Starting an online boutique is a trend that is not going away in the United States. Many more female entrepreneurs are stepping up to the plate when it comes to making a clothing company. While there are many of things to accomplish before doing so, this article will help you learn the steps.
Step 1: Choose A Business Name
When starting a business, the number one thing to do is pick a business name. Picking your business name is crucial initially because this is the name that you’re going to be using for everything. It’s also a good idea to double check your social media platforms for your brand name availability.
If the desired business name is already taken on social media, then it might be better to pick a unique name. It would be best if you chose a name that will have longevity. Selecting a business name is the most crucial part of starting your business. You want to check that the name is not already taken in the fictitious business name database.
You also want to check that the domain is available. You can achieve this by going on GoDaddy or WordPress and searching the business name. If the name is taken, try selecting a .org or .net website.
Keeping your business name short is important for longevity. Make it memorable and something that’s going to resonate with your customers. Having a short business name will be easy to remember as well. Jim Collins proved this concept as he was analyzing top companies that lasted over 100 years like Walmart, Party City, and more.
Step 2: Apply For An EIN
In order to have a legit business, you need to apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number. You can do this with the IRS, and this number allows you to do business and have employees. Simply go to the IRS website and decide what type of business you will be. You can register as a sole proprietor, LLC, and S-Corp.
If you do not have many resources and have much to lose, I recommend starting as a sole proprietor. Keep this until your business grows large enough. When the self-employment tax is ridiculous, and you end up paying an astronomical amount of taxes at the end of the year, then that’s when it’s time to consider changing.
Step 3: Apply For Sellers Permit
After obtaining your EIN, it’s time to apply for your seller’s permit. What does the seller’s permit allow you to do? A seller’s permit allows you to purchase wholesale. It will enable you to buy merchandise at wholesale prices. You have a permit for you to be able to purchase wholesale and then sell your products at a retail price. Then pay the state that you live in the applicable sales tax. You are responsible for paying that sales tax to the state for having a functioning business in your state.
Check their guidelines if you decide to do pop-up shops in different cities. Sometimes they let you sell without a permit for the first two times, and sometimes, you need a permit for that city.
Step 4: File Your Business Name
Go to your county registrar and fill out the application to file your business name. So you file your fictitious business name, which allows you to use that name to do any business, which is why step one was important.
Step 5: Sign Up For A Business Bank Account
I’m sure you’re expecting to make some income off your boutique. All the payments should have a designated bank account to separate from your personal expenses. So you need a business bank account where all the money goes.
You will need the fictitious business name to open a business bank account. You will need those official forms that say that you are a registered business. Then pay those fees to be able to open a bank account.
Step 6: Register Your Business In Your City
Register your business in whatever city you’re going to be doing business in. They have their own fees that they charge you for doing business in their city. They will likely ask you about the space where you’re doing business. Other questions that are asked relate to your office space. Is it in an office or a room in your house?
Just answer them truthfully. And then, once you register your business in that city, you have a business license for that city.
Step 7: Choose A Platform To Set Up Your Store
What platform will you use to do business to set up your online store? Will Will you use WooCommerce, Shopify, Squarespace, or something else? There are many options when it comes to choosing a medium to sell your clothing. You have to figure out which option is more suitable for you and which one you’re able to use to the best of your ability. I recommend playing around with the platforms, getting a free trial, and seeing what you’re more comfortable using. Find what’s going to suit your business needs and what each platform offers.
Step 8: Find Your Sources For Cloth & Materials
Popular sources for boutiques are Alibaba or AliExpress. These platforms let you buy things from China, and I really wouldn’t recommend buying clothes there unless you have a reliable source. There are also local sources like a trade show or cloth resale stores. There’s many trade shows that you can attend to buy wholesale merchandise.
You can also try visiting market centers to make connections. Sourcing wholesalers is essential to keeping costs low. Regardless, you will be allowed to attend a trade show because you’ve already done the official steps to register your business.
Step 9: Set Up Your Website
Get your own website by purchasing an unused domain. Many customers will visit your website to find information about your clothing. Make a newsletter to collect email addresses for future sales and more. Connect your website with all your social media accounts to let people know that there is a website with all the information they need.
Setting up your website also means listing your products, uploading photos, and placing descriptions. Make an “About Us” section, and make another page relating to popular products. Many would consider this part the fun part of the business. Simply because it’s easy to take a couple of product shots, upload them, create banners, create backgrounds, and more.
Step 10: Start Selling And Utilize Marketing
Selling and marketing is arguably the most challenging part of building a business. It would be best to convince your audience that your clothing is deserving and worth the money. Start promoting to family and friends or post across your social media. Buy ads on Google, Facebook, and more. Read selling books to learn how consumers think.
The first people to generate income for your business are your family and friends. If they are not trying to attend pop-up shops, try to attend any local events to be able to get your name out there. The goal is to generate some revenue and bring in new styles while growing your social media presence.