Since running your own small apparel business stretches far beyond seeking out the latest fashion trends, you should possess good business and management skills to ensure successful growth. A great deal of preparation is required before you can open your own boutique. Having a clear business plan is essential.

1. Select and research your target market. Styles and fashion trends vary depending on age, gender, lifestyle and geographical location, so gain a deep understanding of what people are looking for in apparel. Contact consumers, suppliers, designers and even competitors to learn about trends and help decide your market focus.

2. Work with a professional to compile your apparel boutique business plan. There are many costs associated with opening a small retail outlet; a professional business plan writer can help you identify costs such as rent, utilities, clothing suppliers, mannequins, office supplies, cash registers, employee wages and so on. A proper business plan can be used to secure financing, such as a loan from a bank, if needed.

3. Find an appropriate location to set up your apparel boutique. Ideally, you should look for a place in an urban area that has the potential to showcase products in a window display. A downtown area of your town or city that is not next to any direct competitors would be an ideal location.

4. Research apparel wholesalers from whom you can purchase seasonal and trendy items to stock your boutique. Your suppliers should be reliable so you can satisfy your local demand for apparel items as needed.

5. Purchase all boutique equipment and supplies and hire retail associates. Stick to your business plan when purchasing equipment and supplies. Hire employees who have experience working in a retail environment and possess good customer service skills. Develop an employee training program and train your employees before opening the boutique.

6. Set up the boutique by placing apparel product on shelves and racks according to size and style. Place the cash checkout near the front of the boutique and spend some time setting up an attractive window display showcasing your best items. If necessary, hire a window dresser to help you create a professional display.

7. Plan a grand opening date and market your business by placing an advertisement in the local newspaper and in fliers and direct mail. Consider holding the grand opening date on a Saturday and offering a special discount on apparel items for the entire opening day or weekend.

8. Stay on top of current fashion trends and make sure you give yourself enough time to purchase seasonal items from your suppliers.

© Chron/Elise Stall

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