Raise your hand if you love boutiques, I love them especially when I want to shop online.
If you want to start a boutique from home, read this post carefully because this might just be the post to help you take a leap of faith and start your online business.
Buying clothing online has become the norm now. Before it looked like it was not possible but it has become the normal way of buying clothing and other accessories.
People go online, pick clothing and make an order. Wait for a few days and boom they have the clothes shipped to their door
If you have a passion for clothing and accessories, maybe its time you considered selling clothes online.
Not just clothing but every accessory that goes into dressing up to look good
In this post, I will walk you step by step on how to start a boutique from home. It is going to be an online boutique, none of that brick and mortar stuff.
Before you go on to learn how to start a boutique from home, I would like to invite you to take my 5 days free email course on how to start a home business in 5 days.
It is a course packed with actionable tips on how to start a home business
In this course, you will gain the necessary skills to be able to plan, identify and set up your home business quickly.
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So are you ready to learn how to start a boutique from home using an online shopfront? Lets go
Steps on how to start an online boutique from home.
The first step to take when you want to start an online boutique from home is to define who you are going to sell to.
In the online business world, this is the most crucial aspect of starting a business online, yet it is often ignored.
People ignore this aspect because they believe that once the shop is built up, the buyers will come.
This is the wrong mindset because you would have spent a lot of money before you realized you never really defined your target market.
Your target market will determine the type of products you are going to sell. For example, if you want to target millennials you cannot be selling vintage products it will not fly.
How do you determine your target market? the first way to do that is to create your
A bio person is a fictitious representation of your ideal customer. To know more about how to create a bio persona, go here to read this post.
Your bio person once well executed is the foundation upon which you will build your online boutique.
-Quick Market Research
The second step to define your target market is to do quick market research.
What are the preferences of your target market?
what is their buying power- Earning potential?
What stage of their life are they in- Married, Single, Divorced, etc.?
These pieces of information will help you properly build a product line that suits your audience.
For example, if you want to start a boutique that is targeted at single people, you would take into effect that they want trendy and fashionable items.
They are also willing to pay because they have fewer commitments and are not responsible for anyone else except for themselves.
Target such to the married couples and it is a different ball game.
It depends on what the earning capabilities are, they may not be willing to spend much on such items especially if they are just starting a family.
In doing your research you are more likely to find out the following
What appeals to your niche– What is it that speaks the language of your niche business. For example, it is easy to target a new mom who just had a baby with baby products. If such products are targeted at a mom with adult children, it may not work.
Spending pattern– When are they more likely to buy stuff, this will help you to plan your new collection launches or sales promo’s
Buying power– How much disposable cash do they have at their disposal. this determines how much they are willing to spend on your products.
Fads that attract them– What type of fads attract your target market? Do they respond to fads?
Understanding the trends will help you to curate products that will sell out.
Fads that repel them – What type of fads repel them? Knowing this will help you to build a brand message that is cohesive. For example, Marie Condo was really trending with her message to rid your house of any object that does not give you joy.
She was doing so well with that message that people even replaced decluttering with Condomarie.
Last year she decided to start an online shop that sells people things.
That marketing message was quite repulsive, she got a heavy clap back form the media.
First, you tell people to get rid of things and you even made a reality show out of it, then you turn back to try to sell them back the stuff you threw away.
It was a bad marketing drive that did not go with her brand and so people did not adopt the fad.
The next step in learning how to start a boutique from home using an online shopfront is to determine where you will source your products from.
This is a huge part of creating an online boutique because it will determine the following things.
Where you source your products from determines your marketing message because now people are conscious of how what they wear are made.
It is no longer a question of just buy stuff and put on without considering how the product was made.
For example, with the election of Donald Trump, he began the campaign to buy American made goods.
If you like that message and want to source from local manufacturers.
You could mention in your marketing message that you are sourcing from local manufacturers, thereby supporting your local industry and creating jobs.
Without necessarily appearing political, you can still make your message heard.
Your message will attract those who want to purchase made in America goods.
If you love the idea of sustainability, you can source your products form those who practice sustainability.
With these messages, you can define how you source for your products and attract your own niche.
Your place of sourcing also determines your pricing structure. For example, if you use mass-produced manufacturers in China to source your goods, you will sell at a lower price.
If your products are handmade, they will cost more.
-Where to buy clothes and accessories for an online boutique.
Aliexpress– A Chinese platform that sells to individuals straight from China.
Salehoo– A directory of verified suppliers for your goods. When you subscribe to Salehoo you get access to a directory of verified suppliers who are ready to meet and fulfill your orders. They are scam free and have been proven to be reliable.
Wholesale central– A compendium of all types of suppliers for any type of goods you want to buy.
Sourcify.com– A platform that connects sellers with international manufacturers. To use Sourcify, you will need to pay a subscription fee.
Niche scraper: Niche scarper is online software that allows you to find thousands of products that are selling well in your niche. Niche scraper works with only Shopify stores
Once your Niche scraper is connected to your Shopify store you will find thousands of products that consumers are buying in your niche.
This software will take away all the guesswork when it comes to getting goods that customers love.
Niche Scraper analyzes thousands of stores and shows you the results of products that are already selling well in your niche.
Get Niche scraper for your Shopify store
3. What business model will you use?
What is the business model? A business model defines that way you want to carry out your business in order to make money.
Your business model is what defines your mode of operations. For example, opening a boutique to sell clothes online may be your main idea but what type of online boutique do you want it to be?
There are two ways you can run an online boutique
In this model, you pre-order your inventory and you store them so that once an order comes in, you can ship out immediately.
The advantage of this method is that you very short delivery times.
You are able to meet your customer’s needs immediately.
The cons of this method are that you will need to pay for inventory costs upfront and if you are not able to sell it you will be stuck with it and you will lose money.
Dropshipping allows you to sell your products without necessarily keeping inventory. You only order the product after making a sale.
This is a more innovative and cheaper method of starting an online boutique because you can start your online boutique on a budget.
Your cost outlay is just your cost of setting up of the platform and the advert cost.
The cons of this method are that you are not in control of how your products get delivered.
If something goes wrong you will only know after the customer has seen it and complained.
There are lead times for delivery because you will need to make an order and ask your supplier to deliver directly to your customer.
If the person needs it urgently it can be quite expensive to expedite it.
4. What Online Store Software Will you use?
Your online store software is what you use to display your goods.
An online boutique can not run without an online store where people have the opportunity to check your store and see the goods available.
It is also the first opportunity to experience your brand and have a feel of what you have to offer.
Creating an online store, therefore, is important as it helps you to make available the products you have to sell to your audience.
There are various ways to sell your products online, some people use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Using a social media platform may be cheap but it is not advisable as there is a limit to what branding and ownership you can display with such platforms.
The best types of platforms to use are those that you have some measure of control over and can allow you to create a long term brand.
The 3 options are available are
–Shopify- A storefront software to help you build a complete store with a blog attached.
It has options to integrate inventory management capabilities, email list building opportunities, etc.
Shopify is the most popular platform for selling products online.
The platform is quite intuitive, easy to use and affordable. Click below to sign up
–Wix- This shopfront platform behaves a lot like Shopify too, it’s easy to build and offers a lot of functionalities for the business owner who wants to start an online boutique.
You can upload your products, connect to different options that help you to run your shop effectively
This entails building a website with a wordpress plugin called Woocommerce that enables you to sell your products online.
If you would like me to help you build any of these shop options, sign up here
You will get a fully developed shop with 30 products loaded complete with product descriptions.
Want to discuss before you sign up, contact me
5. Choosing a Name for Your Shop
Once you have settled on the type of platform for your online boutique to be on, it is time to choose a name for your online store.
The name should be used to buy a domain name for your business. A domain name gives you a specific right to use that name for a period of one year.
When choosing a name for your online shop, be conscious of using keywords that tell people what your business is about.
For example, when I wanted to start an online coffee and tea store, I simply named it coffeesantea.
If you saw the name you immediately knew what the business is about.
What to do before you name your shop
Check for its availability- Usually, a .com name is the best.
6. Select the Products you Want to Sell
After going through these steps, it is time to select the products that you want to sell.
Go through the suppliers you have chosen before and get a good view of what you want to buy from them.
If you want to source from Aliexpress, you can read my post on how to choose the best suppliers.
Once you have selected your products, here are the steps to take
–Upload pictures to your shop–
Ensure that the pictures are of high quality
Remove unwanted backgrounds from the picture to make sure it is free of distractions.
If you are dropshipping from Aliexpress, remove the sellers details on the picture using photo editing apps.
Upload at least 3 pictures of each product that showcases the different sides of the product.
If it is a product that requires a demonstration, ask the seller to send you demo videos, add this to your shop.
–Write Keyword product descriptions
Use keywords that are used for searching for that product when describing the product.
Add Delivery timelines
This is usually a policy on when the customer expects to receive their orders.
This helps the customer to know when their orders will be getting to them.
–Insert a payment button
Most shopfront platforms provide you with the opportunity to use various payment gateways to collect payment.
Some payment gateways include PayPal, Stripe, Worldpay etc.
These shopfront platforms provide directions as to how to connect your account with the payment gateway.
Once it is connected, you can receive payment for your goods through the payment button provided.
7. How to build a Shopify store online boutique.
The first step to building an online shop on Shopify is to sign up for the free 14 days trial.
During those 14 days, you can set up your shop online complete with loaded products.
Sign up with Shopify
Add a shop name: To start an online boutique from home, you need to give your shop a name, follow the principles discussed above to name your store.
Check out the dashboard-
The dashboard of the Shopify platform contains the various portals you need to work with to enable you to build your shop.
The first set of portals has to to with adding your products, inventory management, customer management and sales analytics with even discount creation ability.
You also have access to various apps that provide integration of such functions as email list provider, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
The second portal shows you your online shop as you develop it
It contains options for creating a blog, connecting your domain name, themes you used and what your shop looks like before it goes public
The second portal helps you to preview your shop in real while you work at the back end.
Different uses of the Shopify portals
–Add a product– Shopify platform is very friendly it has prompts to help you know what to do next.
They also have resource videos embedded that serve as a guide to building your online shop.
Adding a product means adding your product pictures and product categories.
–Customize your theme
A theme is like the clothing you wear on a website in order to have the different compartments you can keep various parts of your website.
Your theme design determines the look and feel of your shopfront.
Shopify is equipped with different free themes, you are show samples of what your store will look like when you use it.
To customize means to adjust the theme by adding your shop name and details to various parts of the shop.
Take a look at the development shop I am working on, I used a simple theme to build the shop.
8. Brand Your Products
When it comes to starting your boutique from home, the most important thing that will differentiate you from your competitors is your ability to build a brand.
Please read how to build a brand in 3 simple steps.
9. Set up Your Company as a Legal Entity
When you are through setting up your shop online, it is time to register your business.
This is the legal aspect of having a business name which may be the same with the shop name or different.
Get your sales tax ID and ensure that your business is well set up to avoid legal issues.
Some people prefer to run their business for a while as a soloprenuer before making it a real enterprise.
Whatever you do, ensure that the legal aspect of the business is taken care of while you do your business.
To know what type of legal entity to accord your business, go to small business administration.
10 Plan & Execute
Now that you have learned how to start an online boutique from home, the next step is to put an appropriate plan in place to execute your idea.
To get you into the mood of execution you will need a well-designed planner that has assigned prompts to help you plan the execution of your idea from beginning to product delivery.
The Home business planner is designed to help you make that transition from idea to reality.
To get the home business planner, click the picture below.
Do you have more ideas on how to start a boutique from home? drop your comments below