The clothing that you wear is meant to show who you are. It is a way to show people your style, who you love, and your lifestyle. It can be hard to cultivate your individuality with clothes from the mall that everyone is also wearing.
People are always trying to sell the next best thing in fashion. However, there is another way to do this. A boutique is a way for people to buy clothes that are exactly their style at a relatively low cost to them. This is a really appealing market right now and it’s really simple to get started.
If you have already started a boutique, you might be looking for help on how to advance your store.
Although an online boutique can be fun, it can also be stressful. Here, we’ll show you all the tips and tricks whether you’re just thinking about starting a boutique, or you’re already in business.
Start With The Basics
The very first thing you should do if you want to start a boutique is figure out who you want to market to. Once you figure this out, you should do some research online for which products sell well to that market. Of course, the first thing that shows up on Google might not be your best bet. This will likely be mostly products that are over saturated in the online clothing market. You should dig a little deeper to really find clothes that fit the style you are going for.
Once you start looking at the products that you like, you should create a list of suppliers. It is important to find one that fits your needs and of course, is very reliable. See what each one can offer you and then make your decision from there. In the clothing selling community it can be tough to find a supplier who can do all the things you want them to, so you may have to compromise on a few small things.
Another great place to start is by talking to people who know the market. If you happen to have a friend or coworker who has mentioned that they help run a boutique online, consult with them about how to get started and who their supplier is. You have to be willing to put yourself out there in this market in order to get the best results.
If you don’t personally know anyone then you can usually get a good base from social media. Lots of people who have online stores also have Instagram accounts where they advertise their clothing. Start scrolling through these accounts for ideas and inspiration. However, never copy someone’s exact aesthetic and marketing style. This is considered tacky in the online boutique community and can create awkward tension amongst you and other sellers.
Figure Out Your Brand
There are a lot of people in this business right now. This means that you need to have a unique perspective if you are going to be successful. So make sure to decide what your brand is going to be. Will it be a beachy vibe, more of a mountain style, or even a bohemian look. These are just a few examples of specific marketing choices people have made. Once you decide on a brand and who you are marketing to, you should determine what this type of person would want to see in a clothing store. Find pieces that really speak to you, so that you can sell them knowing they are special.
Depending on where you live, you may not have access to specific clothing from suppliers. This can be a huge bummer, but don’t worry! There are alternatives. For example, if you are going to be selling clothes in your area mostly, you will have to consider the weather in your location. If it is rarely ever sunny or warm, then beachy clothes probably will not sell as well.
However, if you develop your business to ship countrywide, this won’t be an issue. You could even sell surfing gear from Iowa. Your shipping policies are up to you and what you can afford.
Make a Choice
As we mentioned before, no supplier will be the same and you will have to decide what is important to you. At this point in the process, after doing your research and figuring out your brand, you’ll have to make some decisions about your boutique. You may come to the conclusion that choosing more than one wholesaler is right for you. It’s all about what works for your budget and vision.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Think about your MOQ. This is the minimum order quantity which most suppliers will have. Some suppliers require more than others so keep that in mind when picking one. You don’t want to have to buy hundreds of items if you can really only afford to buy twenty. This is a very important factor, so don’t forget about this aspect when buying from wholesalers.
- The time it takes to ship your items can also vary. This is especially true when it comes to larger orders because they can take more time to process and get shipped out. If you have a deadline, you will need to find out how long it will take for the items to arrive. You should also make sure that you sort out the payment terms. It’s essential that you are able to make payments when it works with your schedule.
A lot of wholesalers ship items from overseas. China is a very popular wholesaler location and being overseas can limit what will be available to you in America. There are also plenty of local options too.
Buying from overseas can also limit your shipping deadlines and your payments options. If you want another option, you can think about dropshipping. This is where you purchase your stock based on your orders that come in. This can be a really good option financially speaking. It means that you wouldn’t have to worry about overbuying products and them never selling. This will allow you more time and money to invest in your branding and marketing. Focusing on the customer’s needs is very important for boutiques.
Let’s Talk Quality
One of the most frustrating things when it comes to buying online, is not getting what you expected in the mail. Misleading item descriptions leads to disgruntled customers and bad reviews for your website. So, when thinking about who your wholesaler will be, make sure you are able to check the quality of the clothing first. See if you are able to order samples of the products you will be buying from them.
You don’t want to dropship anything without seeing it first because it could end up looking completely different from the way it was advertised to you and the customer. If you are going to invest money in this business, you’ll want to be selling quality clothing items from a reputable seller.
Finally, one of the last aspects you should think about for your business is inclusivity. Marketing to only one body type can be inconsiderate. Including a wide variety of sizes can help your brand appear to everyone in different walks of life. Not only is this a good move for your boutique’s ethics, but it can also drastically increase your profits. The more people who are able to buy your products, the more customers you have. Plus-size clothing is one of the fastest growing segments in the industry.
If you want your brand to stand out, you should consider including as many sizes as you can. This can help set your brand apart because not every company bothers doing this. Some stores only sell S-L and that’s it. This limits men and women from purchasing the clothing they want to wear. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful and should be able to express themselves through their clothing. This might limit your suppliers, but it is probably worth it in the long run.
Ultimately, the decisions you make for your store are up to you. That is the beauty of running your own business. On the flip side of the coin, this can cause a lot of stress for you if you are doing it alone. There are so many options out there for customizing your boutique, you could brand it and rebrand it a hundred times without repeating yourself. Doing your research diligently will ensure that you find the right products for you.
Make sure that you are marketing to your buyers, looking at different suppliers, and making customers your number one priority. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business to run. It’s so important to create that relationship of trust with the people who buy from you so that they keep coming back. If they do this, your boutique will spread quickly and you will gain even more customers.
After reading these tips and tricks hopefully you are headed in the right direction for starting/continuing your wholesale boutique journey. Make sure you feel confident about all the business decisions you make and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!