How to start a successful clothing boutique

If you want to be at the forefront of the fashion industry, then opening a small fashion retail outlet could be the best business decision you could make.

Understand your market and a small clothing boutique could be a winner

Understand your market and a small clothing boutique could be a winner

We’ve all considered ourselves to be trendsetters at some point in time, even for the most ridiculous or bland clothes purchases we make. If you buy a pair of Converse at the age of 13 then see someone else wearing them, the only answer to this coincidence is that they were inspired by your purchase.

Nowadays, this blatant egotism is less likely. The complex algorithms run by Amazon and the like have made even younger generations savvy about being slaves to the same trends as defined by intelligent marketers.

Even the average person on the streets understands the idea of demographics, as well as how we’re all pigeonholed into a narrowly defined set of statistics. And with such knowledge comes a sense of disillusionment about the idea of uniqueness, the notion that trendsetters only exist within marketing departments.

But that doesn’t mean trendsetters don’t still exist. When the well of inspiration has run dry, these intrepid marketing departments look to hip and happening boutique shops to find out about the hottest new trends and clothing lines.

If you want to be at the forefront of the fashion industry, then opening a small fashion retail outlet is the best business decision you could make.

With the independence that comes with running your own business, you’ll be able to stock the clothes you feel are in fashion, whether that means avant garde leather leggings or a populist bodycon dress you could find on the high street. The fashion world is your oyster – as long as you can coax in a steady stream of customers and keep those profit margins high.

Opening a fashion boutique comes with its own unique set of problems. So to help you out, we’ve come up with a few tips to get you started.

Get yourself connected

Even in small towns you’ll find a vibrant and excitable number of local fashion designers, and they’ll all be raring to have their work presented in your shop.

To find these locals, try networking at local gallery openings, fashion events and openings of other clothing shops. There’s always a soiree somewhere, so keep your ear to the ground.

The major benefit of using these local artists and designers to populate your shop is myriad. You’ll be able to make deals with your local supplier more easily and will have an instant USP.

Understand your customers

A small fashion store is serving a niche. And if you don’t understand your customers fully, that niche will dry up quicker than a drop of water in the Gobi desert.

Research your customers thoroughly. Study what they wear when they walk through your door. Chat to them about your latest products to gauge their interest. With this information at your disposal, you’ll be able to hold onto your customers and, more importantly, their money.

Stay current

Fashions change, literally, with the seasons, so you have to always stay one step ahead of the game. Research all the latest trends thoroughly and keep your eyes open for any seismic changes in the fashion world. They could affect your entire business.

Be more than a boutique

No matter where you’re located, conveying the impression that you’re at the epicentre of the fashion world is the best way to get noticed. Hold fashion shows (or sponsor them), stock fashion magazines, make a noise about your favourite designers. You’ll look like the most knowledgeable fashionista in your postal code, and business will be all the better for it.

Have you got any great tips on running a small fashion boutique? Let us know in the comments below.

Nominations are now open for the British Small Business Awards 2017, the leading event celebrating the brightest stars in the SME sector. Click here to enter, and make sure you get involved today using the hashtag #BSBAwards. Good luck!

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