A Road Map to Boutique Management
Hetal Mistry (Student), Anju Tulshyan (Associate Professor)
Department of Textiles and Apparel Designing,
Sir Vithaldas Thakersey College of Home Science [Autonomous], S.N.D.T Women’s University
Every Person wants to wear bright, trendy and diverse clothes of their choice and want to look the most beautiful person in the world. This has given rise to Clothing Boutique Business in the world. Opening a Clothing Boutique is a dream for many women who want to stand on their own feet and feel the freedom of financial independence and the joy of owning a business. The management of boutiques is a well-researched topic. There is no formula to success but there are techniques that could help run the boutique and actually grow and be profitable. From past few decades we have seen that a lot of boutiques go out of business because of lack of proper guidance and experience, legal aspects, commencement set up, local competition, online business, promotional tools selection and many other factors. The objective of this study is to learn, review and list down the essential steps that are to be followed for the smooth and successful running of the boutique. This review paper is an attempt to give a road map to starting a boutique.
Key Words: Boutique, Clothing, Business, Fashion Management etc.
Introduction: Clothing boutique management is a hot topic in textile and fashion world. This review paper explores the widely seen fashion boutique operations in the domain of management. A boutique is a small retail shop selling clothes/ fabric/accessories and other goods to a specific segment of the market. In French, word boutique is regarded as “haute couture”; Haute means “high” or “elegant.” Couture literally means “sewing,” but has come to indicate the business of designing, creating, and selling custom-made, high fashion women’s clothes or ‘high dressmaking’. Boutique can be defined as a small shop selling fashionable clothes or accessories. It is easy to start, is manageable and requires comparatively small amount of capital to start, engages the creativity and passion of the owner to a great extent. In today’s competitive business world there is a good deal of demand for the guidelines on how to commence and set up a business. Th ere are a few tips on how to survive, smoothly run a boutique and be successful.
Boutique Planning : There are 4 types of boutique in terms of the way they stock goods. Decide on the Unique Selling Point (USP) i.e. The purpose of your business, current trends in terms of colour, style and your client. There are different types of boutiques as given below
Fig. 1. Type of clothing boutique
Location Selection  Location is one of the most important factors in deciding the success of your store. Choosing the location depends on the budget. There are many factors to be considered while selecting the location
- Availability of raw materials : If you intend running a production unit, then the nearness or availability of raw materials is a factor you must consider while choosing the business location. If your business is not close to the raw materials, then sourcing and transportation will add on to the cost.
- Proximity to market : The next important factor to consider is the nearness of your business to its customers.
- Availability of basic infrastructure : Availability of basic infrastructure such as near to airport, railway station, etc. can affect your choice of small business location.
- Economic policy : The economic policy or system such as taxes- GST, CST, etc. of a particular region may also affect your decision and choice of location.
- Demographics : Demographics as a factor can have a big influence on your choice of business location e.g. type of product, service or the type of customers.
- Psychographics : The mindset of your customers or the aura of a particular region is also a factor to consider when choosing a location for your small business.
- Industrial Clusters / areas : Some entrepreneurs may decide to site their business in industrial areas or clusters due to the infrastructure and amenities already on ground.
- Channel of distribution : The more you make it easier for your distributors to access your products, the better for your business.
- Self -Owned/ Rented Property : Once the location is finalised one need to decide on property ownership i.e. self -owned or rented depending on our capital investment for the business. Once the Location is finalised prepare a Leave and License Agreement and complete the stamp duty and registration formalities eighter for purchase or rented properties as the case may be. For online registration of rent agreement in Maharashtra*Go to the e-filing (https://efilingigr.maharashtra.gov.in/ereg/)website.
Evaluate the competition  by doing a swot analysis. SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats relating to business competition or project planning.
varieties of payment options,
wide range of clothes and other fashion accessories,
open throughout week and
excellent customer service culture.
New clothing store in the market,
financial capacity to engage in the kind of publicity.
Store in place like Mumbai,
Sale product which are not locally available,
Curiosity for new store.
arrival of a new clothing store in same location,
Changing Trends – FAD.
Fig. 2. SWOT Analysis of the store
Defining a business plan : Decide on the name of your boutique. Brand name is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other product. Define the mission and primary goals of the business. Then document every detail related to making your business successful, like costs, staff, inventory, supplies, marketing, and more. The more detailed and granular you get with your plan, the better prepared you’ll be moving forward.
Pricing strategy : Apparel companies can employ a number of pricing strategies to differentiate their brand and gain competitive advantages in the marketplace. Understanding your business cost structure and choosing the right pricing strategy are crucial steps toward achieving your profit goals. The mark-up on cost can be calculated by adding a pre-set, often industry standard, profit margin percentage to the cost of the merchandise. Consumers have many choices and are generally willing to shop around to get the best price. Retailers considering a competitive pricing strategy, need to provide outstanding customer service to stand above the competition. Economy pricing aims to attract the most price-conscious of consumers. With this strategy, businesses minimize the costs associated with marketing and production in order to keep product prices down. Designed to help businesses maximize sales on new products and services, price skimming involves setting rates high during the introductory phase. Many consumers seek low prices when shopping for apparel. In the luxury tier of the market, consumers’ price sensitivity often is more closely correlated with a brand’s image rather than inherent product quality or market value. Apparel products are closely tied with self-expression and social status in consumers minds, so consumers in this segment are often more concerned with the social image of their apparel than its durability of the quality of material The value pricing strategy sits somewhere between the budget and luxury segments. Price promotions can be an effective means of increasing sales and customer loyalty for any pricing strategy in this industry.
Open a business account with bank : Start a business current account with a bank & a merchant account with ability to process credit/debit card transactions is a necessity especially if you will be allowing transactions other than cash. The minimum balance for Normal Current Account is Rs. 10,000. This will help to increase sales of the store as now a day’s people are more use to for using cards for shopping. Appoint the best craftsmen and employees  Interview and hire /appoint the best Craftsmen & employees if you need more help.
Fig. 3. Hierarchy of reporting in fashion boutique business
Layout of the Boutique : Furnish and lay out your boutique in a way that flows well. The store decor is an important element in making people feel whether they should buy from your store or not. Colours you use inside the store, shelf and storage layout all are contributing factors to buying decision Customers should be able to shop freely. Create a clean, inviting storefront  to draw in customers. Window displays, ample lighting, or potted plants, boutique’s theme, boutique design for the storefront are the main attractions for customers. Change up window displays once every 2 weeks to create visual interest and attract new customers. Your storefront is the first impression customers get of your boutique. Dress forms or mannequins can display your clothes attractively in the store front and attract buyers/ passers-by. Greet the customers as soon as they enter the store, give them personal attention, ask to help them to assist in choosing the option for buying the best, try to connect with them.
Launch your boutique : It’s now time for you to open your boutique and start making sales. Get the word out that your boutique is opening. Try to get local media coverage. Invite peoples from all fields to be presence in your boutique opening. Design & print the invitation cards for opening ceremony of the boutique. Use social media accounts also to invite people for opening ceremony and to launch our new collection to them.
Operational procedures of your store : Plan proper policies for day-to-day business activities, for record keeping, regarding how to use the cash register; how to maintain the cash flow, system to manage your inventory, etc. Hire experienced staff & train them well for all store and sales promotion strategies such as how-to greet a customer, store customer records, how to deal with customers to make them buy the products, etc. Plan the refund policy for goods purchased and returned by customers. Arrange for an alteration unit. Also, the sewing tools. need to be arranged for smooth running of the business operations. Further, the administration items such as CCTV, store entrance security systems, coffee vending machine, clothing security tags, packing material, carry bags, gift rappers, Point-of-Sale System (POS) to be arranged for maintaining operation system of the boutique. Meet a Chartered Accountant (CA) to determine the viability of your business plan.They will guide us on how much to invest in business, for Assets & liabilities of the business. Also books that is to be prepared for accounting of the business e.g. Purchase book, Sales book, Bank book, Cash book, etc. When & how to make payments of taxes.
Conclusion : Today, the popularity of online shopping is growing especially with regards to fashion products but the traditional retail stores are still highly popular in India. There are so many brands that have their boutiques in various places with more shopping options. Setting up of boutique in this competitive business world and to make profitable business is another challenging task. The availability of this road map will help the start-ups to move in right direction to establish his boutique business. All these operational procedures are mentioned after discussion and understanding it with industrial experts. These operational procedures will lead you to become a successful business entrepreneur.
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Review Paper by Ms. Hetal Mistry Ms. Anju Tulshyan