Ever since you were a kid, you dreamt of finding your way in the exciting world of fashion. Today, you still dream of opening your own boutique, but with the slow recovering economy, you don’t have enough capital and you have to keep your full-time job in order to survive. The economy has put a lot of budding entrepreneurs in the same situation: dreaming of unleashing their talents on the world but unable to afford the risk.
While you have a great eye for fashion and a good sense for business, you may be a little hesitant to quit your day job in order to go all in and start a fashion business. The great news is that you don’t have to. With the ease and convenience that the Internet brings, you can start your own online boutique on a part-time basis while still holding onto your full-time job.
Last year, about 8 percent of all retail product sales in the United States came from eCommerce sales, according to Statistic Brain. With nearly $142.5 billion spent in online stores, now is the perfect time for you to figure out what works and what doesn’t before you go all in. By starting out on a part-time basis, you get the chance to get to know your customers, test your ability to run a business and see if your fashion sense is as good as you think, all without investing a lot of time or money on the venture.
A great way to test the waters and get your name out as a fashion savvy entrepreneur is by starting off selling your merchandise online. With a simple online store, you can sell your merchandise 24/7 without having to pay for thousands of dollars in overhead expenses. When it comes to getting your online boutique up and running, it really couldn’t be any easier these days. For a very small amount of money and a little bit of your time, you can have a full functioning eCommerce site ready to start taking orders in no time. There are a ton of great eCommerce platforms you can choose from to help you get your own online boutique up and running. Once you have your website up, you’ll need to obtain an Internet merchant account from your bank in order to accept credit card payments online. Along with this, you’ll need a payment gateway account so you can pull the payment from your customer’s account and deposit into your merchant account at your bank.
Once you have your eCommerce platform picked out, and have settled on the perfect design for your online boutique, you’ll need to start deciding on the kind of merchandise you will stock and where you will purchase it from. Buying your inventory will require you to do some careful research and planning. With the reach of the Internet, it can be a little more difficult deciding what kind of items you want to carry. Something that you will want to consider is what kind of items will most likely sell if you were to open a brick and mortar store in your neighborhood. As this is most likely your ultimate goal, you want to make sure that you are offering the same items online that you would sell in your physical location.
Purchasing the inventory will be expensive, especially if you want to have a good selection of items to offer your customers. If you are able to obtain a business line of credit to purchase your inventory, then you can start contacting the corporate offices of wholesale suppliers of potential inventory items that you would like to sell in your boutique. Make sure you are paying attention to the major buying seasons to ensure you are giving your customers that best selection for the upcoming season.
Gone are the days when businesses had to spend a small fortune on marketing and advertising efforts in order to get the word out about their company. These days you can create an effective marketing campaign for virtually no money at all. The first thing that you want to do is get onto Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and start promoting your new business. Create a fan page for your online boutique and ask all of your friends to like it. Start following fashion forward tweeter feeds and begin crafting your own tweets to spread the word about your online storefront. Harness the power of Google+ to attract like-minded individuals and keep them in the loop with store news. Marketing with social media is a great way to quickly spread the word without having to spend your hard earned dollars.
Starting your own fashion boutique doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. You can start off slow and begin building your brand by starting off with an online store. As your customer base starts to grow, and you start to bring in more revenue, then you can revisit the idea of opening up a physical location for your boutique. Nearly 85 percent of the world’s population is shopping online, according to PC Pro, you may decide to simply keep your online store up, and enjoy the benefits of working part-time.