How to open a Fashion Boutique in UK USA (Business Plan)

Fashion Boutique Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • Is boutique business really profitable?
  • Can I start a clothing boutique with no money?
  • How to start an online boutique?
  • What wholesale clothing should I buy to start a boutique?

In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What is a Clothing Boutique / Fashion Boutique

Clothing Boutiques are small privately-owned stores that offer upscale, specialized clothing, fabrics, jewelry, shoes and accessories for niche clients.

Some examples of top fashion boutique brands in the USA and UK are:

1. Hazel and Olive Boutique

2. Beginning Boutique

3. Y&i clothing boutique

4. Labels Resale Boutique

5. Seiko Boutique

Market Insight: $22 Billion Clothing Boutique Business in the US and $39 Billion Clothing Retailing Business in UK.

Fashion Boutique Business

What are the different types of boutiques?

When it comes to how they fill their stores, there are essentially three types of clothing boutiques:

1. The traditional brick-and-mortar store boutique

2. An online store boutique

3. Mix of a brick-and-mortar store with an online eCommerce store boutique

In traditional brick-and-mortar store boutiques, there are some business models variations that include are:

1. Consignment boutiques:

A consignment store will carry products made by other designers or producers and keep a portion of the proceeds from sales.

The consignment approach eliminates the need for upfront capital for goods, but the profit share will be significantly lower than buying and selling. 

2. Conventional buy-and-sell retail boutiques:

The buy-and-sell boutiques purchase products at wholesale prices from producers or wholesalers. 

They purchase many items in bulk or the same style to get a discounted price. 

Building a rapport with wholesalers will help you negotiate the best price and increase your profit.

3. Franchisee boutiques:

The franchisee store will represent a well-known brand and its clothing line. 

To use the brand name, logo, etc., and to be permitted to sell their goods, a franchise fee (one-time fees, as well as royalty commission) must be paid to the parent firm.

This strategy requires a substantial initial investment because you must pay a franchise fee to the business and maintain the quality requirements set by the company in terms of decor, etc. 

It would be best to have fewer marketing efforts as you benefit from an established brand, company ads, etc.

Fashion Boutique Business

All about Online Boutique Business

The cost to launch an online boutique is significantly less than those of brick-and-mortar boutique stores; additionally, you’ll have better control over where and how you spend your money in targeted digital advertising.

  • Self-Hosted own eCommerce custom boutique website
  • 3rd Party eCommerce Platforms like Shopify


Internet has changed the way we shop, starting an online boutique can be an insanely profitable business venture for entrepreneurs both new and old.


More and more people prefer online shopping instead of going to traditional boutique because of these reasons:

  • Convenience
  • Easy Gift Parcel Forwarding
  • Competitive Price
  • Variety
  • Easy Price Comparisons
  • No Crowds
  • No Sales Pressure
  • Privacy for Discreet Purchases like lingerie

Major Expenses in running an Online Boutique are:

  • Web hosting
  • Domain name
  • Accounting & Invoicing Software
  • Insurance & Registration
  • Business Email
  • Online store web development
  • Merchant services transaction fees
  • Web maintenance
  • Google Ads
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Product / Model photography
  • Inventory costs
  • Shipping expenses
  • Marketing and promotion expenses
  • Product Shipping 
Product Shipping 
A low-cost, reliable product shipping tie-up is the most important link when running an online boutique.
Depending upon your shipping volume, the size of the items you ship, how long deliveries will take, and of course, the price when choosing a shipping provider.
List of reputed logistic companies are:
  • US / UK Postal Service
  • FedEx, USPS, UPS, DHL Express
  • Shippo
  • ShipStation

Market Insight: Research company Statista estimates that the apparel and accessories online retail sector will generate over $153 billion in revenue by 2024.

Fashion Boutique Business

How to select the right eCommerce platform?

While choosing an eCommerce platform, consider these features:

  • Is there an additional mobile app version for the platform
  • How much customization can you do on the platform
  • How user-friendly is the ecommerce platform 
  • What is the coding framework
  • How many product details can you list
  • How safe is their database and customer information
  • What integrations and migration do they offer
  • How active is their customer service
  • How fast will the site be backed up in case of a virus or hacking attack


To set up a store and sell your products there, here are two well-known Ready to use eCommerce platforms:

  • Shopify
  • Etsy

Additionally, you can also look into drag and drop Website builders from:

  • Wix
  • Squarespace

For better online brand presence, keep special emphasis upon:
• Consistent Font, Color, Design & Branding
• Use Product catalogs with High-quality photos
• Shopping & Checkout should be easy to use

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Fashion Boutique Business

Boutique Business Market Research

After finishing the market research, you will have these three main pointers:

  • Market Gap Identification
  • Boutiques USP
  • Your niche 

Select the target market, and create a customer profile of your ideal customers with preferences of your clients for purchases – trends, size, styles, colors, and fits.

  • If something is in demand and sells, you’ll be able to sell it
  • Follow in the footsteps of the successful
  • Create a customer profile
  • Consider your company’s goal and aim to deal with a legitimate issue
  • Select the target market
  • Check the preferences of your clients for purchases
Fashion Boutique Business

What is the starting price for a fashion boutique?

The cost of starting a boutique can vary dramatically based on your location, target market, and whether you are creating an online boutique or retail shop.

Estimate cost of a fashion boutique is between $50K – $150K 

The main expense overheads are:

  • Inventory / Manufacturing costs
  • Product sourcing / material costs
  • Distribution costs
  • Staff & Rentals
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • First-aid Equipment
  • Uniforms
  • Shop Decor
  • POS System
  • Property Rent
  • Inventory 
  • Bag Design
  • Business Cards
  • Tradeshow / Events
  • Business Signage

If your boutique ideas involve creating your product lines, you can expect to spend $20K-$50K per product between design, manufacturing, inventory, ordering SKUs, and more.

Fashion Boutique Business

How do I price clothing at my boutique?

Usually, the clothing in a boutique store is priced using the keystone markup method, where the wholesale price has to be multiplied 2x to cover taxes, inventory hold time & discounts.

For example, if you buy a dress lot at a wholesale price of $200 per unit, the retail price would be $400 to $500 per dress.

In the luxury boutique, it can be much higher to a factor of 3x to 5x

How to launch a boutique without any BIG cash?

Start your boutique without money using Shopify; it offers a free 14-day trial, which is more than enough time to set up an online store and start taking orders.

Combine it with the Dropshipping app and integrate it with the Amazon marketplace and Instagram Store.

Fashion Boutique Business

From where to buy clothing for boutique

Most boutiques get their inventory from:

  • Manufacturers / Apparel Factory
  • Wholesale B2B trade meets
  • Wholesale clothing websites
  • Import from other countries

Before finalizing a supplier, do consider the manufacturer’s minimum order quantity, cost, quality, trustworthiness, and the following factors:

  • Always request samples
  • Bargain with them to adjust the budget to your quantity
  • Get in touch with the designer
  • Attend wholesale trade events 
  • Visit wholesale clothes distributors in your area
  • Network with other boutique proprietors 
  • Get samples of products from, ask for referrals, search for positive ratings and reviews, and be highly watchful during all transactions
  • You might need to choose the style you want from their selection 
  • Decide to avoid dealing with fake item

Get unique design ideas as a boutique owner or fashion designer. Still, if your manufacturer can’t produce the dresses to your specifications with the desired quality, it’s game over.

Finding a reliable supplier / manufacturer who can produce your clothing is crucial to your boutique brand.

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Fashion Boutique Business

Boutique Supplies, Equipment & Essentials

When running a traditional fashion boutique, will require the following materials:

  • Boutique Supplies, Equipment & Essentials
  • Good Outdoor signage
  • Outstanding retail lighting
  • Inviting Interiors & Color combination
  • Furniture for sitting
  • Plants
  • Rugs
  • Closed / Open Sign
  • A sign with the operating hours
  • Racks and Shelves
  • Various hanger types
  • Display case types
  • Full-Length Mirrors
  • Tags and sales materials
  • Cashier’s Register / Point-of-Sale (POS)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Mannequins
  • Shopping bags
  • CCTV cameras Security / Security Alarm
  • Inventory protection
  • Dressing areas with curtains / partitions
  • Case displays
  • Countertops
  • Dividers
  • Garbage Cans
  • Ambient Music System
  • Visiting cards & Stationary
  • Souvenir Freebies
  • Bar code reader
  • Wi-Fi network
  • Wrapping paper and bows
  • A break area
  • Cabinet for filing and safe
  • Medical kit
  • Coffee Machine
Fashion Boutique Business

Choose boutique store’s layout carefully

The store’s décor significantly influences customers’ perception of whether or not they should purchase from your store.

The colors you use within the business, the arrangement of the shelves, and the storage area are all influencing variables.

Here are some of the tips for your store décor:

  • Have clean changing rooms
  • Install bright lights in the fitting rooms
  • Comfort of customers should be the no. 1 priority
  • Construct a vision board
  • Allow guests to browse the merchandise inside freely
  • Make attractive Mannequin exhibit
  • Have a nursing / resting area in the shop
  • Use creativity to make custom display units
  • De-clutter the storage shelves
Fashion Boutique Business

Payment System for your Boutique

You’ll likely want to accept credit cards in your boutique. Your customers should be able to pay for their purchases with their preferred credit or debit card or a through other alternative payment methods like digital wallets.

A POS credit card processing system can benefit small business owners by increasing sales.

Installing a POS system in your business will not only increase efficiency but will help you to grow your revenue and will be convenient to your customers as well.

TIP: By accepting all kinds of payment modes like VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Google pay, and Cash will help you convert potential customers to permanent ones.


Starting a clothing boutique offers a great business opportunity and quite an enjoyable passion.

It has the advantage of being a relatively simple business model, which makes scaling the business easy.

If you have funds, you can start a traditional boutique store on the high street; otherwise, with a limited budget, you can opt for an online boutique model, which requires less capital.

Lastly, remember that boutique business is all about good referrals, so keep your customers happy; this can create a buzz in the market for your boutique quickly.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

I’m a Vintage Clothing Dealer | Behind the Seams★ – YT Channel ‘Glam, Inc.’ 
Opening A $102K/Month Boutique Business (See What It Takes) – YT Channel ‘Upflip’ 
How much It Costs To Start A Boutique (My Experience) – YT Channel ‘All Schultz’
How to Break into the Fashion Industry with Alexa Chung | S1, E1 | Future of Fashion | British Vogue – YT Channel ‘British Vogue’

A. Yes, it might take a little time to make your own clientele and become profitable. However, if you focus on your USP, good quality, reasonable prices & good marketing; you can attract customers easily.

A. You can either have your own online boutique website or sell via 3rd party ready made platforms like Shopify.

A. Without money you can start online with 14 days free trial shopify / dropshipping.

A. Yes, for a long run and branding, you should always trademark your clothing line.

A. Most boutiques get their inventory from:

  • Manufacturers / Apparel Factory
  • Wholesale b2b trade meets
  • Wholesale clothing websites
  • Import from other countries

A. When it comes to how they fill their stores, there are essentially three types clothing boutiques:

1. The traditional brick-and-mortar store

2. An online store 

3. Mix of brick-and-mortar store with an online ecommerce store

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