Starting a company is hard work. Regardless of the prospective industry you want to enter; it’s inevitable that after years of work, insights, and industry experience, you will have amassed an enormous number of tips, tricks, and general knowledge. All of which you wish you knew before starting.
Although you may not have acquired the experience you so dearly yearn for yet, there are people out there who have, and many of them are more than willing to share this with you. If you’re looking to open a clothing boutique, then this is one such area of expertise we hold command in.
Read on for a deep dive into the things you need to know about opening your own boutique.
When you’re opening a business, presuming it will have a brick-and-mortar storefront, its location is one of the fundamental considerations. The location should be the product of rigorous research but also representative of your brand.
Whether you’re looking for retail spaces in San Francisco or locales further afield, the same general rules are going to apply. There need to be measured and economically justified reasons behind your choice of location.
You will want to have a space that balances what is affordable, what is representational of your business, and the specifications of the property itself. Your decision should include considerations about location, price, shop space, number of bathrooms, condition of the premises, and number of power sockets, amongst other things.
Additionally, this should be a direct reflection of who your target markets are. Your target markets will be a breakdown of groups based on demographical identifiers such as age, gender, income, and family values. Once you start to learn more about marketing, you will begin to see that many target markets are prone to similar patterns of behavior.
Below are two Californian case studies of how target markets and location fuse together.
- Beverly Hills (Los Angeles): The reputation of Beverly Hills precedes itself. It’s well-known to be a private pocket of Hollywood elites. It has a median house price of approximately USD$2M, an average household income of over USD$100,000, and had more disposable income than most. Couple this with its density of families, and your high-end boutique products should fit nicely with the location.
- SoMa (San Francisco): Shortened from South of Market, the quirk and character of SoMa are on full display from the moment you say its name. The neighborhood is trendy, diverse, and a hub for the city’s famous queer scene. The perfect place for a boutique should these factors resonate with your intended target market.
2. The importance of a mission statement
Starting a boutique is not like opening a franchise. You are making a statement, carving out your own niche, and taking control of a market that you are both passionate and economically inspired by. Consider this the figurative handbag of your company—it should be bold, stylish, and as the first thing your customers see, it needs to leave an impression.
A mission statement that champions your entrepreneurial spirit while adhering to your grassroots ethos is going to best represent your boutique. An added mix of authenticity and excitement will be the cherry on top.
A lot of people have ideas. These often come to them in the shower, while driving, during boardroom meetings, and practically any other situation where people are unable to properly record them. The problem is, if you don’t have the funds to support them, then there is little chance to actually get them off the ground.
You will require capital to get going, but just how much and how to acquire it is another question. Given this is both a product of business and passion, it should be a commitment of your mind, body, and soul. This also means that, out of every pay packet you receive, a portion of this should be put toward your business.
You can also investigate with the private equity community. These communities provide your business with an advance for a percentage share of your company. The benefit of this is, many of these investors have years, even decades of business experience, so they can often see strengths and weaknesses that you cannot. This kind of expertise is a great asset to have on your side.
4. You need a plan for customer service
When launching our idea off the ground, people often hold their vision, location, and finances with so much importance that they tend to overlook something as essential as customer service. In reality, how you manage your customers is an incredibly important wheel that should fit well within the rest of your machine.
When opening a boutique store, the service within your business comes to hold an even bigger place in the overall experience. Boutique businesses are favored for their specialized knowledge within their niche, and this needs to be reflected in customer management.
Aside from having an authoritative voice, you need to make customers feel welcomed and that the experience they are receiving is a unique one. Your strategy should take these qualities into account to boost your chances of word-of-mouth referrals.
5. The importance of networking
The age-old adage, ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know,’ is about as relevant today as it was when it was uttered. It’s a reality of business that leaves many frustrated, often blaming the system for their own misfortunes. However, the tendency to claim pre-established personal and professional connections lead to non-merited success is not necessarily true, as networking is a skill in itself.
You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours is a euphemized concept that you should be practicing on a daily basis. This could be with customers in the form of a small discount in return for a social media check-in or with suppliers or commercial partners representing their companies within your premises.
If you aren’t confident in your networking abilities, don’t fret. There are numerous guides and resources to help you along the way.
When opening a boutique, there are seemingly a million things to consider. By following the steps above, remaining true to your vision, and making financially rational decisions, this knowledge is crucial to you when taking your boutique from concept to reality.