How to Start a Kids Boutique
Many parents want their children to have adorable and stylish clothes that look nice on them. Opening a children’s clothing boutique enables you to stake a claim on that market, but this isn’t something that you need to try to rush through. Instead, take your time and carefully plan your business so you can enjoy success.
CAREFULLY PLAN YOUR BUSINESS VENTURE
One of the most important things you can do when you want to open a children’s boutique is to learn how to start a boutique. There are several things that you need to think about and plan for before you ever open the doors to your children’s boutique.
As your business grows, you may be able to expand. It’s a good idea to reevaluate these points as you’re making your plan for expansion so you can ensure that it will be profitable. We’d hate to think that your hard work takes a step back because you weren’t thorough in your planning.
Think About What Age Group You’ll Start With
The age group you’ll start catering to is important. While it might be tempting to try to cover newborns through teenagers, that will take a lot of inventory and is a considerable investment. Instead, you should choose one age group to focus on at first. Once you get that age group all situated, you can move on to another.
Try to look at what’s available in your area. You should serve a demographic that’s underrepresented. Some areas have several newborn or baby stores but not a lot of options for tweens. Do some research about what’s available within a reasonable distance from your location and go from there.
Decide What Type of Store You’ll Have
There are a few options for what type of store you can have. You may choose to start with only one of these and then expand to others. Alternatively, you can start out with two of the options that work well with each other, such as social media-based sales and a pop up shop.
Brick and mortar: This is a traditional clothing boutique. You’d have to factor in the cost of things like rent and utilities.
Consignment: Some stores will allow you to present your collection within their establishment. That store will take a portion of the sales you make but you likely won’t have much overhead.
Thrift store: You may consider having a booth at a thrift store or merchant fair. This comes with a rental cost, but it’s likely much less than a brick-and-mortar location.
Pop up shop: Pop up shops are great for craft fairs and similar community events. Some people even find businesses that will let them set up a booth in the parking lot. You’ll pay a fee for these but you may be able to find a busy location.
Online sales: Online sales usually require you to have a website, which can be a considerable expense for a start-up venture. Finding an inexpensive website with merchant technology that’s easily added to your storefront is important.
Social media sales: Creating social media profiles for your children’s boutique can help drive sales. You’ll have to work on getting followers, and the social media profile may need to point to a website for online orders unless you plan on taking and filling orders by hand at first.
Determine What Styles You Will Offer
When you first open your children’s clothing store, having one similar style might be beneficial. You can always branch out to similar styles. For example, you could have a children’s boutique that caters to tweens who are looking for sophisticated clothing that’s not too baby-ish. Think about what the kids in your area are wearing so you can try to meet those needs.
You may find that the offerings need to change throughout the year. For example, swimsuits aren’t going to sell well in Michigan during the winter. During those colder months, you may choose to keep a selection of swimsuits for people who go to indoor pools. Add in some winter gear, such as stylish coats and hats, to help you make sales and pay the bills during those colder months.
Luibelle is a great example of how diverse the selection can be at a children’s boutique. The store offers a great selection but isn’t overwhelming with its options.
Obtain Proper Permits and Licenses
You need to check with your local government offices to determine what type of permits or licenses you need to operate legally. You shouldn’t ever open a business without this because it can cost you a lot in the long run if you don’t have things in order with the government.
One way that you can find out exactly what you need is to contact the Small Business Administration office near you. We’ve found that they’re very helpful for businesses that are just starting out.
Price Your Inventory and Order It
Once you know who you want to cater to and have your licenses and permits, you can start to gather your inventory. Look for good prices on items because you’ll have to mark that up a bit to help you cover your expenses.
You shouldn’t just go buy the cheapest clothing you can find. Instead, look for good deals on quality items. We would hate to think that your children’s boutique gets a reputation for having overpriced items that are of a poor quality.
Figure Out Sale Prices and Policies
After you order your inventory, you’ll have to set the prices for each piece. This needs to be enough to cover your bills and make you a profit, but it can’t be priced so highly that your customers won’t make purchases.
You also have to think about your policies. This includes the policy for returning items. For example, consider whether you only want to accept returns if the item is unused and still has the tags attached.
MARKET YOUR BUSINESS
You need to create a marketing plan for your business. This is important because you won’t have infinite money to advertise the children’s boutique at first. You may be able to find parents who are willing to buy a few items at your cost so their children can wear the items as a way to advertise to the community. If you do this, consider requiring them to post pictures of the outfit on social media with a tag to your boutique.
Never underestimate the power of social media. Your only brand presence can go a long way toward your boutique’s success. Take the time to create social media pages and interact with customers and potential customers. For many children’s boutiques, this is the best form of marketing.
For the most part, social media marketing is free. You can pay for sponsored placements and for advertising, but some people don’t do that. The paid options might be something to consider after you get your boutique up and running.
Ultimately, it’s best to take your time to get your children’s clothing store started. All of this information about how to start a kids boutique is a great starting point to help you on your venture. By working through the planning and set up at a diligent pace without rushing, you’re bolstering your chance for a successful business venture.
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