Do you want to start a boutique but don’t know how? If YES, here is a complete guide on how to make money selling clothing from home with little money.
If you are someone that loves fashion and design, and you keep up with the latest clothing trends, then a home boutique may just be the right type of business for you. A home clothing boutique business involves shopping for the latest trends in fashion and selling them from the comforts of your home.
Starting a home clothing boutique business is lucrative and enticing mostly because of the tons of opportunities available in the niche. Currently, the clothing boutique industry includes standalone stores and retail stores that specialize in the limited and exclusive range of apparel and accessories. Boutiques can either be designer based or they may sell a mix of brands that are specifically catered to the local market.
The clothing boutique business profitability has also been attributed to the low risk that is involved. According to a leading report from IBIS World, the worldwide market size of the clothing boutique business is $21 billion with an annual growth of 2.5% from the year 2012-2017.
An experience from working in a clothing store or in retail can give you an edge when you want to start your own home clothing boutique business. Here is a step by step guide on how you can start making money by selling clothing boutique from the comforts of your own home.
How to Make Money Selling Clothing Boutique from Home
1. Choose Your Clothing boutique Niche: the very first step towards starting a clothing boutique store involves choosing a clothing and apparel niche. By choosing a niche, you can ensure that you choose products and create your business plan around the type of potential shoppers you are appealing to.
When choosing your niche, you should try to be specific because this will allow you to identify and market to your potential customers a lot more easily. This will also help you develop your product list to appeal to your specific target market, allowing you to limit your competition and increase your chances of customer loyalty long term.
Here are some pointers that will help you to narrow down and choose a niche.
- Be as unique as possible to stand out from the crowd
- Choose a niche that interests you and that you’re passionate about
- Ask yourself whether you can add value and/or position yourself as an authority
- Make sure that the niche has the potential to be profitable.
2. Choose Your Online Clothing Store Products: as soon as you have made up your mind on what niche you would like to specialize in, then you will have to choose your products. Selling clothing is way too diverse. You should ask yourself if you will prefer to sell long-sleeve shirts, dresses, or trousers. The clothing and apparel market is almost infinite, and you can be sure there are a bunch of options within the niche you’re selling in.
However, if you’re tempted to jump in and sell everything, this could be your undoing before you’ve even started. When you’re starting an online store it’s always advised to start off small and slow and then branch out your lines as you grow. Here are some tips on choosing your products.
- Start Small: start small and simple as you get your product list off the ground. Adding too many products upfront will not only add extra admin costs every step of the way – from product photo shoots to web setup – but it can add complications when you first launch. Complications can affect the service you give, and as a new store in a very competitive market, customer service, or the lack thereof, can make or break your business.
- Think Ahead: fashion and clothing trends comes and go and as such, it is best to choose stable products at first that can be easily changed to suit the changing styles, such as bow ties or t-shirts. If you do decide to go more mainstream fashion, plan for the changing styles by creating a store that adapts, such as dropshipping orders, which will ensure you’re not stuck with unsellable stock. However, you should know that changes are inevitable in the fashion industry and so your success may just depend on your ability to think ahead and your ability to be flexible and innovative when dealing with changes.
- Set Your Focus: from the beginning, you should try to be specific and narrow as much as you can at the beginning while also keeping your end game in mind. Think about where you see your online clothing brand extending in the future, and make sure that you’re focusing on the end goal. This will ensure that, as you add products to your range or line and grow your store in your niche, you will be able to implement new or trending products onto your store more seamlessly.
3. Choose a name for your home business boutique: The name of your business should reflect your business well and let others know exactly what to expect from your boutique. List some names you like and narrow down your choice to the top 3. Ask friends and family for their input and choose one name. Register your home business boutique name with the government.
4. Choose Your Online Clothing Store Business model: there are four major business models that an online clothing boutique can fall into; they are as follows: print-on-demand, custom cut-and-sew, private label clothing line and drop shipping.
All the aforementioned business models come with their very own unique advantages and disadvantages and when choosing the particular one to go for, you should try to be as objective as possible, consider the amount of money at your disposal and the skill set you possess.
- Print-on-Demand Clothing Store Business Model: This model is best suited for people who want to start selling clothing boutique from home as soon as possible. This model is the easiest type of online clothing business model as well as the cheapest. These are the types of stores where you print your logo and design onto blank apparel, and everything is automated. There is enough variety in types and colors within this business type and it’s your most cost-effective option when dealing with small amounts of orders.
The greatest disadvantage to this model is that the stores that choose this type of model tend to have a lower profit margin when compared to their counterparts and they also offer few options in the way of branding tags, labels and other finishes.
- Custom Cut-and-Sew Clothing Store Business Model: This type of online clothing store business model is for those who want to build their own clothing line from scratch. Meaning, you do everything from designing your clothing to manufacturing and fulfillment all by yourself.
The pro of this model is that you will be selling items of clothing that are in themselves unique and are customized according to your artistic discretion. However, it is good to note that custom cut-and-sew businesses come with a lot of management as you will be responsible for finding and coordinating your own pattern-makers and manufacturers and sourcing your own fabric, et al. This can mean that you will need to have a substantial budget in addition to a lot of time before you will launch your business.
- Private Label Clothing Store Business Model: this business model can be seen as a middle point between print-on-demand and cut-and-sew. A private label clothing store will require more customization and budget than a cut and sew. However, it will require the owner of the business to put in less work.
This type of model involves buying blank or label-less clothing items and then adding your own custom design, label or tag before selling them. This has an edge over print-on-demand, because, you can purchase your clothing for a better price if you buy in bulk. Unfortunately there are some drawbacks, such as having to deal with fulfillment and inventory management yourself.
- Drop shipping Clothing Store Business Model: just like the print-on-demand business model, drop shipping involves selling clothing that are fulfilled from wholesalers. This is a cost-effective route as you don’t have to deal with buying stock up front, storing, packing or shipping. The disadvantage is that your products won’t be as unique and there could be a variety of stores selling the same products as you.
5. Planning your online boutique: if you want to start a clothing boutique store, you should have a business plan. The type of business plan you’ll need will vary, depending on if it will just serve as a guide or if you will also need to present it for funding or a loan.
When it comes to eCommerce strategy, you want to make sure you’re answering questions such as where your traffic (potential shoppers) will be coming from and what will make your products appeal to that traffic. Furthermore, part of your business plan should also include your pricing. Budget the price per product with these important considerations:
- Cost of equipment, web development, hosting, et al.
- Cost of design and development
- Cost of production per product, including that of samples
- Cost of labor and transportation
- Cost of materials
When you have determined the cost involved and how you will price your clothing, then you can determine your potential profit margin.
6. Get registered: Register your business as an LCC through your area’s legal channels. This might also be a good time to consider trade marking your brand name.
7. Creating Your Online Clothing Store: when creating your online clothing boutique, the first thing you will need is your domain. It is best to buy this separately upfront when you have your business name. This is because the domain name you have in mind can be snatched by another person if you delay. You can get your domain name from websites such as Go daddy or Name cheap.
Alternatively, you can buy your domain directly through eCommerce platforms such as Shopify or WordPress.
Next you will want to choose your platform and then your theme. This is one of the most important decisions you will make when creating your store. Why? Because your website, its design and user-friendliness, are as important as the products you are selling and shouldn’t be rushed.
Another very integral part of your online store is the picture you upload in your product page. Your customers only have the picture you post on your website to judge the quality and details of your products so you should make sure that the pictures are of very high quality.
8. Launching Your home Clothing Store: when you have gotten your products in place, your business plan is set up, your fulfillment is organized and your site is done, it’s time to launch your online clothing store. Here are some launch tips to help you get started:
- Define Your Launch Strategy: Are you going to run a promotion? Do a Facebook Live video? Use an existing email database to push teaser mailers? Whatever strategy you decide on, have it in place to roll out step by step as you launch.
- Social Accounts are a must have: before you launch your site, you should make sure that you already have social media accounts. In fact, have these active – with content – before your big launch. This will enable you to run your social ads with the launch and market your new store to an already-growing following. Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are very visual social media sites with large platforms. Register your business with each, as well as any other social media (like Linkedin or Twitter) that seems relevant. Post engaging content at regular intervals, but be sure to not post too often – nobody likes spam. List your social media links on your website too.
- Email Marketing: email marketing is also a very integral part of running a successful clothing boutique from home. You can easily setup you email and automate it before you launch your site.
- Setup your Google Analytics and AdWords Accounts: Next you will want to ensure that you have set up your Google AdWords and Analytics accounts before launching. This will enable you to track traffic to your store during your launch in real time and drive traffic through SERP ads.
- Payment Methods: Register for a merchant account with your bank to take credit card payments from online orders and also from merchandise sold in stores. Consider if you want to accept ApplePay, PayPal, or any other payment option and set up your business to take payment from those companies.
9. Bringing Traffic to Your Clothing boutique: the next step will be to bring traffic to your store. The best sources of traffic for online stores are email marketing, PPC, content marketing, social media guest posts on popular blogs and influencers.
For a new store without an established SEO or email database list, you will want to concentrate on AdWords and Social Ads – particularly Facebook and Instagram – to get potential shoppers to your new store.
In conclusion, if you love fashion, clothing and looking good, then you can help others look good and still make good money from them right from the comfort of your home. You should carry out your research and find out all it takes to be successful in this line of business before you start.