How to Start an Online Boutique || 8 Steps on Starting a Successful Online Boutique
“Remember why you started.” Unknown
When my good friend and I decided to start an online boutique we were so excited. We had our plan, but we wondered how do you start a successful online boutique. There were a few steps we had to take to make the boutique ready to roll. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but I’m here to help.
1. Choose your online boutique name
I think this was my favorite part, choosing your best online boutique name. I suggest coming up with a few different names. You need to search your state directory to make sure the name you want is still available. Once you know that the online boutique name is available, you can register your business name before starting an online boutique. Bonus hint before registering, you might want to check to see if the domain is available too.
2. Choose your business structure
This can be a bit confusing and intimidating, at least it was for me. This is where you decide if you want to operate as an LLC, Sole-proprietor, Partnership, etc. You could also operate under a DBA or form a corporation. There are plenty of businesses that can help you get started with this.
3. Sign up with your state for a Reseller’s Permit and collect Sales Tax
A seller permit is also referred to as a resale permit, or reseller license. This type of permit is required by any business selling merchandise in many states. If you are located in a state with sales tax, you may also need a sales tax ID for paying quarterly sales tax. The best way to get this information is to contact your state business department to learn more about the exact requirements for starting a boutique where you live. Here is San Antonio, there are Sales Tax Seminars you can attend. They tell you the ins and outs of collecting sales tax, when to file, etc. The state wants you to succeed. They are more than happy to answer any and all of your questions.
4. Get your EIN tax ID number (if needed)
The IRS requires you to have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) if your business retains employees or if you operate your business as a corporation or a partnership.
5. Figure out your Platform
There are several platforms to choose from. Choose a platform that you feel comforatble using. Platforms include: Etsy, a blog, an e-commerce website, Facebook Group, and Instagram. Each of these have their own pros and cons. I found that having a website and a Facebook group worked best for me. If you choose to go the e-commerce route, compare selling platforms to find one that is customizable with the most capabilities.
6. Figure out your logistics
I feel like this is the tip that a lot of other blogs miss. Figure out your logistics before you get started. How are you filling orders? How often are you shipping? Will you offer pre-sales or have inventory? Know your time to dedicate to your business and plan accordingly. You can always change these, but it is a good idea to know beforehand.
This topic is huge and really needs to be discussed separately as there are many aspects to it. Determine what type of clothing your online boutique will sell and who your target audience is. The brand reflects your style and will attract your target market. Bonus hint: figure out who you want your target market to be.
8. Find Wholesalers for your online boutique inventory
Finding wholesale boutique clothing is something you will need to do before launching. If you decide to have an inventory, get some in before you launch. There are great wholesalers out there, you will have to weed through them to find the right ones for you. When you do, build a business relationship with them. Make sure the clothing styles you select aligns with your brand and target audience. I feel like everyone keeps their wholesalers a secret. When I first got started no one would share their list with me. It took google searches and my mom secretly asking her friends to find good ones. Ha, which I find hilarious now. I’d love to share my favorite wholesalers with you. Subscribe to get your own copy of our favorite wholesalers
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Disclaimer: The links in this post contain affiliate links. If you click through and buy something I will get a small commission used for keeping the blog up and running smoothly.