Boutique Entrepreneur: Where to Start

Published: 21st June 2010
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Becoming your own boss and gaining certain freedoms can be a very alluring prospect. If you have a passion for fashion and are interested in running your own business, then starting a boutique could be the job for you.

First, you should come up with a great idea. Most people starting boutiques want to sell something that they're passionate about or something that they know how to sell already. This isn't necessarily what you should be considering. Of course, there is something to be said for being passionate about your work, but you have to ask yourself, "Am I biased?" More often than not, the answer is "yes".

To make sure that you are choosing the best products for your boutique, you have to look at it as if you were an investor, personally uninterested in the products themselves. What would you look for? The answer is profitability. You would want to pick products that make the most money. To do that, you have to look at several things.

One is turnover. Does the product you're selling make people want to come back for more? Is it something that they will need to replace or replenish? This is especially important to consider for a small boutique because you won't have as much to sell. If people shop there once, love it, but then never come back, then you're just constantly trying to find ways to get new customers into your store. Depending on your location, you probably have the same people driving by all the time. So, if you can't turn them into long-term customers, then you're going to be spending a lot of time alone.

Finding a great product with a high profit margin is especially important in the first few years, because you will have loans to pay off and you will also need to invest in new products. Getting more funding from banks or investors is sometimes more difficult after your store is up and running. You will most likely be investing your own personal money. Having products with high profit margins can save you and help you to expand and grow your business.

Once you've started, make sure that you do a lot of research. Learn about your competition. Try to find out what they've done in the past that worked or didn't work. Consider every promotion an opportunity to gain life-long customers. Set up your store in a way that is easy to navigate. Use retail supplies, like slatwall panels, to get clothing up where people can see it. Slatwall is a great way to maximize a small space, too. Simply move the slatwall accessories around to accommodate what you need and create an interesting slatwall display. You can carry more products in less space than you might have imagined, increasing your chances of carrying the right products that will make you the most money.

About the Author: Ron Maier is the Vice President of S & L Store Fixtures, a leading online resource for retail displays, including mannequins, dress mannequin forms, female mannequins, slatwall and slatwall panels. For more information, please visit

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