Recipe for starting a boutique:
- 1 cup passion, whisked with 3/4 cup hope until frothy
- 1/2 cup utter insanity
- 8 pots of coffee
- A pinch of frustration
- Beat all ingredients together until they cry. Phrases like “why am I doing this again,” “nobody thinks I’m stylish, this was all a huge mistake,” and “I think I’m going to just get an office job” indicate doneness.
- Bake in a pressure cooker until your cake is golden brown and fluffy.
- Remove from pressure cooker, sprinkle with equal parts pride, terror and love.
- Serve immediately. (Don’t forget to have a slice yourself, there, sister. You’ve probably been running on fumes for a while.)
I have been answering a lot of questions lately for my sisters in retail who have made the decision to leave LuLaRoe (or another direct sales clothing company) and would like to start their own independent boutiques.
Here’s all my start up boutique advice in one easy reference spot, just for you ladies!
(I’ve also put it into a handy eBook, complete with links so you don’t have to go searching, if that’s more your style.)
So you’re ready to “go indie”.
Let’s get your boutique up and running!
The first thing I suggest you consider when starting a boutique is whether you prefer to be online only, or brick and mortar.
Many brick and mortars are going out of business.
People love the convenience of being able to shop online.
The downside of this, of course, is that when you sell clothing, people also want to be able to feel the fabric blend, try the item on, and get styling ideas.
If you decide you’d like to have a small in-home boutique, here are some things to consider:
- Do you have a designated area in your home to use as the boutique?
- If so, is it in the back of your house so that every time someone comes over to shop, you feel compelled to clean the entire front of your house?
- Do you have pretty consistent days and times you are available for people to come over and shop? If so, are they varied, so you allow the stay at home moms, working moms, etc all ample time to get to you?
I chose to keep my boutique online.
If you are leaving LuLaRoe or another direct sales company, you most likely have already considered these things, so I will move on to the juicier, “how to start your own boutique” stuff!
- Write a business plan.
- Name your boutique. You will need to go on to your state’s Secretary of State website and search for your desired name to make sure it’s not already taken.
- Create an operating agreement. (I know. Snoooore.)
- Register as a business. You can register as a sole proprietor or a limited liability corporation (LLC).
- Get a federal tax ID number.
- Obtain your sellers’ license to purchase wholesale.
- Open up your business checking account. Link it to Square and/or PayPal.
- Brand yourself! This is the fun part!
- Get marketing materials.
- Find your wholesalers.
- Set up your shop. I use Shopify and have been extremely happy with the platform, as have my customers.
- Get your inventory in your shop!
I hope that this is helpful for those of you who are ready to leave LuLaRoe and venture out into the wide world of independent boutique ownership!