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What Are the Best Tips for Opening a Boutique?

By Maggie Worth
Updated May 17, 2024
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A boutique is a small specialty shop that often carries clothing or gift items. Someone interested in opening a boutique should carefully consider what type of merchandise he wishes to carry. In addition, he should be sure to have adequate funding before beginning his venture, should follow all applicable governmental and regulatory restrictions and should plan to market the business. Writing a basic business plan can help address all those factors while also providing clear direction for the proprietor.

Merchandise is very important to a boutique. The items carried are often not available at larger stores. Opening a boutique that will be successful in a given area means making sure the type of merchandise is interesting and appropriate to the customers who are likely to shop there. Merchandise price points are also critical to success.

Rushing or skipping steps is not a good idea when opening a boutique or any other type of business. Owners should make sure they have obtained all the permits and licenses they need and that they have adequate liability and other insurances. Attempting to operate without these necessary items can result in fines and heavy economic losses that can cause a business to fail before it even gets off the ground. Likewise, violation of some ordinances can cause a business to be temporarily or permanently shut down.

Adequate funding is also critical to opening a boutique. Many small businesses fail because they underestimate the costs involved or are too optimistic about early sales. Most experts recommend against starting a business unless it can support itself for six months to two years without a profit.

Another important factor is marketing. A person looking to open a boutique should evaluate local advertising opportunities and consider a website and/or social media presence. He might want to join a local chamber of commerce, plan an exciting grand opening event and issue a well-written press release to online and print publications in his area as well.

Opening a boutique is like many other businesses in that it is always wise to have a business plan. A business plan helps an owner get a clear sense of the market potential, develop a marketing plan and really think about all the expenses he is likely to incur. If the boutique needs funding through an investor or a loan from a financial institution, a well-written business plan is essential. Help in writing business plans is available online, through books and articles, and through some small business associations.

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Discussion Comments
By anon325364 — On Mar 15, 2013

If you are going to open a boutique, definitely do your research. You should know the demographics of the people in the area inside and out.

I would also suggest at least applying for a loan, even if you don't actually end up getting one. Why? Because the bank will require you to have a well thought out business plan before they would approve you for a loan. So even if you don't want a loan from the bank, if you can apply at no fee, I would suggest applying so that you could have a banker at least look at your business plane and tell you whether you are dreaming or not.

Oh, and it relates to the first part about studying the demographics, because you can't have a decent business plan without having thoroughly studied the demographics of the area in the first place.

By anon323564 — On Mar 06, 2013

We allocated a budget for the interiors of our store when we opened it last year. We hired people from a shopfitting company in Brisbane and the results were good. We were able to attract a lot of customers because of design of the store.

By kylee07drg — On Jul 14, 2012

I know a lady in my town who opened up a boutique without studying her target market first. The business failed, and she just couldn't understand why.

She tried selling some items that were going for high prices online and in bigger cities. What she didn't figure in was the fact that nearly everyone in our town has a pretty low income. They could not afford to pay the high prices that she was charging, and even if they could, they had learned the value of a dollar and were not about to spend their hard-earned money on boutique items.

So, if you are planning on opening a boutique in a small country town with residents making small salaries, don't plan to sell luxury items. Offer items at affordable prices or even bargains, if possible.

By wavy58 — On Jul 14, 2012

One of my pet peeves is small stores like boutiques that do not have their own websites. In this age, having a web presence is essential for promotion, as well as survival!

I can't tell you how many times I have tried to find a boutique's website to get information like store hours, only to find that one doesn't exist. Some boutiques have only a social media page, and not a lot of info is offered here.

I think every boutique should at least have a basic website with the store address, hours, and phone number listed, as well as some photos of merchandise. Of course, it is in their best interest to offer products for sale online, but if that just isn't a possibility, they should at least offer their basic information to the public so that potential customers can find them.

By StarJo — On Jul 13, 2012

@seag47 – Hard work really does pay off. It's great if a person has a job that pays well enough for them to save enough to be able to open a boutique. However, most of us have to rely on loans.

I know that location is very important, but if you rent a building in a highly visible spot downtown, sometimes the rent can break you. It's hard to make enough money to cover it.

So, if you can find a spot with cheap rent, I think it's best to go for that and then advertise like crazy. You will have to spend a good bit on advertising, but once people see your ads and find out that you are there, you can slack off on it. It sure beats paying high rent every month.

By seag47 — On Jul 13, 2012

I have a lot of respect for people who have the motivation and determination to open a boutique. I have always thought it would be awesome to run one, but I never wanted to deal with all the headache of paperwork and legalities.

I have a friend who is super motivated and a self-starter, and she owns a successful boutique. She had worked at a furniture factory before, and she had saved up thousands of dollars with this goal in mind. So, her boutique was fully funded by the money in her own savings account.

It didn't make a profit for the first four months, but after that, business picked up. She now sees a good profit just about every quarter.

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