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16-08-2008
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I say go for your idea. I'm sure some people will see the things and want to buy something!

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18-08-2008
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This is a great thread! We should have more like it.

@Menace: Sorry to be a wet blanket but I really think you should do more research before making your decision. I have some experience with boring towns in the Central Valley, so I'm assuming you're talking about Bakersfield or someplace like that... first I'd nail down what price range you're in and what labels you have in mind. Does your town even have hipsters? If so you could see if American Apparel would wholesale to you (no, really!) and maybe see about acquiring some vintage to sell along-side. But I'd say really find out if you have a potential customer base before diving in, cuz otherwise...

I'm not trying to discourage you I just would hate for you to go bankrupt!

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19-08-2008
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Thanks Anjo! I don't wanna go bankrupt either!
That's why I came here for some more advice...

You bring up a good point..
I've seen a few hipsters.. there are a bunch of skaters here though (which is a variation of the male hipsters I guess?)

There are like 3 high schools and 1 big college within a 3 mile (5km) radius and there is a movie theater opening in the same plaza as my future store... I'm gonna go scope out the mall again (out biggest mall which is like 6miles/10km away)

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19-08-2008
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Sounds like you need to go cheap and funky/trendy and fun ... but not too much trendy if you are not in a major metroplotan area of Cali. Not so sure about vintage ... that just doesn't seem to be the thing that the majority or teens/twenties are into in the suburban areas ... usually it's the hipsters in the big cities that like that ... you'd need hundreds of customers who were into that to keep the vintage going. If you did vintage, I'd just do a tiny section and see how everyone responded ... test the market. Cheap always makes sense with people this age because high school and collage kids don't have a lot of discretionary income .... unless it's Beverly Hills where Daddy provides an unlimited credit card.

There is a great tiny little shop on Westwood Blvd. (now we are talking in the heart of west Los Angeles, almost next door to UCLA) that always seems busy. It sells mostly vintage/used clothing, plus a few funky/trendy new things, accessories, and vintage t-shirts .... but what keeps it going is that everything in the store is $3.99. Everything. Most of it's junk ... but fun junk.

That mall will be your biggest competitor so you have to beat them at pricing and have something similar in style but different enough that you can set yourself apart ... to make it fun and interesting enought to make them take a side trip to your store.

You also need to have a way of marketing your store ... so that everyone at those schools know you are there ... and you need to promote the store constantly so you will make it longer than the usual 12 to 18 months.

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20-08-2008
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Ooh, is that how long new stores usually last, 12 to 18 months? Scary...

I'm also interested in opening a shop, but I'm going to finish college first and get some work experience.

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20-08-2008
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It is scary ... most fail ... only a few make it.

It would be a good idea to take some "entrepraneurial studies" courses if they have those in your local schools. I know of one young woman ... who I have worked for for several years ... who actually made it and is still in business after about 8 or 9 years. She majored in that in college ... and I thought that this was a brilliant move on her part. It's all about how to open your own small business and build it properly, without making all the normal mistakes.

Allmost all the other start up boutiques (online and brick and mortar) that I've worked for ... seem to be crashing and burning ... and her business keeps growing at a slow and steady pace.

She's doing something right. I do know that she uses techniques she learned in school. I see her test her market constantly and adjusting to meet what the clients buy the most. She is constantly controlling costs. Plus she has a strong, ongoing marketing program. And she hires good people who are as dedicated to the company's success as she is ... so she probably compensates them on an incentive basis ... my guess.

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Last edited by BetteT; 20-08-2008 at 03:35 PM.
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20-08-2008
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Hm, fortunately my university is known for promoting entrepreneurship, though mostly in the tech sector. I should get on that...

My plan is to try to work for a few years in buying/sales to see how it's done, then test the waters... hopefully the economy will be better by then. It's so frustrating though, I spend all day thinking about designers I want to stock. I wish I could do it now!!

Haha. Patience...
Tell me more about your work as a stylist, it sounds interesting!

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21-08-2008
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Menace, your situation sounds like mine. I started my shop online a few months ago and in my head, I'd like to go brick and mortar in a year and a half or so, but my town isnt fashionable at all. And in our mall most people dress urban or just plain. But there are high end boutiques here that work, but of course someone had to go on a limb and break the ice. So taking a bit of a risk might pay off if you're selling something different to your town.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BetteT View Post
It is scary ... most fail ... only a few make it.

It would be a good idea to take some "entrepraneurial studies" courses if they have those in your local schools. I know of one young woman ... who I have worked for for several years ... who actually made it and is still in business after about 8 or 9 years. She majored in that in college ... and I thought that this was a brilliant move on her part. It's all about how to open your own small business and build it properly, without making all the normal mistakes.

Allmost all the other start up boutiques (online and brick and mortar) that I've worked for ... seem to be crashing and burning ... and her business keeps growing at a slow and steady pace.

She's doing something right. I do know that she uses techniques she learned in school. I see her test her market constantly and adjusting to meet what the clients buy the most. She is constantly controlling costs. Plus she has a strong, ongoing marketing program. And she hires good people who are as dedicated to the company's success as she is ... so she probably compensates them on an incentive basis ... my guess.
Hey BetteT, can you elaborate on this a bit more? And what do you mean by controlling cost...I mean, does she bring in different brands? Because that's the only way I can think of to change the costs (unless you change how much you mark things up I guess).

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21-08-2008
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BetteT, anjo, kimberwyn thanks so much for responding... (& if anyone else has any more advice, please post!)

BetteT, I took your advice and I went to my nearest library and picked up an entrepreneurial book and it's quite a good read! Thanks for the advice..

kimberwyn, there aren't ANY high end boutiques in my city AT ALL



Just an fyi... the plaza that I plan on opening my store in is a new one (it's still under construction) and a few of the confirmed stores are: Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, a 12-screen movie theater, Cold Stone creamery, and a few restaurants.

I'm just wondering if that location is good... I'm thinking a lot of juniors, young adults, and adults would gather here..
(But my mom tells me that it's best for a small clothing store if there is a big clothing store in the same vicinity)

So many factors to take into consideration

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Last edited by Menace; 21-08-2008 at 07:52 AM.
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21-08-2008
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^See in my city none of the high end boutiques are in the mall. They're usually in shopping centers near areas where people with money live or they're located downtown. Maybe you would be better off locating your store in a high economic neighborhood, maybe next to a hip salon or something?

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21-08-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjo View Post
Tell me more about your work as a stylist, it sounds interesting!
Talking about being a stylist is off topic for this thread .... but if you'd like to learn more about that, there is a multi page thread about how to becom a fashion stylist ... and it's got all sorts of information in there from starting up, building a portfolio, sourcing wardrobe for shoots, finding clients, what steamer to buy ... just about everything. Ive commented in there probably dozens of times ... and there are other stylists there, too. And there is this Day in the Life of a Stylist thread, too.

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Last edited by BetteT; 21-08-2008 at 11:22 PM.
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21-08-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberwyn View Post
Hey BetteT, can you elaborate on this a bit more? And what do you mean by controlling cost...I mean, does she bring in different brands? Because that's the only way I can think of to change the costs (unless you change how much you mark things up I guess).
I can't go into detail ... and she's not a boutique, she actually designs and sells dresses, tops, jeans, etc. ... sells them on line and to retail boutiques. So what she would do to contain costs would be different. However here's some of the things she's mentioned:

Sourcing of materials, finder cheaper sources for fabric etc. ... so for you it would be finding cheaper sources for maybe the basics you sell.

Labor costs: For her, paying to have things made ... she's always looking for cheaper sources/facortories. For both of you, your hired help. For example, it's actually cheaper to hire 2 part time hourly employees instead of one full time for a couple of reasons. Overtime is paid at time and a half ... but that means more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. If you need extra hours (for inventory, special sales, etc.) you can work both the part timers extra hours and you don't have to pay OT. And if they work less than a certain number of hours a week, on a regular basis, you probably don't have to provide paid vacation or benefits which you might have to pay to any full timers ... depending on you local laws.

Advertising Costs ... just researching packages to get the most bang for your buck.

Leases: that can sometimes be negotated, before you sign a lease ... but it's difficult if you don't have strong financials ... they will often charge more, if you are financially weak.

Utilities: must conserve here, too.

Mark up is not a cost ... but that certainly will factor into your bottom line. You have to know your market, before you can decide what your price point will be.

That's all I can think of now.

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Last edited by BetteT; 21-08-2008 at 11:40 PM.
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22-08-2008
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^Thanks for that info!

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09-09-2008
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I really need you guys help. Iam starting a boutique online in a few months and I know exactly how I want it, I want it to be a high end site sort of like netaporter, I still have a ways to go, but no jeans to t-shirts, and certain designers, gucci, azzaro, balmain, yes Iam shooting for the stars but nothing is impossible, but my question is how do i really differentiate myself from netaporter other than the more grown-up type clothing? I already know that what Iam trying to do is a long shot, especially with the type of designers I want, but please if anyone can be of help, I really will appreciate it (no discouragement please)

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17-09-2008
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What about companies like H&M, Gap and Zara? They are retailers but they sell their own clothing. I know its probably a slightly different approach because its your clothing. So what can someone do with that? Do you have to major in Fashion Design, or must you know both designing and business at the same time?

If this question like this was asked already. I do apologize.

Thanks

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