How To Launch a Boutique with No (Or Little) Money


Tue Mar 23 2021

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If your dream is to launch a boutique but you lack the startup capital to go big, you still have plenty of options to get started.

If you want to establish an online boutique from home but don't have enough money, there are various solutions available. Many business owners fantasize about opening their own fashion store, complete with designer jeans, fresh tunics, and attractive jewelry hung from quirky jewelry stands. Where do you begin, though? What steps do you need to take to become a wholesaler? What are the associated initial expenses, and can they be avoided completely?

Starting a brick-and-mortar fashion business is just out of the question for the vast majority of people. However, thanks to the internet and modern technologies, you can now create your own online fashion business. You don't need any prior knowledge or a large sum of money to get started!

Let's break down how to start a clothing business on a shoestring budget with little startup capital.

How To Launch a Boutique with No Money or Little Money

If you plan to launch a boutique, keep in mind that it is not possible to launch a physical brick-and-mortar store with little to no capital. However, it is definitely possible to launch an online free fashion boutique with little to no funds initially.

How to Start a Boutique with No Money

Unfortunately, it isn’t really possible to launch any form of a business with zero dollars. The only way to launch a business with no initial capital is to acquire a loan. Some commonly used business loans for this purpose include SBA loans, business term loans, startup loans, business acquisition loans, a merchant cash advance, a business credit card, equipment financing, and accounts receivable financing. However, you can definitely start a boutique business with a small amount of capital to launch.

You’ll Need (At Least Some) Money to Open a Boutique

In terms of money, how much do you need to actually launch your online boutique? Let’s consider a business model that requires the absolute minimum in costs:

  • Website domain and hosting - $12 per year, or free with Storenvy’s basic plan

  • Whole clothing and jewelry to sell - $100 for minimum inventory

  • Packaging for flat rate shipping - Free, covered by putting shipping costs on the customer

  • Marketing - Free with social media marketing

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Clothing Store?

Let’s be realistic and consider the real upfront costs of opening an online clothing store.

To start, depending on where you are located, you may have to pay for licensing and insurance for your company. To find out what permissions and licensing are necessary in your region, contact your state department, city council, or county government agency. You'll also want sufficient worker's compensation and company insurance.

From there, you will have to pay for a domain name and website hosting. This can run anywhere from $100 to $500 yearly. Platforms like Shopify and Storenvy have free options available while hosting platforms like Squarespace and Wix offer tons of free templates to transform your online boutique. If you want a professional developer to customize your shop, that could require an investment of up to $5,000.

If you plan on selling clothing, you will need to consider inventory and shipping costs. You will need to pay for shipping boxes and postage. You will also need to purchase your items wholesale from a clothing wholesaler. Boutique start-ups need a significant investment in early supplies, materials, and equipment. On the plus side, unlike inventory purchases and wages, many of these costs are only incurred once. You'll need enough hangers, mannequins, window dressing materials, jewelry and accessory boxes, and item showcase structures to start your clothes business. You'll also require office and sales equipment such as computers, phones, office furniture, cash registers, and point-of-sale systems.

You’ll also need to consider marketing strategies for clothing boutique success. Marketing costs money, though you can do quite a bit without any money to start. You can set up social media accounts and start posting for free. However, actual ads will require costs. A minimum monthly marketing expenditure of $200-$600 is recommended. To get the maximum ROI (return on investment) out of every marketing dollar you spend, you'll need to be extremely clear on who your target consumer is.

In the end, launching a business online doesn’t have to be pricey. However, you should work to invest your initial earnings into your business to improve it long-term.

If you're thinking to launching an online clothing business, you have to check out our many items on the website! Keep surfing to find the best products for you.