There are a few things you have to do before you even start with your boutique!
- Apply for EIN number: https://irs-taxnumber.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwkvWKBhB4EiwA-GHjFqVF4SxAjMRZZdojbePGarnQdZFLtHY0sSCy954hnb31WX59gxMYmBoCY3cQAvD_BwE
- Apply for Resellers Permit/Taxpayer ID. You'll need to check with your state to see where to apply for this and what all you need. This is where you will decide if you should be a sole proprietor or LLC. I suggest doing LLC so that you are insured.
- You'll also need an Assumed Business Name with your county. For more info, click here: https://www.incfile.com/blog/post/assumed-name-certificate
After you have done all of this, you will need to open a business bank account. You HAVE to have original documentation of your EIN number once it is sent to you in the mail. So make sure to bring that.
I work out of my house but it is up to you if you want to open a store front, or work from your home too. You'll need to find a website host to put your website on if you decide to go that route. Then, you should make a social media page on every platform for your boutique.
The best place to start shopping for clothes and accessories is FashionGo. It is like a hub for wholesalers!
Some things to think about before opening your boutique:
- Shipping costs more than $5. To ship one pair of jeans, it usually costs me $8 or $9. To ship a sweatshirt, it costs $10+.
- You'll pay monthly fees to whatever website host you pick.
- You'll have to pay upfront for inventory and sometimes you won't get the inventory for months.
- If you can't sell some things, you'll usually have to post it for below wholesale to just try and move the inventory but you're going to lose money doing that. So I try to be very thoughtful when ordering inventory.
- Typically it takes about 6 months before you start seeing profit.
- You don't get free clothes. You still have to pay wholesale for them. Anything you keep has to be taxed.
- I would definitely hire an accountant or bookkeeper right away, so you don't end up scrambling when tax season rolls around.
- The boutique world is saturated. EVERYONE is a boutique owner, so you have to decide, what is going to make you different from someone else? Find that niche! Usually it is something you are passionate about and don't even realize!
- People are going to be mean to you. Do not take it personally! Most of the time, they are just having a bad day and a human error that you made or USPS made is just icing on the cake. IT IS NOT YOU (I mean most of the time! lol!!)
- Unless you price things REALLY expensive, you are going to make $5-$10 per item you sell. After website fees, shipping costs, advertising costs, monthly fees, and other expenses needed for a boutique. It will all depend on what an item costs at wholesale. But if somethings costs $22 at wholesale, typically you HAVE to price it at retail 2x or you won't see any profit. This is the minimum of what you should price it at retail.
Totally not telling you all of this to steer you away from opening a boutique, but I didn't know some of these realities before opening mine!
Reasons I LOVE being a boutique owner:
- Fashion and body positivity are HUGE passions for me. I love being able to bring fashion to women of all sizes!
- I work from home with my babies!
- I am able to help people that have been scared to step out of their comfort zone.
- You get to go to market!! I have not gone yet but I can't wait! It's basically a shopping mall of wholesalers!!!
- You get to create your own vibe. You are basically creating a closet for women to choose from! It's amazing!
IMPORTANT: Do not compare yourself to other boutiques. Stay in your beautifully unique lane. YOU are what makes your boutique special!
I am NO expert, but this is just what I have experienced. If you are passionate about fashion, I highly recommend being a boutique owner! It is pretty fast paced, you get a customer base that turns into a family, and you grow in your own confidence. I LOVE my job!!!!
I'll add more to this as I think about it!
Love, Margaret, xoxo