If you have a passion for fashion, opening an online clothing boutique might be for you. There are a lot of advantages to opening one, such as low overhead.
If you have an interest in the fashion industry and love clothes, opening an online clothing boutique might be for you. There are a lot of advantages to opening an online boutique, such as low overhead. You do not have to rent an office and can use drop shipping to eliminate the need for warehouse space. Below are a few things to consider when starting an online boutique.
Licenses and Permits
The sale of clothing doesn’t require a special business license. An online clothing boutique requires essentially the same licensing as a brick and mortar store. You will want to officially form a business in your state. You can check out the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website for help registering with your state in order to collect sales taxes. If you expect to be storing a large inventory of products, you might have to check out your local lease or zoning codes. However, this can be avoided by using drop shipping. This is a fulfillment method where you don’t hold any inventory. Instead, when a customer buys a product, you ship it directly from a third party manufacturer to the customer.
Type of Clothes
Before opening an online clothing store, you must consider the type of clothes you want to sell. Perhaps you can sell baby clothing for expecting mothers, back to school clothes for students or sports attire for gym goers. It is important to know who your target audience is before you start your business. This will help determine everything you do from the types of clothes you sell to how you advertise to your clients.
Franchise or Individual
Starting as a franchise can give you an upper hand by buying into an already established brand. You can leverage the brand’s already established customer base to drive sales as well as use their knowledge and proven marketing and operations strategies to run your business. However, within the online boutique space, there are not a lot of options. In many cases it is more cost effective to either start your own brand or buy an existing one.
Use wholesale suppliers when looking for clothes for your online boutique. You can get very good wholesale rates from websites such as Alibaba or Globalsources.com, which have over two million qualified suppliers to choose from. If you are looking for quality wholesale clothing products, consider looking at Korean made clothing.
Another place to consider for wholesale clothing is fashion shows such as the Dallas Market Center Fashion Show or the Atlanta Apparel Market Fashion Show. They are places where you can see all the latest trends as well as talk with and buy directly from the suppliers.
Set Up Your Website
When setting up your website make sure to choose a shop name that customers will remember and that matches the type of clothes you are selling. It is important that it has a good presentation and is well organized. If you do not know how to do this yourself, you can contact professionals or use ready-to-use ecommerce platforms such as Quick2Host.com or Shopify.
Storing Your Products
If you decide to store the products in your own home, make sure that they are properly stored in a cool, dry location away from pets, children, smoke and moisture. Consider buying insurance as a back-up. Even if you are using drop shipping or a fulfillment service such as Fulfillment by Amazon, still make sure to let them know how to properly store your products.
Promote your clothing business. This can include hosting a fashion show featuring your products or using social marketing tools such as Facebook and Instagram. However, make sure to make your content useful and engaging to your customers. Instead of just including photos of your clothes, show how they look like on a person and in everyday situations. Provide fashion tips. For example, what types of clothing might go well with one of your products.