothes you sell. Take your time to get to know your customers and grow your business to meet their needs as well as your vision.
You may start out by targeting the special occasion market and selling special occasion dresses like this racy red number but find that your customers come in looking for more casual daywear. Respond to their needs and adjust your offering accordingly.