Tricks of the Trade : The Untold Secrets to Owning A Boutique

Whether you’ve been shopping in your community and realized that there are limited offerings, or you have had a lifelong dream of owning your own boutique, inspiration will strike you in the most unusual places and times.  Owning your own fashion boutique is an exciting time filled with new opportunities and experiences. Having a mentor to guide you along the path is ideal but is typically not an easy find. So here are a few tricks that every budding small business owner should remember:

You are only as good as your employees are

The old saying, ‘You are only as strong as your weakest link’, will keep you focused on the team you hire, train and motivate each day.  Your customer’s experience depends on the team members in your store. You can have the best merchandise displayed perfectly, be located in a high foot-traffic location, but if the customer experience is not up to expectations, you’ll have issues retaining your customer base.

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Hiring a new employee is essential when growing your business, but doing your due diligence is equally as important.  It’s crucial to check references, do a background check and conduct the actual interview. These are steps in the hiring process that gets many business owners tangled. Don’t make emotional decisions, don’t trust your instincts.  Make decisions based on the criteria you have set forward for your ideal candidate.  Be sure to understand that not all employees will stay with you for the life of your business and you will want to prepare for an inevitable departure with the must two contracts when hiring a new employee—non-compete and non-disclosure contracts.  

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Now that you have the best person available to join your team, you will want to set them up for success by training your team.  Ideally you will have put together training material for all team members to reference from your store policies (customer experience to human resources) but also take into consideration your expectations.  What are they? How do you want your customers greeted? How do you want the packages to look when they leave the store? What is your dressing room procedure? The best way for your team to give your customer the stellar experience that you have in mind is to teach them how to do it and have it in a training manual. Don’t forget your brands. No matter if it is your wholesale fashion jewelry company to your hand made high fashion accessories, you will want to have the brands unique qualities outlined for everyone to know and understand. Or your clothing brands, how do the sizes run? Or what is their smallest and largest size? Or even details about their fabrics, colors, and more.  A well-trained team is vital, you do not get a second chance to make a first impression.

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Understand the importance of being a business

Owning a fashion boutique is not for everyone.  Having a strong talent for accessorizing or enjoying fashion gives you part of a skill set that is needed in owning a boutique.  A small business owner is part accountant, part repair man, mixed with problem solver and strong decision maker. Before you venture into your own boutique business, it’s important to have the experience of working for one already.  Heather Marie Lipstein, from Startup Jungle, said, ‘Before you even think of having your own boutique, you absolutely need to go work for someone else’s. In the five years I spent working in retail, I lived and breathed fashion. But what’s more, I lived and breathed the business. Understanding the nuances of the fashion industry is key. 

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Be sure to attend accessory and apparel markets and trade shows

Many new ideas come from attending different trade events as well as new brands.  Doing your homework and preparing for the trip is key, make a planHave you done your research?  For example, if you are looking for a new fashion jewelry brand, what have you done to find this brand? Google searches are an informative way to search. Search key phrases: Wholesale jewelry or Wholesale fashion jewelry.  You can be more specific if you want a certain style: wholesale statement necklace or trendy fashion earrings wholesale.  Keeping in mind wholesale is a keyword.  If you’re looking for a more unique approach, here are a few suggestions: wholesale high end fashion jewelry or boutique cool fashion jewelry wholesale.  Once you have researched your brands, check the trade show or market planner to map out your trip to the event.  You will have a direction and focus when attending the market.

 

Related Article : Buying 101: Boutique Story

Suzette WIlsonComment