If you’ve given serious thought to opening a clothing boutique, it’s easy to worry about big businesses like Nordstrom or Macy’s making it an impossible dream.
“Although you might not guess it by the number of malls and outlet centers cropping up, we’re mostly a nation of small, independent merchants,” writes Entrepreneur magazine contributor Laura Tiffany. “In fact, most retail stores, and that includes apparel stores, are small, both in size and in sales volume, compared to a Gap or Old Navy. The typical apparel store is a small operation, usually run by the owner alone or by a husband-and-wife team.”
Opening a clothing boutique has the potential to be a lucrative venture, but only if you think outside of the box, especially when it comes to your startup costs. Furnishing your boutique with the necessary equipment to display merchandise and assist customers is one area where you can both think creatively and add an extra layer of personality to your fashion enterprise.
Consider these unique methods for replacing standard retail furnishings when opening your clothing boutique:
Wholesalers are happy to sell you limitless amounts of standard, metal clothing racks. However, a quick Google search for “clothing rack alternatives” yields a variety of easy DIY projects that cost less and look so much better than what you’d buy from a wholesaler.
This blog post from The Interior Collective offers eight alternatives to standard clothing racks that you can make for your boutique. The same DIY approach can be taken with your boutique’s display cases as well. Alternatives to racks and cases are a great way to save yourself some cash and add a splash of personal touch to your decor.
If there’s one area to consider spending a little extra initially, it’s your clothes hangers. Wire hangers can stretch out clothing and stain garments if there’s rust. While plastic, wood, or fabric hangers might cost more initially, they last longer and are gentler on your clothes. These alternatives are truly an investment in the overall maintenance of your inventory. Depending on how you choose to display clothing, though, you might not need hangers at all.
Of course, you will need to mark the price of everything available in your boutique– from clothing to accessories. Individual price tags and plastic fasteners can add up quickly; they require constant restocking and cause significant waste. One alternative is organizing your merchandise by price and hanging unique signage that lists the price of items in that area. If you have to have individual price tags for whatever reason, you can use recycled paper to fashion your own unique price tags and even laminate them.
You could have plain, cubicle-style fitting rooms in your boutique, but those don’t convey your brand’s unique message. A trendy alternative is to make your dressing rooms using curtains and hanging rods to create private, comfortable spaces for customers to try on clothes. You can recycle and re-purpose unconventional materials to build your own fitting rooms that also fit your budget. Think about the style and persona of your boutique, then brainstorm clever ideas for fitting rooms that match your aesthetic. Not only will your customers be impressed, but these unconventional dressing rooms can be more easily moved and stored to make it easier on you in the long-term.
Forgo traditional cash registers and opt for mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) solutions. When you first open your clothing boutique, you might be the store’s only employee at first. With an mPOS system, such as a tablet equipped with a credit card reader, you can ring up one customer’s items while answering another customer’s questions. Rather than being chained to register, an mPOS solution allows you to move freely around your boutique to help clients, rearrange stock and quickly total a customer’s purchases.
Let us help with your boutique’s technology solutions like mPOS.