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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How Do You Legally Start An Online Boutique?

It takes hard work and a little know-how to legally set up, fund, and operate an online boutique. Here are steps to legally start your online store.

  • Decide What To Sell
  • Create A Business Plan
  • Register Your Business
  • Choose An ecommerce Platform
  • Choose A Payment & Shopping Cart Solution
  • Build Your Website
  • Establish Shipping Logistics
  1. How Much Do You Need To Start An Online Boutique

There are a lot of variables, with your product line and income goals being the prime factor. However, it’s safe to say you can start an online boutique for less than $5000. That’s a low cost of entry into what can be a very lucrative marketplace.

  1. How Do You Make Your Online Boutique Successful?

Effective ways that will help you get lots of traffic without spending a huge budget include;

  • Create a beautiful store
  • Social media activity
  • Customer care
  • Promos
  • E-mail marketing
  1. How Do You Find A Vendor For Your Online Boutique?

The simplest way to find wholesale vendors in the US is by Googling the company of the product you want to sell, going on their website, and finding out who their wholesale distributors are. Note that small companies sometimes tend not to have distributors and will sell to you directly.

  1. How Much Do Online Boutique Owners Make?

As of Apr 12, 2022, the average annual pay for an Online Boutique Owner in the United States is $72,160 a year, and this works out to be approximately $34.69 an hour.

  1. Physical Product Model And Drop Shipping Model, What You Should Choose?

There is no definitive way to best choose a distribution model. In general, both the physical product model and drop shipping model have significant benefits and challenges. Choosing between these two models will depend largely on the details of your specific business. Many online retailers employ a mix of these supply strategies, as well as logistics from other distribution models.

  1. How Profitable Is An Online Boutique?

Starting and running an online boutique is a very profitable business with the industry making $90 billion-a-year in revenue. Industry reports note that the apparel and accessories online retail sector in the U.S. will generate about 138 billion dollars in revenue by 2022.

  1. Should You Sell On Etsy, Or Build Your Own Ecommerce Site?

While Etsy is great for so many reasons, the main issue with it is the amount of competition on the platform (and how accessible your competitors shops are while customers are browsing your shop) and the lack of brand awareness.

Notably, if you intend to grow a strong brand that people will remember and follow and talk about to their friends, it’s very daunting to establish that if you’re just using Etsy. The platform is full of distractions and your competitors’ listings, as well as having limited design options for your shop front.

  1. How Do You Start An Online Clothing Business From Home?
  • Choose Your Niche
  • Choose Your Products
  • Choose Your Business Model
  • Outline Your Business Plan
  • Create Your Store
  • Launch Your Online Clothing
  1. Where Do Online Boutiques Buy Their Clothing?

Most online store owners buy boutique clothing from wholesale suppliers that offer a competitive price, various styles, and high-quality clothing. But they will also go to the trade show and grab the opportunity in it.

  1. How Do You Start An Online Boutique Without Inventory?

It is possible to start an online boutique without stocking any inventory, and it will be a fair business, not a fraud. The possible models to choose from include;

  • Launching an affiliate store
  • Employing print-on-demand services
  • Using 3PL/FBA
  • Dropshipping
  1. Where Can You Buy Wholesale Clothing Online?
  • Wholesale Central
  • CC Wholesale Clothing
  • Aliexpress
  • Chinabrands
  • Tasha Apparel
  • Stylepick
  • LAShowroom
  • Boulevard Apparel
  • Wholesale Fashion Square
  • FashionGo
  • OrangeShine
  • Chase USA International Inc
  1. When Starting A Boutique, About How Much Product Should You Have When You Launch?

This will depend on your financial capabilities and your marketing and sales strategy. Often, a particular item will come in multiple styles, differing in colour, size, pattern, or arrangement. Experts recommend 10 to 12 styles for your first collection. As for how many items to produce within each style frame, test out the waters first.

Your first few seasons you are testing and investing a lot into marketing and getting the word out there, don’t bog your business down with inventory if you don’t know how you are moving it.

  1. How Do You Choose The Best Products For Your Online Store?

Here are practical ways to find products to sell in your online store.

  • Solve a customer pain point
  • Appeal to enthusiastic hobbyists
  • Go with your personal passion
  • Consider your professional experience
  • Capitalize on trends early
  • Read customer reviews on existing products
  • Find product opportunities in keywords
  • Litmus test before you launch
  • Browse what’s trending on online marketplaces
  • Research products with higher profit margins
  • Start your search with related products
  • Always be on the lookout
  1. Is It Hard To Start An Online Boutique?

Yes, however, with careful planning, strategic financing, and a little hard work, you can start and operate your own online boutique.

  1. Should I Register For An EIN First Before Registering An Online Boutique As LLC Or Register Under LLCs And Then Apply For EIN?

Ideally, it is best to get an EIN for your LLC after your LLC is approved by the state. The reason for this is that you want to make sure your LLC name is approved before “attaching” an EIN to it.

  1. Should I Start A Boutique Store If I Make My Own Products?

Yes, if you have the skills and creativity, you can create your own clothing line and sell it via your own store. This is a bit of a gamble since customers like traditional brands, but it lets you pocket more of what you sell when it comes to your own stuff.

  1. How Much Inventory Is Needed To Start A Boutique?

This is indeed a variable cost because the more you order, the more you’ll pay. At the same time, however, the greater variety of clothes you have to offer, the more customers you can appeal to, so a healthy starting inventory is good.

  1. How Do You Price Clothes For An Online Boutique?

Figure out a pricing strategy that aligns with your market. Here are top pricing strategies to consider;

  • Keystone pricing
  • Multiple pricing
  • Penetration pricing
  • Loss-leading pricing
  • Psychological pricing
  • Bundle pricing
  • Economy pricing
  • Cost-plus pricing
  • Premium pricing
  • MSRP
  1. Can You Market a Dress Design and Not Designed Dress?

If you mean the designs themselves, then you may not really, unless you intend to sell them as just pretty drawings. If you mean producing your designs and selling actual garments, you can put them up for sale on any ecommerce store for a grand fee.

  1. When Starting An Online Facebook Boutique How Much Inventory Do You Buy?

Online shoppers prefer to shop from fully stocked stores, as opposed to stores with limited options. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, online stores allow customers to peruse through an entire collection in a matter of seconds. To fill up a page, aim for at least 9 to 12 pieces.

  1. How Much Does It Cost To Build A Clothing Store And How To Sell Clothes Online?

The exact costs of opening a clothing store vary based on your size and location. Some veteran boutique owners recommend not starting with anything less than $50,000 in financing, while others claim that $150,000 or even $200,000 are much more appropriate. However, here is the most up-to-date list of the best places to sell clothes online today.

  • ASOS Marketplace
  • Etsy
  • The RealReal
  • Refashioner
  • GREAT FOR
  • Poshmark
  • eBay
  • Depop
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Tradesy
  • Vinted
  • Instagram
  1. How Can You Start A Small Boutique?
  • Plan your business
  • Form a legal entity
  • Register for taxes
  • Open a business bank account & credit card
  • Set up business accounting
  • Obtain necessary permits and licenses
  • Get business insurance
  • Define your brand
  • Create your business website
  1. How Much Money Do You Need To Open A Small Boutique?

On average, small boutiques can cost up to $100,000 to open. When it comes to opening a boutique, consider the necessities and priorities, and budget for those items. The rest can come later with growth.

  1. How Much Does It Cost To Start A Boutique?

According to reports, initial start-up costs for a brick-and-mortar boutique can average around $48,000. This doesn’t include items that vary based on your geographic location such as the first month’s deposit, insurance, utilities and licensing fees.

  1. How Do You Start A Clothing Boutique?

If you have a solid background in retail sales and a passion for fashion, you might find lucrative opportunities as a clothing boutique owner. Here are steps to follow;

  • Prepare a Business Plan
  • Prepare a Marketing Plan
  • License and Insurance
  • Capital and Financing Requirements
  • Find the Right Inventory
  • Supplies, Materials and Equipment
  • Set Up a Merchant Account
  • Hire Qualified Staff
  1. Magento Commerce Vs. Shopify Plus, Who Comes Out On Top?

Both are of the most highly appreciated options at the moment, however, Shopify Plus is more suitable for stores that are quickly growing and require less complex, customized and integrated solutions. It is especially the best option if your website is already on Shopify.

But for those looking to build their portfolio on a large, international scale and are close to generating $5 million in revenue per year, Magento Commerce would offer more flexibility.

  1. Where Can You Buy Wholesale Clothing For A Boutique?
  • Local Wholesale Market
  • Fashion Events and Trade Shows
  • Online Wholesalers
  1. How Much Does A Clothing Boutique Owner Make?

According to Payscale, the average retail store owner made around $51,000 per year as of 2018, with a range of $23,751 to $140,935+. These numbers may be very different in 2020, but no conclusive data on boutique owner salaries in 2022 has been gathered yet.

  1. Can You Buy Wholesale Without A Business?

Yes! Although buying wholesale is easier for businesses than it is for individuals, you don’t need to be a business to buy products wholesale. You only need to apply for a business license if you plan on reselling wholesale goods regularly.

  1. What Are The 6 Things That Are Going To Affect The Cost Of Your Boutique?
  • Fabrication
  • Construction
  • Location
  • Quantity
  • Extent of Competition in the Market
  • The Utility and Demand
  1. How Do You Sell A Product Without Inventory?
  • Multi-Level Marketing, or MLMs
  • Sell Print on Demand
  • Third-party fulfilment centres
  • Drop Shipping
  1. Where Can You Buy Quality Wholesale Clothing?
  • Sugarlips Wholesale
  • Bloom Wholesale
  • Wholesale Fashion Square
  • Tasha Apparel
  • Magnolia Fashion Wholesale
  • LAShowRoom
  • Chinabrands
  • Aliexpress
  • Alibaba
  1. What Are The Strengths And Weaknesses Of An Online Business?

Strengths

  • Low Financial Cost
  • 24/7 Potential Income
  • Easy to Showcase Bestsellers
  • Sell Internationally
  • Personalized Online Experience
  • Affordable Employees
  • Easier to Encourage Impulse Buy
  • Easy to Retarget or Remarket to Customer
  • Customers Get a Less Invasive Experience
  • Gain Access to Customer Data Easily
  • Able to Process a High Number of Orders
  • Grow Your Business Organically with Content
  • Can Scale Business Quickly

Weaknesses

  • No One Can Buy During a Site Crash
  • Customers Can’t Try Before They Buy
  • Ecommerce Is Highly Competitive
  • Customers Can Be Impatient
  • Shipping Times Can Be Lengthy
  • Physical Retail Is Still More Popular Despite Decline
  1. How Long After Launch Do You Expect To Make Significant Money?

Have it in mind that it takes time before you start making money. However, putting together a well detailed business plan will help you come up with the time it will take you to become profitable. Although a business plan is not a seer of the future, understanding your profit numbers and creating a break-even analysis is an important of your business plan that will give you some idea of when you will be profitable.

  1. WordPress Is Used By Beginners And Developers Alike, But Is It Right For You?

Yes, WordPress is the most popular way to build a website for a reason. If you want to build any type of website, from a blog to an ecommerce store, WordPress is a great option. The beautiful part about WordPress is that it adapts to your needs.

It can be as easy and simple as you want, or as complex and sophisticated as you need it to be. Since you are completely in charge and in full ownership, you can make things simple, control the cost, and efficiently run your website.

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