If your business idea or dream is to start a clothing boutique then there’s no better place to get advice than from boutique owners who have already been where you are and are currently running a successful boutique. Whether your plan is to start an online store or open a physical location, the advice these boutique owners gave is invaluable.
Some of them earn $20,000 a month, while others are still striving for $20,000 a year. Some have a blue checkmark next to their name on social media, while others couldn’t care less. Some have been around for over 30 years, some started during the pandemic.
The amazing thing is every boutique owner who contributed to this article is at a different stage of their business, and each has something valuable to add to the conversation of starting a clothing boutique.
In no particular order, let’s see what these boutique owners have to say about starting a clothing boutique in 2022!
You don’t have to be perfect, just start. There’s a lot that I still don’t know and that I’m learning as I go. As long as you are passionate, everything will work out!
The boutique industry is very welcoming and supportive.
My biggest piece of advice for aspiring boutique owners is to go for it – we all started somewhere, but none of us started with perfection.
So, start where you’re at, stay consistent, take every education opportunity, & stay true to you – it will pay off!
To an aspiring clothing boutique owner, mindset is everything. Work hard on your mindset, and everything else will flow easier. Know that if you’re waiting for the perfect time to begin, you’ll be waiting forever. It’s okay to not have it all figured out, but you need to start somewhere.
Always stay one step ahead of where you were yesterday, lose the comparisons, and keep your mindset in line.
The advice I’d give to an aspiring boutique owner is to find some examples of people doing what you want to be doing, and look to them as proof that it’s possible until you become your own proof.
Don’t listen to the advice of people who have never had the courage to go after their own dreams, people who have zero knowledge about running boutiques, or people who were unsuccessful and now try to dissuade others from following their dreams.
Listen to the advice of people who have successfully done what you want to do. Lastly, look up Emily Benson and the boutique training academy. Thank me later.
Just go for it. Whatever you want to do, you need to go for it. If you don’t, you’ll always think about it and wish you had tried.
If you do it you have two outcomes: success and knowledge, or failure and knowledge. Either way, what a great learning experience.
It’s better to just go for it instead of holding yourself back and thinking of all the what ifs. You don’t want to have that kind of regret…
As an aspiring clothing boutique owner it’s important to identify what your brand will represent and the story you want to tell through your product. With so many boutiques it’s important to identify what makes your brand different and how you plan to attract customers. And remember that the little things matter, such as marketing materials.
I would advise a new boutique owner to have a solid business plan and great vendors to help bring their brand to life.
Make a plan, know your why and be yourself. Have one person that you can bounce ideas off of that will give you honest feedback. Listen to your customers, they are the ones who keep your doors open. This business is hard, so keep pushing and don’t give up.
Save up as much money as you can before you open your business so you aren’t relying so heavily on the business to keep you out of debt. This will help you remain genuine and enable you to keep doing what you love even in the slower seasons of business.
Go for it! Don’t overwhelm yourself with the opinions of others. Days will be hard! Have patience and faith in yourself don’t give up on your dream!
Be original and do you. Don’t worry about everyone else and don’t compare yourself to others. Build your brand and learn your customer base.
As a small business owner the to do list is endless. Prioritize, work within your strengths and hire out what saves you time as your budget allows.
Prioritize self-care. As a business owner, you can’t run a business if you are run down, exhausted or sick. You are your number one asset so take care of yourself like you would take care of your best friend.
Don’t let perfect kill good. As a perfectionist this is a tough one. Everything does not have to be perfect. Sometimes perfection can overwhelm us and paralyze us.
Keep moving forward and learn from all of your mistakes. So what if your social post, email or photo isn’t perfect?
People gravitate toward authenticity not perfection.
Invest in quality systems and know the business side inside and out. Research, research, research! In order to be successful, you must track your numbers and know what your demographic is.
Our first piece of advice for an aspiring clothing boutique owner, would be to have a clear vision and goal of what sort of boutique they are looking to have. Write a plan with the goals you want to achieve, and look at it constantly, always adding to your plan.
Next step is do your research and get to know your clientele. The age group, your style and what makes your business stand out from the competition.
Passion and drive is a major factor! Without that, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Having a great support system to back you up can really help to achieve your goal.
Finally, a background in some sort of retail isn’t completely necessary, but the knowledge you can acquire can be extremely beneficial in helping to get your business off the ground and growing.
Research and take your time! Don’t rush the process.
Get to know who you are serving. What does that ideal customer look like? Is she your friend? Is she you?
And remember you won’t be for everybody and that’s ok! Stay true to your brand and what you represent.
When buying for your store, think about who you are buying for. Keep your customers in mind, buy for them. And remember it’s about the experience
I would encourage anyone opening a boutique to have a very clear and specific vision for their store. Will you carry the trendiest styles or timeless pieces? Will you carry clothing and gifts or just clothing? Will your target demographic be women under 30, over 50?
All these answers are invaluable when buying inventory. If you’re uncertain whether or not to buy an item, ask yourself if it is consistent with your vision. (It also helps with marketing.)
Passion, listen, focus (on who you customer is), research, and most of all, build long term relationships.
My one piece of advice is to hone in on who your customer is. Buy for her and market to her. It’s easy to get caught up in what people say they want, but they may not really be your customer. So, you need to just trust your mission and stay focused on that!
Know your target market and study them as much as you can. Focus on a particular style and perfect it, rather than appealing to the masses. And have fun.
Build your connection with customers – get people engaging and interested first before buying inventory – find out what they like and who they are.
If I we’re to give an aspiring boutique owner one piece of advice it would be to take your time building your inventory.
When I first opened my boutique, I compared myself to established brands (which almost every business owner does when they first start out) but it’s an unrealistic comparison.
Learn your customer prior to opening your business/ buying your first batch of inventory. Make sure you know who your target audience is and then select 3-5 pieces to launch. I learned that there’s more profit in dropping 1-2 pieces per week than 4-6.
Selling out of inventory & replenishing it like a revolving door is what keeps your customers on their toes rather than sitting on the same product until it hits clearance!
I think that it’s important to really focus on carrying more essential items that your customer needs than carrying trend items. Give them something they can’t live without vs something that becomes questionable the next season!
Know your market WELL and then only buy what they love, not what you personally love.
Have a vision for your shop and make sure that’s clear to your target client.
- What’s in it for THEM:
Show them the benefits of shopping with you versus someone else.
- Exceptional Service:
If a client took 15 min to visit your shop or shop your site, make sure they know you value them and their time.
Prepare to be flexible and ready for any situation.
Don’t be afraid of competition, it will force you to work harder at what you do and the result will be a better brand. Find ways to set yourself apart from your competitors.
Invest in a fantastic team and focus on customer service!
Always remember why you do what you do. Always make sure you tell your team why and what is your vision is.
You need the right team in order to grow. And it’s okay if people come in and go! But learn why because we never stop learning to achieve our goals.
Remember how you started and always see how much you have overcome. Leading isn’t easy and it’s okay to make mistakes, but learn from them and never let them overcome you.
I began my career in retail at the age of 15. I have done everything from sales to management and towards the latter part of my career I worked in store design and visual merchandising. Having this experience helped me tremendously when I decided to open my own boutique.
What I would tell a new boutique owner is that it is important to have a vision and stick with it. You will make many mistakes. I have and still do. You order something that you love, and it just doesn’t sell and then you order something that you wish you had 3x the amount because it was so good.
Listen to your customers, take hints from them but don’t allow them to tell you what to do. At the end of the day, it is your store and your money on the line.
I don’t shop for myself when I am in market. I keep my customers in mind and when I am ordering I am thinking of specific people who are wearing the items.
As you grow and gain experience you should take some risks. You will be very surprised at how that will pay off in the end.
Stay strong and be in your business. I have had mine 25 years and I am hands in every aspect.
Be prepared to work hard. Don’t open a boutique because you think it sounds glamorous. It’s so much more than playing around with clothing & accessories all day. I knew this going into it after being a store manager for 9 years.
I love what I do but I don’t think people realize how much actually goes into running a business.
My advice would be to keep pushing, during the hard times and the great times. Success is built, and you can do it!
Patience and grace are key — have patience with yourself and your business as well as your team. Patience is truly a virtue but if everyone practiced patience there would be more understanding and ultimately success to go around!
One thing I can say about running a business is nothing worth having is easy and there’s going to be moments you think you should give up and there’s a tone of pressure on you. That’s when you keep going!
Diamonds are made under pressure, and I really don’t think that’s a coincidence.
My advice would be to always follow your gut! So many people will give you their opinions and question your choices, but at the end of the day, this is yours! Make sure you love it. And that makes going to work every day easy!
Just get out there and do it. Don’t overthink it. And trust your gut. Don’t let others get in your way or dim your light.
‘Trust yourself’ is the best advice I can give.
One piece of advice we would give to an aspiring clothing boutique owner would be to just do it! Don’t try to get everything perfect before starting because perfection doesn’t exist, and you will never start. Start small and learn as you go.
Find a good team of people to work with who will help you and mentor you.
The most important thing to remember is that growing a business takes time. It’s a marathon, not a race. Keep trying things to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly- enjoy the process!
The biggest piece of advice I could share with any aspiring boutique owner is to do what you love with love!
It’s so important your niche and purpose align with how you truly want to represent your business and your personal brand! When you really do love what you do, it shines from within you and your brand.
Anything can be temporary, but the love and purpose for what you do and who you serve must always outshine the trials you will face along the way.
Just keep going and be consistent! Sometimes you will have 0 sale days, but keep being consistent and it will pay off!
Remember why you started and YOUR vision. Ignore all the noise around you and focus on what you want to create.
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