Hello, Justine here! I am here today to talk about the reality of starting your own online boutique. Fare warning ahead of time, I am not the best writer/blogger out there. I am not an English Major what-so-ever. I ain't here to beat around the bush for hours just to describe one thing. I'm simply going to tell it how it is, straight to the point. So lets dive on into the beginning of starting your own online boutique.
For me, the reason I wanted to start my own online boutique was because I have an obsession with clothes and I was going through a faze of online shopping 24/7. I would online shop for hours straight. Then one random night I was online shopping and I got to thinking, "Hey I could do the same thing that these people are doing." So I started my research. I watched multiple YouTube videos, read articles, looked at blogs, visited online boutiques, etc. Once I felt like I had enough research, I started on my journey of opening an online boutique.
Little did I know that EVERYTHING was going to take much longer than I planned and a whole lot of tedious work. I had to get a sellers permit, EIN number, Certified Articles of Organization, and Certificate of Existence. The reason I had to get all those things was because the state of South Carolina requires it and in order to buy from wholesalers you have to have a sellers permit or retail license even if your state doesn't require you to have one. Some wholesalers will accept an EIN number but others will require a permit/license.
After I got all the paper work filled out I had to send it in to get signed and accepted. Then a few weeks later my forms would be sent back to me and I was about to start buying and selling products.
I used the software Shopify for my website. I recommend Shopify because it is easy to use, has millions of features, and if you have any questions on how to do anything you can look up a video and find your answer. I messed around with the software for a while to get the gist of things. I found a theme that I loved and picked all the colors, fonts, and layouts that I wanted my website to have. A big tip to help with opening an online boutique is to have a theme and for everything to match so it looks more appealing to the eye.
Once my website was created I had to take pictures of my products and upload them onto my site. So I asked a friend if she would be able to model my products for me and she agreed to do it. We went and took pictures and I edited them and uploaded them onto Shopify. Then the long part comes, putting all the descriptions of every product take FOREVER. Trying to think of creative ways to describe your products so your customers will buy them is a lot harder than you think. Matter of fact, I spent hours of my day trying to think of ways to describe each product. But when that is finally over the relief is amazing.
Now, when you finish creating your website and added all photos and descriptions, you are ready to open your store. Woohoo! All that work and stress is finally over. So you think... Yes there is a catch. Opening your website is already the biggest step of the process but then you need to get traffic to your store and you need the traffic to purchase your product. You can't just post on Facebook or Instagram and think everything is gonna just magically work out. You have to create ads that cost money, promote your post, tell family and friends to spread the word, post about it on your personal accounts, and maybe sell on Facebook market or Google Shopping. It is a lot more to it then you would think. The bright side about is that the more you do it the more you learn.
I am still learning new things every day on how to do things and what I should change because I am a beginner in this industry. But I do love everything about it. You do not need any experience of any kind to be able to open your own online boutique, you just need commitment.
Here are the steps to open your online boutique:
- Plan your boutique on what you want to sell, what you are going to be known for.
- Pick your boutique name
- Apply for EIN number, sellers permit or retail license, Certificate of Existence, Articles of Organization
- Buy supplies for your online boutique
- Look up wholesalers and sign up to access their website
- Buy clothes from wholesalers
- Take quality pictures of products
- Upload onto the software you chose and put descriptions
- Open your website
- Create post
- Promote your post and website
- Create and pay for ads
- Find an influencer to wear your products, if you can
- Have family and friends spread the word