Running your own boutique is an exciting way to earn a living, as well as demonstrate a little part of your own personal style. Unlike other businesses, a boutique is a direct reflection of your own view on clothing, jewellery and whatever other goods you intend on selling within your boutique. It's a really personal way of doing things. Running a successful boutique isn't just about keeping the books healthy, but about beguiling people with your own style and way of doing things.
We have some great tips on how to run a successful boutique for many years to come
Find a Niche
What do you want to sell at your boutique? The best boutiques know exactly what they're selling and don't do too much. Focus on your strengths. Do you have an eye for stylish jewellery or scarves? Focus on that, rather than try to spread yourself too thinly with products that you lack expertise in. Boutique customers love to feel they're going somewhere special, somewhere that is fantastic at one or two particular things, rather than a place that does a small amount of everything.
Become an expert in your field and the customers will come, and your reputation will grow.
Consider Your Products Carefully
Because your boutique is so dependent on high quality products, consider each product in your shop carefully. They're a reflection of your personal style as well as what your customers expect from your brand. You want to avoid stocking items that are poorly made or that look tacky, because otherwise your boutique will be judged upon that item. Your reputation is everything here, so make sure it's a consistently great experience for your patrons.
Spread The Word
There are many great ways to market your boutique. Word of mouth is only one such method, but it's an important one. Thanks to the rise of social media, you can spread your name across a wide area very inexpensively. Make sure that your boutique has a solid online presence, in the form of a website, Facebook page, Instagram account, and possibly Twitter feed too.
Images are one of the best ways to capture people's attention so put some time into taking the best photos of your products, as well as your shop. People love to look at beautiful photos, and they could well share them with friends and other users.
When selling products, different times of year means different priorities. Plan ahead. Never leave arranging products for Easter or Christmas until the last minute. Be ready to launch your Christmas line up in September, when people are just starting to consider their gift plans.
The same goes for arranging product lineups, such as having a 'Back to School' sale or promotion. Think ahead at all times and arrange your plans on a calendar.
Hire Enthusiastic Staff
While you may run the boutique alone for a time, eventually, you need to hire additional staff members to run the store. Make sure they're as enthusiastic as you are. They're representatives of your business and it's important that your customers feel as well treated by them, as they are by you.
The last thing you want is to hire someone whose bad attitude turns away potential customers, who in turn tell their friends not to bother visiting you!
Keep On Top Of Your Finances
Running a boutique isn't cheap. Profit margins are often tight, and you want to keep on top of things. Keep an eye on your finances at all times. Make sure you have a buffer in case business slows down, such as during the quieter months of January, so that you're able to ride out any minor storms before things pick u
It's all too easy to focus on the fun parts of business rather than the financial side of things, but that can be a recipe for disaster.
Be Prepared To Work Hard (But Take Time Out Too)
Owning a boutique is fantastically rewarding and satisfying, but it's also exhausting at times. Be prepared to work long hours, especially when first establishing your business and reputation. Unlike other jobs where you can walk away and clock off, this is something that you will end up thinking about during your 'off' hours too.
Work hard but don't be afraid to set yourself limits. Family time and relaxation time is important too. When you're happier in life, so is your family and so are the customers to your boutique.