Read this before starting your online clothing boutique....

Having an online clothing boutique is the dream of every girl.....The good news: It's a dream that can come true. The bad news: It requires more than hard work...Smart Work

1. Who is your target market? Is it girls between the ages of 15 and 20 living in the tropics. Is it petite women? Is it women with short torso? If you do not have a specific niche and target market, make sure you have big dollars to invest in marketing, advertising and inventory. The broader your target market, the more you start to compete with the Fashion Novas, Boohoos and Missguideds of the world and even Macy's and Nordstrom.

With a broader market you will need more money for inventory (your audience is so broad you will need to have inventory that broad amount of people entering your website will want to buy).

With a broader market you will need more money to invest in advertising. The more general the keywords or phrases you use, the more contested they are which means they are more expensive. 

With a broader market you will start playing the price war game. Checkout the largest online boutiques, most of them sell the same clothing and they all have 30% sale if you use the code SHOP NOW. In the price war game you know who loses? Everyone. You know who wins? The wholesaler.

2. Do you have a differentiated product? Are you going to be a ME TOO boutique buying from or LAShowroom or UBM Fashion events? If your product is not differentiated, you will enter into price wars.....Unless you are an influencer and have already built a brand (I will cover this later). Don't be lazy buying the same S%*$T everyone buys, do some good sourcing. Look for smaller brands, independent designers, or design your own. Did you know you can upload an image in google image search and all the similar images will shop up? You know what this means right? PRICE DISCOVERY. anyone will be able to download a picture of the dress they like and look it up on google for the lowest price.... This is what Amazon and Ebay do and it is called price discovery..This is what killed airline margins and what is commoditizing the whole market place. This is why content and creativity are always king!

3. Do you have a Brand?

If you don't have a differentiated product, you need to have a BRAND. Why do you think instagram influences open up their online boutique and have everything sold out the next day? It is not because their products are great; it is because they have a huge fan base of loyal followers that will buy anything they sell. Funny thing is that the same dress was being sold by your boutique at half the price and guess who made the sale... Having a BRAND means having the opportunity to keep you margins high and having a unique distribution channel. 

How do you create a brand? Become an expert in a specific niche, help others solve problems, influence people's life choices, motivate them to do better.... Examples:

a. Instagram Pictures of amazing scenery
b. Youtube videos teaching a new makeup style
c. Posting in fashion forums helping petite women find clothing
d. Posting blog content on your shopping experiences
e. Reviewing clothing brands

By creating a brand your opinion matters and whatever you say or do will have influence on other people. I believe this is more important than having a nice website with a great product.

It is easier to sell a mediocre product if you are a well known artists or influencer than if you have an excellent product and no one knows you. You don't have to be a fashion model to sell, just become a reliable source of information that adds value to other peoples daily lives in some way.

4. Having a website is not enough

Anyone can build a SHOPIFY website. Having a website does not guarantee sales. Having a professional looking website is not a good thing to have, it is a MUST. So don't think that just because you have a good website you will sell more. Having a good looking website will only help prevent the customer from leaving.

5. Have a marketing strategy

Don't just hire any influencer or buy facebook ads and put a nice picture. Make sure ads are running at the right time, keywords are keywords that are being used by people when they are google searching with the intention of BUYING and that the target audience is reached. 

6. Have a budget

How much do you need to buy in order to sell xxx amount? How much time can you afford to keep it in inventory without selling it? How much inventory do you need to have in your store to sell xxx amount per month? How much do you need to sell to break-even? What is the markup you need to use to cover not only your product and shipping cost but your customer acquisition cost? Do you have enough money to stay solvent if sales suffer?


FINAL TIP: Do not even think of starting a business if you have not completed these steps. They might sound obvious but the reason most businesses fail is because they go emotional about the business without thinking about these points. 

Hope you enjoy!