Updated on: Jul 22nd, 2022
7 min read
A boutique is a small retail shop selling fabric, clothes, accessories and other goods to a specific segment of people. A boutique business does not require much capital and can be managed by even one person. In India, starting a boutique business usually requires a minimum investment of two to five lakhs.
A boutique usually caters to women who prefer personal shopping and get help for their style assessments. Many individuals sell sarees and dress materials from homes. Some of the primary functions of a boutique include alterations, giving personal appointments to customers, and personal shopping.
A boutique business is profitable when you have an artistic sense and good taste. If you are a fashion designer, you can open a boutique and sell your creations. You can also tie up with vendors and sell their products or dresses in the boutique. The requirements to start a boutique business in India are mentioned below.
The first thing for starting a boutique business is preparing a business plan. The business plan acts as a road map for setting the store, its development, and expansion. The business plan should have the following details:
Starting a small boutique in India usually requires an investment of Rs.2 lakh to Rs.5 lakh. You can start a boutique by putting your savings or borrowing funds from your friends and family. You can apply for a working capital business loan from a bank or financial institution to run your boutique. You may also apply for an SME loan. You can apply for SME loans under various government schemes that provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs to set up small-scale industries.
Conducting market research is essential. You should identify your proposed customer’s age, income level, lifestyle and education. It helps to understand the customer preferences and stock items of their interest. If your city is humid or has tropical weather, you can choose linen and cotton fabrics for clothing instead of synthetic materials.
You can research what is lacking in the market or provide something new that the customers do not know. It will make your boutique distinct from other boutiques in the neighbourhood. You can also determine the purchasing patterns of customers residing near your boutique’s location. It will help you gain customers.
When you design clothes to sell in your boutique, you should identify a source that will supply quality raw materials. Find out manufacturers that specialise in raw materials that are required for your boutique. Ask for samples of the fabric, threads, buttons, etc., that you need from the manufacturers. When you have the sample, you can check its quality and negotiate the price with them. Ensure to choose suitable quality materials to maintain reliability with your customers.
When you purchase clothes from various manufacturers or sellers and sell them in your boutique, you need to look out for vendors. Identify wholesalers who have the dress designs that you want to sell. A good method to search for vendors is to find reputable apparel wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors in your area. If you stay in a metropolitan city, you can inquire at local shops and flea markets to find out if clothes vendors or wholesalers will visit your area. You may even approach small business owners on the internet willing to provide clothes for your boutique.
You can lease or rent a small place to start your boutique. The location of your boutique should be accessible to your target customers. The location should be close to main roads, have parking places and not have much traffic. You can start an online boutique with a warehouse where you stock your clothes. Find a warehouse close to your house, so you do not need to travel much. However, keep your items trendy and conduct market research before you stock inventory.
Choose the proper legal structure for your boutique business. You can establish your business as a sole proprietorship or company. Usually, boutiques are established as sole proprietorships since one person starts them. But when it is established as a company, either One Person Company (OPC) or a private limited company, it is easy to obtain funds and establish other branches.
Register your boutique business as a sole proprietorship or company. It would help if you also decided on a name for the boutique. Ensure that the name is not similar to another company name as it might confuse your customers.
Since it is a shop, you must also get the Shop and establishment Act registration from the respective state authorities. Also, you need to get a Permanent Account Number (PAN) for your boutique. You can also purchase insurance for your boutique to protect it from burglaries, theft, and product liability claims.
It would help if you made a marketing strategy to promote and attract customers. You can send flyers to residents or potential customers or advertise in local newspapers. You can also collect customers’ emails and mail them new arrivals and planned discounts.
Create social media accounts for your boutique. Many startup boutiques have gained loyal customers by uploading the pictures and designs of clothes on their Facebook pages. Publish your products on social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram to generate leads for your boutique.
Make a website of your boutique and provide information about your products on the website. Many people shop online and order clothes from websites directly. Social media accounts, TV and radio advertising, a YouTube channel of the boutique and blogging are marketing tactics by which you could try to promote your business.
A single person runs many boutiques, but as the business grows, you will need to hire a dependable staff. You will also need sales girls/boys, an accountant, tailors, designers and a store manager. You will also need someone to clean the place.
Opening a boutique business is an insightful and interesting idea. You will learn how to handle finances, purchasing, marketing and organising the business as it grows. It is a business that can be started without hiring many people initially and with low investment.
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