How to Start an Online Clothing Store in 2020 and Beyond
STEP 1 – SUCCESS STRATEGY
Planning your success strategy is extremely vital when starting your online clothing boutique. Think of your success strategy as a roadmap to your overall business success. Your success strategy comprises of three key areas namely; your mission, your vision and your strategy.
Your mission is the “core message of your brand”. What do you want to be known as? What do you want your brand to represent? Your vision refers to the long term goals for your business. Your strategic objectives are basically your plan of action, your to do list, what steps you intend to take to achieve that mission and long term vision. So start by brainstorming on these 3 key areas before you start your own clothing line.
STEP 2 – YOUR NICHE OR BUSINESS IDEA
Now that you have decided to start your own online boutique, one of the most important first steps to starting your online boutique is to identify a niche or market you want to focus on. Overall the best inspirations and motivations should come from things you love and personally enjoy, from personal experience, and most of all something you have a passion for. Don’t try to be too broad by trying to sell everything, find a niche and stick to it. For example, if you start a clothing line selling plus size clothing, then automatically you know your target audience is plus size women. This will make the marketing process so much of a breeze than you can imagine.
STEP 3 – YOUR BUSINESS NAME
Now we have an idea on what type of online boutique to start, the next step is coming up with a business name. At this stage you might want to start thinking about what to call your business. It should be something straight to the point that immediately tells people what it is you do. It should also reflect on who you are especially if selling services.
The business name is the first thing that any potential buyer is going to notice and in this respect is what is likely to draw people’s attention and get them curious. Therefore, it’s essential that you strike the right tone with your business’ name. Get creative; ask people around you what they think of it.
STEP 4 – BUSINESS REGISTRATION
Now we have an idea on what type of online boutique to start, the next step is choosing a business structure. When it comes to selecting a business structure, there are a variety of options you can choose from, all dependent on how you plan to operate such as;
Sole Proprietorship/Sole Trader – This is the easiest way to register your business and is ideal if you plan to run your business alone. There is less paperwork involved in getting registered, all the profits earned are yours, however you are also liable for any debts incurred by the business.
Partnership – This is ideal for a business being run by two people. In a partnership, you and your partner (or partners) personally share responsibility for your business and are both liable for any debts.
Private Limited Company or LLC- This is ideal for those who plan on not just running the business themselves but having other shareholders and stakeholders involved. As a limited company you are separate from your business, meaning any debts incurred by the business do not directly affect your own personal assets.
STEP 5 – FINDING WHOLESALE SUPPLIERS
One of the most important resources of a boutique is deciding on how and where to source inventory or what products to sell on your online store. There are three key ways to source inventory for your online clothing boutique; buy wholesale, dropshipping or make your own products.
Buying wholesale is a very popular way of sourcing products which usually involves buying products in bulk at a low price from a supplier, then reselling it at a higher price to your customers.
Dropshipping is another great inventory sourcing option that involves selling products on your website with no need to purchase any inventory in advance. Simply find a drop shipping supplier, start selling their products on your website (at a higher retail price), when a customer buys from you, you pass their shipping details to the supplier (keeping the profit) and the supplier deals with the packaging and shipping of products directly to them. This is one of our highly recommended and low risk methods of sourcing inventory especially for those starting on a tight budget.
If you are more on the creative side and want to make your own unique products, then the two options above may not be applicable to you. It will be best to hand make or find a factory to manufacture your own products from scratch. This option ofcourse is a lot more expensive.
There are many wholesale platforms out there such as Fashiongo.net, OrangeShine, etc. However they do come with their restrictions and require you to have an EIN number and permit to access and contact their suppliers. However the number one platform we will recommend for finding Wholesale and Dropshipping suppliers is SellPire.
Other supplier directories to also checkout are;
STEP 6 – YOUR WEBSITE
The next important step to starting your online boutique is of course finding a platform to sell your products – YOUR WEBSITE. Your website is the next most important thing to consider for your new online boutique – after all you are running an online based store so what better place to sell your products than on your own website. A business without a website should be prepared to lose out on over 95% of its customers. Nowadays, people go on the internet 24/7 searching for all types of information.
To get your business up and running you will need 2 key things; a domain name, a hosting platform. You can get a domain name registered for less than $10 per year from Namecheap.
One of the best web hosting platforms to look into when setting up your new online boutique store is Shopify. Shopify is not only great for ecommerce online stores, but is also very beginner and user friendly. Shopify starts at $29 per month with a 14 Day FREE trial giving you the opportunity to try them out before you make a purchase decision.
Another great way to create your website is using WordPress.org. It comes with more functionality, themes and templates in comparison to Shopify and offers you more flexibility. You can learn how to create your own ecommerce website on WordPress here.
STEP 7 – MARKETING
What is a business without customers right? Now you have your online boutique ready to go, the next step ofcourse is marketing your new online store. There are so many different ways you can market your online boutique such as using social media. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are the best social media platforms to use to market your online boutique. Other powerful ways to market you boutique include building an email list of subscribers and marketing to them, creating your own affiliate program (extremely powerful) and getting other people to pretty much market your brand for you. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MARKETING YOUR ONLINE BOUTIQUE.
So these are some great ways to start an online boutique from scratch in 2020 and beyond. Of course there are more aspects to starting an online boutique, and if you are looking for an all in one boutique starter kit, then checkout the Run Boutique Business Kit which contains boutique courses, ebooks, planners, vendor list, worksheets, spreadsheets and much more. You can CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT NOW.