I would really like to be in contact with you over the next few months. I am really interested and would like to be able to ask you questions here and there. IS that okay.?
What was the first thing you did?
How did you approach the designers?
Did you write a buisness plan?
That is no problem..I would love to help...
I did (do) have a business plan, it took sometime to write it up and really get the information accurate. To get started I first created a business name and registered for my tax id # this is very important most companys will ask for this or in other states like cali they want a resale # once I had this number I planned a small party at my house( my parents house in the dinning room!) I had about $3,000(wholesale) worth of product just to get my self started...when people arrived (family friends) I had them all fill out a small survey,what they like, how much they would be willing to spend, what location would be convience for an actual store..this really helped me I basically broke even but it got me to know a few designers and help build a small customer base. So that was the first thing I did...I basically contacted the designers with an e-mail stating I was a new business, my customers were trendy women in thier 20's that would love to have their product available to purchase at my store... they pretty much all e-mailed me back telling me thier minimums etc...
I have another question..How did you set up your accounting system? what was the most costly thing you had to pay for? is the first couple of months negative profit or neutral or profit making?
Actually the first year is pretty much negative..because the money you make you are putting back into the company to keep it running...I basically do most of my accounting maually I have quick books but I have yet to really get it working for me..I hired an accounting to do my end of the year books...The most costly thing is the merchandise you need to have enough and you are constantly buying to keep the store looking fresh and new...
Thank yo sooo much...
It was pretty costly for me I had to take out a loan over $50,000
I started with about 10 up and coming designers...luckily I live close to the city so I was able to go to alot of showrooms and trade shows to find good lines to selll
how much money all together though? including rent, inventory etc. must have been over 100,000?
belladawn - i love your boutique! i was thinking about starting an online boutique within the next year..soon as i get business license and account. i was wondering how did you go about get a wholesale lists? im planning on going to the up and coming seattle trend show in the next couple months... but what exactly do you do there? i've never been to one. what do you bring, do you buy the stuff there / have it delivered, what quantities, how much on average should one spend at each booth, is dropshipping available. any info would help.. thanks
Sorry, I must have overseen this topic in a while... there were some issues here regarding sales licenses for brands like YSL, Balenciaga etc. and then as well questions about the ability to actually sell less-known designer brands. I must admit that it really depends on the designers themselves, if the fit is rather forgiving not, if different types of people (and ages) can relate to the product or if the price policy is reasonable.
We have had constant success with Stephan Schneider since the prices were very reasonable, also because the clothes were interesting and wearable, and that even though there is absolutely zero press in our local fashion magazines. Generally speaking, I am working in an environment where most of my customers are unaware of the aesthetic of a lot of designers, they will probably know the big names á la Prada and Dolce & Gabbana but then it really decreases abruptly with some being known to the more established Belgians and Japanese and even less with emerging designers. So, yes this means that you have got certain limitations in your buying habits, you are probably not in the situation to take the really out-there items but probably something that is a little safer since the market is not as progressive as, say, in London or any other major fashion capital. I don´t know about Copenhagen´s fashion scene but can imagine that even there it is not so easy to sell brands like Undercover since their aesthetic is not really accessible for a wider audience, the same probably goes to even more "elitist" brands like Carpe Diem, Carol Christian Poell or whatever else comes from this pool of artisanal deconstruction.
As far as the major players (á la Chloé, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga etc.) are concerned, it is common habit that they are asking for VERY high minimum orders. I would not advise you take them all from the very beginning if you don´t have a well-funded customer base ready that are going to snatch up your merchandise. There might be waiting lists for highly-coveted must have handbags in major department stores as Selfridges, Barneys or Harvey Nichols, but that doesn´t necessarily mean that they will be as easily sold out in your store if you are likely to just build up your customer base slowly.
Generally, unless you are not fully aware of your customer´s needs and demands, don´t put too much budget into a single collection, you could still order from them in further seasons.
As far as retail prices are concerned, I would also play it a little safe from the start, most of the pieces that you find in the better-known magazines are often show items that cost a fortune, it´s a tough job selling such expensive, particular couture items as a hand-beaded 2500€ YSL tulip skirt or a full-on Chloe dress. It´s perfectly fine if you have just one item as some eyecandy for your window, and even then you will need to have a customer that is willing to pay as much as that on a single item.
Hi,belladawn, thanks for sharing the knowledge. How did you fund your store? As far as I know, for a normal store in Soho, it will cost half a mil for merchandise, $ 30,000 for rent, and god knows how much for staff. So if someone has not inherited some mils, how to get the money?
usually better lines ask for a press kit of your store...w/information like the size, the 'look' of your store, other lines you carry, volume of sales, as well as whether they have their own store or other stores near your vicinity selling their products.
it's a very difficult task to get really good stuff off the bat. you would most likely to focus on the smaller names that is about to hit it big. they are more willing to work with. also most places will be more willing to let a new vendor carry their accessories and shoes line but are more difficult to get the clothing.
best way i think is to start with whatever line you can get and go to the shows and get to know the sales staff esp since most of them move around the different company so if they love you, they will give you the products.
therefore, it may be easier to buy a store already up and running or work for a boutique for a bit until you get to meet the sales rep and such. i wouldnt suggest opening up a store from scratch when you dont know anyone in the industry (but that's my two cents)
Hi, Annabel Lee, as you said it is very difficult to do high-end stuff off the bat, I believe so but I'm also always wondering how Kirna Zabete(in Soho) did it? A store opened by two women, carrying Balenciaga and Chloe just from the beginning? Do you happen to have any idea?