Preparing to open an online children's boutique? Want to jump in with both feet?
Learn from my experiences over the last two years.
I, too, LOVE baby and children's clothing. I love buying it, designing it, sewing it . . . and jumped in with both feet. Unfortunately, I did not do a great deal of research before buying merchandise and opening my online store. PLEASE - before you start - before you fill out that Sales and Use Permit application, buy merchandise, etc. - research, research, research! You will soon find out that what you THOUGHT everyone was looking for was a figment of your imagination - trust me on this one.
Especially in a challenging economy, people's needs change. What was popular this time last year is old news. Talk to anyone you can find related to your field - reps, merchants (okay, so they won't ALL want to talk to you - after all you are the competition), wholesalers - get a good feel of what is actually selling - not what you think is cute. One of the hardest lessons I've learned is that not everyone likes what I like. Some people had bad taste and will ALWAYS have bad taste. Even though they think I'm the one with bad taste - LOL.
Check into dropshipping - it will save you from having to carry as much inventory - which will save you at tax time. Coming from Cindy, who had you-wouldn't-believe-how-much inventory at the end of the first year.
When buying wholesale, don't be afraid to buy only limited amounts. Just make sure you can reorder when and if you should run out of a style. You never know what is going to be the hot item in your store.
And, make sure you have a wide range of items. Don't just carry the high dollar items - carry lower dollar accessories and coordinates to fill out your store.
That's it for now. I will be back with more information! Hang in there! I still love owning an online boutique!