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Opening my own store

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  • I really would like to pursue my dream of opening my own baby boutique. I'm looking for any advice that would help me start off on the right path. I don't know how much money it would take and what I need to do on my half in order to obtain business licenses etc. Since I had my son, who is almost 1, it has really given me the push to proceed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by aidensmommy on 9th August 2007
  • I really don't know anything about opening a boutique but I didn't want your post to remain unanswered....have you tried contacting your local Small Business Association. There are a ton of programs out there for women starting businesses- classes about business planning, grants, loans, etc. I would start by finding out which resources are in place to help me get started .
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lisa R.(dirtydiapersyndrome) on 10th August 2007
  • Thanks for your help. I will look into that.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by aidensmommy on 10th August 2007
  • Welcome, Aiden's Mommy! At one point in my life, I also looked into opening a boutique of this kind.



    For one thing, you need to contact your bank and find out if they think your business is a good prospect for a loan. If they refuse you, you can always try the back door approach (get a home equity loan, or max out some credit cards).



    It's easy to get a business license-- you may want to contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out the address in your state you need and to help you fill out appropriate forms. City hall can also help you with this. But it is a really simple process.



    Your costs are likely to be these: 1) rent 2) electricity and water 3) childcare 4) merchandise 5) Internet and computer 6) cash register 7) being able to accept credit cards 8) display options for your merchandise (shelves, racks for puzzles and books, hangers for clothes).



    You also need to start looking at the labels of products like the ones you want to sell and start contacting manufacturers and finding out what their minimum orders would be, what amounts, what prices. You can then figure out your budget: I want to have ten puzzles, fifteen onesies, and twenty of these great rattles.



    The key, I think, is to make sure you have enough merchandise in the store to look well-stocked, successful, and interesting. You want people to come back. You could also think of events you could have: reading books to young children once a week; a playroom for young children while their mothers shop; delivering products to a baby shower; gift wrap; seasonal events. "Events" will draw customers into your store.



    I hope this helps!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jen Creer on 10th August 2007
  • One more thing: It helps if you can write out your vision for the store, how you could market it cheaply (flyers, word of mouth, emails, ask businesses to post flyers, ad in the newspaper), an entry plan, an estimated start date, your perfect inventory, and also? and exit strategy: How long will you give yourself to be successful? And what will you do if you are not? And how could you adjust and rearrange things to stay in business?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jen Creer on 10th August 2007
  • Thanks for your advice, it defintely helps me to think about budget and what all opening the store will include. It always sounds good in your head, but when you layout all the different things it defintely sounds difficult and a little scarey.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by aidensmommy on 11th August 2007
  • Actually, I don't think it is really *too* scary-- except for coming up with the money for start up and merchandise.



    But there are things you can do in the meantime: Save money on rent by having "boutique" home parties. You can keep your merchandise boxed in your trunk and do parties at your own convenience-- at other people's houses, or maybe rent a room at the coffeeshop or some other venue if they have one. You could do events the same way. Then, you could build up a clientele without the major commitment of store space rental-- and get an idea of what kind of merchandise you want to focus on.



    It would also give you some income to put toward the rest of your dream!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jen Creer on 11th August 2007
  • Hi!



    I love doing as much shopping online as possible!

    Have you thought of having an online store (way cheaper

    than a brick & cement store) and millions

    of potential customers ...like me! :-D



    GOOD LUCK & FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!

    Do something special!

    We only live once and regret is something

    we can't change.



    Wishes,

    Annemarie
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 11th August 2007
  • I think Annemarie has a great idea! With a digital camera and a website (if you don't know how to set up a website, let me know-- I am planning an article on it!), that would be your store front! You could do it from home and at all hours-- and she's right, not be limited to geographical location!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jen Creer on 12th August 2007
  • Yea, I thought of the online store. That is what I was thinking about first, but when I emailed some places about buying wholesale, most said they'd rather sell to a brick & mortar store. I did find one though that would sell wholesale and she recommended doing it through yahoo. I just need to find out about getting the correct licenses or permits in order to buy wholesale...so if anyone can help me with that I'd appreciate it. I was confused about the right permit/license that I would need to get. Also, Jenorama when you do your article, please let me know b/c I'd be interested in reading it. I'm not familar with running a website and setting one up. I'm glad that you mentioned that. I think that is the right path for me and once I build up the online, then I can do the store. That was a GREAT idea about the truck party. I have tons of friends who are having babies now so they'd love that I think. I just want to do some more research on the money side of it b/c I just don't want to put myself in debt and it turn out to be a dud. One of the designers I spoke with and kinda gave me some advice said that her minimum purchase would be $250. I'm guessing most are around the same. Thank you so much for all of your help. I'm defintely starting to feel like this could be a reality for me and its exciting!!!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by aidensmommy on 12th August 2007

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