How To Start an Online Boutique
Thanks for joining me!
Here are a few free and little cost things that you can do to start your online fashion boutique:
- Think of names that you would like to give your online boutique. Choose something that is unique but also gives a clear, concise direction of who you are as a business.
- Search for those names online with a search engine of your choice. You want to make sure that when you wish to purchase a domain name that it isn't already taken.
- Once you've confirmed that those names haven't been taken, you can file for a DBA with your local county Recorder's Office which is simply a document that states you are doing business as another entity. You may also file your Articles of Organization with the State if you are planning on starting an LLC. There are fees associated with both, the DBA costs are simply recording the document with the county are around $15-$30 and the costs to file Articles of Organization are around $125-$250. (You may want to consult with an Attorney or Accountant to figure out which is best for you)
- Go to irs.gov and apply for an EIN number. This process is pretty simple and the instructions on the site will walk you through everything. This is free of charge and you will receive it immediately.
- Go to your State Department of Revenue (DOR) and request a Reseller Certificate also known as a Reseller ID or some other variation, will allow you to purchase items in a tax-exempt status for the purpose of reselling those items and charging applicable tax to your customers. This item is also free of charge.
- Verify your business on Google and Bing. Once you've verified it on Google you can import it over to Bing. Google will mail a postcard to your address and you will enter that code to be verified. When someone "googles" you, your business will show up on the right side of the page. Additionally, you are able to put pictures, video, updates, coupon, etc in that space and it's free!
- Add social media and other marketplaces. For example, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Store Envy, Etsy, etc. Those other sites can create back links for your website for free and that will help you rank on the first page of Google!
- Now we're almost there! Go and buy that domain name you've been stalking! It will really solidify your online presence and give you a legit appearance. You have so many options so I would do research regarding the host of your site, i.e. Shopify, Big Cartel, Volusion, Weebly, or WordPress. There are charges associated with all of these and they vary across the board.
- Now you need some products. You're a newbie in the clothing industry, but you have everything you need to establish relationships with wholesale vendors, distributors and manufacturers.
- Sites like FashionGo.net, FashionDomino.com, OrangeShine.com, WorldWideBrands.com and LAShowroom.com are all free ti use. They are not for the general public as you will have to upload either your EIN form, your Reseller Certificate or both. These sites combined literally have thousands of vendors in every category including clothing for women, men, babies, children, accessories, shoes, etc.
- Research products that are already selling. Those are the products you want to start selling. There are many variations of clothing so you don't have to replicate their whole product list. Stalk Amazon, Ebay, PressedATL, Tags Boutique, Fashion Nova, or even at your local stores Forever 21, Rainbow, etc. Look at the tags of clothing on websites and in your own closet. You are able to buy from the same suppliers as the big box stores as well!
- Post those products on your site so you can prepare to sell them. You may want to get models or yourself to be photographed in the clothing as opposed to using the stock photos provided by the vendors. It will help you stand apart and establish yourself as a brand as well as providing consistency on your site if you use several different suppliers.
- You're up and running......now what? Drive traffic to your site! You can purchase Google Ads, Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads, Bing Ads, utilize SEO optimization and keywords (if you're a wiz like that) or you can pay someone to provide quality back links for you. Sites like Postlinks.com and BlackHatLinks.com will provide this service for you for a small fee.
- Once sales come in, maintain quality customer service and invest back into the business. You may be able to get better prices on inventory with a consistent working relationship with the suppliers.
- If business is booming and you feel overwhelmed, you may want to outsource some of the work while you focus on the important parts. A virtual assistant may help to maintain your customer service or to complete tasks in your back office. Most sites like Shopify give you the ability to give someone limited access to your account so that they can complete only what you desire.