Dream Fashion Job: Starting an Online Fashion Boutique
Have you always wanted to open your very own store? Are you driven and want to be your own boss? Get the scoop on becoming a fashion boutique owner!
Successful boutique owners are very entrepreneurial-minded people who use a combination of great business savvy and a knowledge of the fashion industry to make profits. Their boutiques target specific customers and carry an assortment of clothing/accessory/beauty designers that appeal to their target market. Boutique owners must be willing to do whatever it takes to get the business going, from planning their inventory, to ringing up customer sales and even cleaning up the store.
Owners must be able to attract investors to fund the initial opening and daily operations of the store. Some boutique owners use loans or personal savings to do so. A solid understanding of business becomes key in obtaining capital to open your store.
Education: A bachelor’s degree in Business Management or Fashion Retailing/Merchandising/Marketing is common.
Experience: Extensive experience in the fashion retail industry in a variety of positions.
Suggested Skills: Solid business skills; management skills; interpersonal skills; knowledge of trends and forecasts; time-management skills.
Personal Characteristics: Entrepreneurial and risk-taking personality; persistence; ability to self-promote.
Here’s what Grace Wang, Founder of Unsung Designers, has to say about running an online fashion boutique!
“When I decided to start up my boutique, it was really an issue of timing. I was working at a small start-up that went out of business and I wasn’t sure what my next step should be. A colleague and I talked about opening a boutique in Washington, DC. We thought it would be great to work for ourselves in an industry we both loved. Our talk turned into research. We started writing a business plan. The big labels didn’t excite me, I always sought out interesting young designers. They were much more cutting edge, they were always ahead of trends. The boutique idea turned into a website because we wanted to reach a wider customer base. We were so excited about the emerging designers, we wanted to make them accessible to people in small towns, across the country, around the world.”
Now that Unsung Designers is a successful business, Grace offers some insight on what a typical day is like for her. “An average day for me always starts with a big pot of coffee! I read the fashion news. I take care of orders, customer service, reply to emails from designers, media, general inquiries. I usually spend lunch meeting with a designer or showroom rep. This is networking time. It’s important to constantly talk to other people in the industry, especially when you work from home like I do”.
For Grace, the best part of being a Online Fashion Boutique Owner is being immersed in an industry she has a passion for. “It used to be a guilty pleasure, when I’d surf fashion sites and do online shopping at my 9-5. I’ve learned that working for yourself allows you a lot of flexibility. Working for yourself is also a big challenge. You have to be a self-starter or you’ll never get things done” says Grace. In the 4 years that she’s been in business, Grace has stayed true to the designers the business is based on, “It was always about respect for the creative process and love for clothes. I fiercely protect my designers and trust their creative instinct. I’ve done what I wanted to do and have close, trusting relationships with my designers”, stated Grace.