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How to Start a Boutique Business In Six Simple Steps [2023 Update]

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Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed whenever you try to start a small business?

Don’t worry, it’s not just you!

Starting up a small business can be challenging if you don’t have a niche market.

Fortunately, more and more people are turning to small businesses, especially to buy their clothes.

Starting your own business can be challenging, so make sure to consider the steps to starting a small business before you take the plunge!

If you’re interested in a traditional store front then here’s what you need to know to successfully start a boutique business in six simple steps!

How Profitable is Owning a Boutique Business?

In order to start any small business, there will always be an upfront cost, called overhead.

For a boutique business, the startup cost includes renting the space, getting inventory and equipment, and signage and other marketing.

The total overhead of starting this kind of business can range from $50,000 to $150,000.

If you don’t have that kind of money though, you could take out a loan or consider selling online to save on rental space!

Are you wondering if startup costs are worth it? They can be!

Boutique business managers make a median pay of about $67,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. That price can be higher or lower, however, depending on how much is sold at your store.

What You’ll Need to Start a Boutique Business [& Associated Costs]

There are a few things that cost money to start up a small business.

In order to get an idea of what’s needed, we’ve compiled a list of the most common, expensive parts of starting a boutique business.

Rental Space

The prices of rental space can vary by location and size.

Prices can start as low as $2 per square foot and go as high as $23.


Depending on your niche or clothing type and the size of your space, you can spend thousands of dollars on inventory alone.

It’s best to consider clothing retailers and brands if you’re looking to be more upscale.

If you offer a secondhand or consignment option, however, you can expect lower costs on your end.


Since you’re a local small business, you can consider partnering with local advertising firms to start your campaign.

You’ll also need to make and maintain a social media presence.

Fortunately, social media doesn’t have to cost money, just time!

POS System

Keeping track of your purchases requires a POS System. Initially, they may cost about $1,200 with each month costing $600 on top of that.

There will be other purchases or payments necessary, but these should be a majority of your budget.

Remember to always keep a little extra set aside in case unseen expenses pop up for your business!

Do I Need a License or Certificates to Start a Boutique Business?

Although you don’t need any certifications to start a small business, you will need to register your company.

There are different costs associated with registering your business, and you will have to file taxes for it.

Hiring an accountant can help you around tax season, but it will be an additional cost.

Although it’s not necessary, you might find it helpful to invest in small business classes as well!

They can help you network and learn the ins and outs of small business startups.

Why You Should Consider Starting a Boutique Business As a Side Hustle

There are plenty of reasons why you would want to start your own boutique business!

In addition to making some extra money, here are four reasons you might consider this side hustle:

  • Be a Part of the Fashion Industry: Are you a fashion-forward person with an eye for style? Selling clothing in a boutique setting would be perfect for you!
  • Offer Style Advice on a Personal Level: A boutique business is small and very customer-focused. That means you have the opportunity to work directly with people! If you like to build relationships with customers and offer style advice, you’ll love this opportunity.
  • Get a Wardrobe Upgrade: You’ll be able to see new styles of clothes as you get more inventory. If you’re the kind of person who wants to upgrade their wardrobe, you get a firsthand look at what’s new!
  • Have a Flexible Schedule: If you’re looking to start a boutique as a side hustle then a flexible schedule is important. You set your hours, and it enables you to have a work-life balance.

How to Start a Boutique Business in Six Simple Steps

If you feel like starting a boutique business is overwhelming, don’t worry!

We’ve compiled a list of the steps you need to get started.

The following are the six steps it takes to start a boutique business.

1. Make a Business Plan

All small businesses need a business plan.

This includes making a few key decisions about the nature of your business, its funding, and what you’re going to sell.

The following are some key questions you’ll need to answer in your boutique business plan.

What Kind of Boutique Do You Want?

There are several types of boutiques you can make!

For example, are you going to start a consignment shop or purchase clothes wholesale?

Either of these options will require different funding and clothing sources.

What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

Every successful business needs a statement of purpose or an elevator pitch.

Basically, if you have five minutes to describe your business’ goal, what would it be?

It’s essential to include what your purpose is for choosing a boutique for your business when writing your elevator pitch.

How Will You Get Funding?

Most small businesses won’t succeed without having enough money to carry the business for up to a year without profit.

It can sometimes take a little while to start making money!

If you don’t have enough money right away, that’s all right!

You can consider applying for a small business loan.

Over half of all small business loan applicants applied for under $100,000.

2. Plan Your Marketing

To gain new customers, you’ll have to consider marketing.

Consider making your business your brand and starting a social media campaign!

You can also use these platforms to offer seasonal promotions to keep customers invested in your business.

3. Find a Good Location

Location matters when it comes to starting a brick-and-mortar business.

Scout potential areas within your price range and see what other sorts of businesses are around.

Also, you might want to check out businesses for sale as well if they’re in your price range!

Since a lot depends on your budget, make sure you have the money to rent the location you choose.

Higher foot traffic might mean higher rent, so choose responsibly.

4. Decide Store Layout

Directing the flow of your customer’s attention is vital to selling merchandise.

How you organize your boutique can let your customers see your products better than any ad can!

For example, you’ll want to make sure you leave enough space between clothing displays for customers to walk comfortably while still maximizing your space.

5. Register Your Business Name/Finish Your Paperwork

It’s critical to register your business name and make sure it’s not trademarked before you file the paperwork.

Once you’ve registered your company for tax-filing purposes, you’ll be on your way to a legal business!

6. Buy Any Products You Need to Open

The following are some of the items you might need to purchase so your boutique runs smoothly:

  • Computers/Scanners/POS Systems
  • Bar code labels
  • Furniture
  • Office supplies
  • Bags for customers
  • Telephone
  • Clothing labels
  • Hangars
  • Clothing racks
  • Mannequins

These are the basic steps you’ll need to successfully start your boutique business.

Remember that all small businesses are a little bit different, so keep your mind open and do what works for you!

Things to Consider When Building a Boutique Business

While starting your boutique business is exciting, there are still a few things you need to think about to be successful.

Here are some additional considerations for your business.

Can You Run a Boutique Business by Yourself?

Yes, you can run a boutique business by yourself.

Since you’re the one who sets the hours, you can decide how much of the schedule and workload to do yourself.

Who Will Open and Close the Store?

If you aren’t able to consistently open and close your boutique, you may want to hire some help!

Deciding to hire employees is a big step for a business owner, and you need to make sure it fits your schedule and budget before you commit to it.

Do You Need More Expertise?

Even if you know the business or fashion end of your boutique inside and out, you may need some help. It’s all right to admit you don’t know everything!

For example, if your business grows and you find you need someone to work on your accounts, you might want to consider hiring someone who knows about the newest accounting software.

INSPIRATION: Boutique Business Ideas

Are you looking for unique ideas for how to make your boutique business stand out?

There are plenty of different types of boutique businesses where you can carve your niche. Here are just a few!

  • Fashionable Kids Clothes: A boutique that focuses on the latest in children’s fashion. A variety of sizes is available since kids grow so quickly.
  • Athletic Wear: A store that has athletic clothing and accessories, like footwear. Different types of workout wear that still look good even while you sweat.
  • Plus Size Formal Wear: Formal merchandise specifically tailored to larger sizes of clothes. Plenty of dresses and suits available for people who may have trouble finding clothes off-the-rack.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have some questions on how to start up your own boutique business? Here are just a few commonly asked questions.

Where Do Boutiques Get Their Inventory?

Some of the most common ways boutique owners get their merchandise are through online retailers.

Many different sites host wholesale clothing, so make sure to do your research before you buy!

Another great source of inventory for new boutique business owners is trade shows.

Not only will you make connections, but you’ll also see many great products available for purchase!

How Many Items Should You Start a Boutique With?

When purchasing clothes from a wholesaler, it’s best to purchase one case pack per style of clothing you want in stock.

case pack contains multiple different sizes for the same style of clothing.

When selecting styles to stock, don’t forget to consider your store as a whole or collection!

Your customers should have a sense of your boutique’s style as they look through your clothing.

Similar Businesses to Consider Starting

If starting a boutique business sounds good, but it’s not quite what you’re looking for, consider some other close alternatives to this business type.

  • How to Start a Clothing Business: Starting a clothing business uses a lot of the same skills as a boutique, but it’s less specialized.
  • How to Start a Jewelry Business: Selling jewelry requires an eye for style, but it deals more with accessories instead of clothing.
  • How to Start an Ecommerce Business: Selling products online means that you won’t have a brick-and-mortar store. Instead of rental space, your budget will have to go more toward online marketing.

Wrapping Up

Using these six steps to starting a boutique business is vital to guide you on your new business venture.

It takes passion and dedication to start a boutique business.

If you’re a fashion-forward person with a unique sense of style then this career path might be for you!

Is starting a boutique business your dream?

Let us know what you think about it in the comments, and don’t forget to share this article if you know anyone who needs extra inspiration for their own inspiration!

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