Do you want to start a plus size boutique? If YES, here is a guide on how to start a plus size boutique business with no money or experience. Plus size people have been insecure with their sizes since the dawn of time, and one of the reasons for this insecurity is the difficulty they go through in finding trendy clothing that can suit their physique and can as well make them look sharp.
For this reason, most plus size women would patronize clothing that will flatter their body structure no matter how expensive it is. A plus size clothing business caters to these women by selling fashionable clothes in their sizes.
A clothing boutique is generally much smaller than a regular clothing retailer, and it creates a more intimate environment. You will attract customers who are looking for very specific styles and kinds of clothing, so you need to know what and what to put in your store.
Table of Content
- Unique ideas and Niches Within the Plus Size Clothing Industry
- 1. Research the industry and settle for a niche
- 2. Choose a legal entity
- 3. Register for taxes
- 4. Open a business bank account and credit card
- 5. Prepare a Business Plan
- 6. Source for funds
- 7. Get licenses and permits
- 8. Get Business Insurance
- 9. Select designers and/or clothing wholesalers that are trendy
- 10. Take Note of the Supplies, Materials and Equipment You Need
- 11. Set Up a Merchant Account
- 12. Hire Qualified Staff
- 13. Prepare Your Marketing Plan
- 14. Establish your Web Presence
Unique ideas and Niches Within the Plus Size Clothing Industry
Since many customers stick to their own styles, it is likely that satisfied customers will return to your business. It is important to form relationships with these regular customers, as their recommendations and satisfaction can contribute to your boutique’s success.
With size 14 being the most frequently worn women’s size, and with 64 percent of U.S. women being overweight, you have a potentially profitable business on your laps. The plus size women’s apparel market is just as diverse as that of misses’ size clothing.
There are diverse tastes and markets within the plus size world: petite or short women; tall women; plus size teens and young adults; plus size lingerie; and plus size workout clothing to name a few. Before opening a store, you need to do your research and properly plan for business success.
14 Steps to Starting a Plus Size Boutique Business
If you are passionate about clothing, especially those of plus size people, it would be in your best interest to start a plus size boutique. Here is how you can go about setting up this business.
1. Research the industry and settle for a niche
There are various niches in the plus size industry, and you have to do a lot of research before you can settle for one. Part of the research you have to do is to find out which niche is more likely to sell in your area, if you will be more successful if you also add an online store, what brands are currently selling, what can people afford, etc.
From your research, take note of what is currently available in the market and what is not. What can you contribute that will enhance or build the plus size fashion industry, and more importantly the plus size woman? Getting answers to these questions would help you run a more successful business.
2. Choose a legal entity
You now have to choose a legal entity that will best suit the kind of business you want to set up. Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your plus size clothing store is sued.
There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC’s, and DBA’s. You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant. If your business is starting up really small, sole proprietorship might work for you.
3. Register for taxes
You are a business, so you ought to pay taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business. In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. Applying for and getting your EIN is easy and equally free.
4. Open a business bank account and credit card
To run your business properly, you need a business bank account as well as credit cards. Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business’s name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more. This separates your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
It also makes accounting and tax filing easier. It helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business’ expenses all in one place. It also builds your company’s credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
5. Prepare a Business Plan
Running your plus size business without a business plan would make you go off track along the line and run into problems. Your business plan should be your first priority, as it represents your goals and documents your angle and strategy; essentially your road map to achievement.
The business plan should include an executive summary, financial aspects of the company, operational procedures and future projections for at least five years. You should also include any applicable investor information, details about products and services you intend to offer and marketing information.
6. Source for funds
Opening a plus size clothing boutique (or any boutique for that matter), costs money. Clothing boutique owners estimate the cost of starting a clothing store to be anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000. Of course, the actual amount may vary by location, products and individual facility.
In any scenario, you’ll need the sufficient amount of financing to bankroll your business plan. To calculate your individual capital needs, take into account the amount of funds needed to satisfy your inventory, payroll, lease, insurance and equipment. If you do not have the funds needed at hand, you will have to seek some sort of loan or cash advance.
7. Get licenses and permits
You cannot run a business in the United States if you do not have the correct licenses and permits. So you need to make a budget for this and equally get them. Educate yourself on how to become licensed to run a business in your state. Also investigate the rules and regulations for running retail businesses online and offline.
Based on your findings, study what responsibilities you will have for business taxes. Seek guidance from the department of licensing in your state, the Internal Revenue Service and your local Small Business Association office. Knowing and complying with these rules and regulations will help your business open and stay open.
Check with your local governing departments about business permits and licenses required to legally operate in your state. If you’re operating a home-based business, you may need a zoning permit. When building or remodeling a boutique, a building permit may be required.
No matter where you plan to operate your clothing boutique, an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required by the IRS for you to report your earnings and pay taxes. Check with your state department or city council or county government agencies to see what permits and licensing is required in your area. You’ll also need the appropriate amount of workman’s compensation and business insurance for you to proceed.
8. Get Business Insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial well being in the event of a covered loss. There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks.
If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business. Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage.
9. Select designers and/or clothing wholesalers that are trendy
Based on the type of plus size apparel you’d like to sell, research and interview various designers and wholesalers. Learn about their process for getting product to you and the total cost required. Understanding these costs will assist you in determining the prices for each item in your store. Understanding the cost to run your business will help you determine how much is required to break even and then to make a profit.
Your inventory should reflect current fashion trends and include brand names that are in popular demand. Research styles and designs that appeal to your target consumer. Research wholesalers and clothing designers that meet with your consumer demands and fit your initial budget plan. Attend trade shows to find up-and-coming garment designs and secure discount prices. You’ll also need a variety of sizes to accommodate your clientele.
10. Take Note of the Supplies, Materials and Equipment You Need
Plus size Boutique start-ups require a considerable amount of initial supply, material and equipment purchases. On the bright side – unlike inventory purchases and payroll – many of these expenses are one-time-only.
To open your clothing boutique, you’ll need the appropriate amounts of hangers, mannequins, window dressing materials, jewelry and accessory cases and item showcase structures. You’ll also need office and sales equipment, like computers, telephones, office furniture, cash registers and POS systems.
11. Set Up a Merchant Account
If you are planning to engage in Internet retailing and ecommerce activities, a merchant account is essential. In fact, in today’s world of credit and debit cards where cash is almost obsolete, a merchant services account is almost always required to process credit card sales on-site and complete online transactions. Many consumers prefer to pay with “plastic” and accepting all major credit and debit cards can be imperative to your boutique’s earning potential.
12. Hire Qualified Staff
To efficiently operate a boutique, you need at least one experienced and qualified salesperson to help your customers. In fact, depending on the size of your boutique and the volume of consumer traffic, you may even need a few of them. Be selective about who you hire. Preference should be given to applicants with extensive backgrounds in retail and fashion. Also look out for people that are friendly and easy going.
13. Prepare Your Marketing Plan
A significant amount of competition exists in the retail clothing industry and you’ll need to organize an expansive marketing campaign to execute a successful clothing boutique start-up. Draw up a detailed account of what marketing and advertising techniques you plan to use.
This may include Internet marketing techniques, such as article, email and pay-per-click marketing, using social media tools or old fashioned TV and radio ads. Even marketing methods as simple as flier distribution and in-store specials should be included in your marketing plan.
14. Establish your Web Presence
Every business is going up to the web, and you should follow suit. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers. All these will cost you just a small amount of money but will give you great dividends.