How to Start Your Own Online Boutique

Interested in opening your own online boutique, but not sure where to start? We’ve got some tips and tricks for turning your business idea into a reality.  


Decide on What You’re Going to Sell

Are you interested in selling formal wear or street wear? Accessories or athleisure? These may seem like obvious questions, but they are absolutely crucial to developing your brand identity and identifying the niche you are trying to fill.

If you’re struggling to come up with an answer, try reframing the questions to focus on your customers: who are you selling to? What do they want? Consider their gender identity, age, location, and sense of style to develop your answers.

The point of this exercise is not to box you into a hyper-specific niche that will alienate most online shoppers. You can sell as wide a variety of clothing as your time and money will allow, a business model that has proven to be successful for countless online stores. But it’s also important to have a clear direction for your boutique that will aid in how you select merchandise and how you market yourself later on. Make sure you know what kind of boutique you want to be before you begin building your business.


Determine Your Budget

It is absolutely vital that you determine a budget and stick to it.

Formulate a comprehensive business plan that accounts for every possible expense. These can include website hosting fees, employee salaries, and - of course - product costs, though these are by no means the only expenses you can expect to encounter as an online boutique.

Reconcile what you plan to spend with what you can spend. Don’t take a gamble you can’t afford to lose by overspending right out of the gate. That’s the best way to guarantee your boutique fails before it ever gets off the ground.


Find an Ecommerce Platform

Now it’s time to build your online store. There are many major players in the ecommerce website space, all with their own prices, pros, and cons. It’s a good idea to do a little research and determine which platform is going to best suit the needs of your business. After all, you don’t want to realize halfway through building your website that it lacks a crucial feature, or that the feature is only included in a plan that falls outside of your budget.


Find a Supplier

You have your brand identity, budget, and platform ready to go. Now it’s time to actually purchase the products you’re going to sell, and that means finding a good wholesale supplier.

There are a few questions you should be asking during this process. For example, what sizes does the supplier carry? If you’re planning on selling plus size clothing, you need to be sure that the supplier carries those sizes.

For more information on how to vet suppliers, read our Wholesale Clothing Boutique Supplier Information page.


Develop a Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy is something you should have planned well in advance. It won’t do to launch an online store that no one knows about, after all. Marketing efforts for your online store will probably include a mix of channels and methods.

Organic marketing is an effective way to establish yourself without spending a cent. A fashion blog, for example, is a form of marketing in that it will boost your SEO rankings and establish you as an authority on clothing information and trends. Testimonials that you post on your site can also serve to promote your business. And of course, never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Share information about your boutique with friends and family, and encourage them to spread the word too!

Paid advertising is also a great marketing method. Consider running paid search ads, or creating image and video creative that you can use in display and video campaigns. Shopping ads are also popular for boutiques because they put your products at the top of relevant search pages. There are plenty of paid advertising options to choose from, so go with what works for your business.

Social media is another option that includes both free and paid marketing methods. Websites like Instagram and Twitter are the perfect places to market your store and share new releases, deals, discounts, and product photos. You can also recruit influencers to promote your store or provide honest reviews in exchange for some of your clothing. (Just remember, before you launch, make sure to snag social media handles for your boutique on all the major platforms. Even if you don’t start posting right away, it’s a good idea to claim a username that is consistent across platforms before it gets taken by someone else.) 

Finally, set up automated email marketing. You can set up emails that automatically send when customers sign up for your newsletter or abandon their cart. This is a great way to establish brand loyalty or remind website visitors about the items they’ve viewed or interacted with but haven’t purchased.


Launch Your Website 

It’s finally time to launch your online boutique! Here are the final things to prepare before going live.

  • Queue up some social media posts announcing the launch of your site. Make sure any important information is easy to find, and that a link to the website is present and easy to spot on your profile.
  • Ensure your automated emails are correct, functional, and ready to go before launch.
  •  Make sure any tracking pixels are set up correctly. Compare data across platforms (such as Google Ads and Google Analytics) to ensure there aren’t any inconsistencies.
  • Test all of your links to ensure they’re working. Make sure product photos are loading properly.

Once you’re sure that everything is working properly, you’re ready to go live!



Wholesale Fashion Trends is an LA-based apparel distribution company. Do you have questions about our business or how we can best serve your boutique? Reach out to us today, and sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date on industry trends.