Boutique Owner Responsibilities
Do you have what it takes to own a successful, profitable boutique? We have total faith that you do… but if you’re going to take on all of the many inevitable boutique owner responsibilities, you’ve got to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into from the beginning.
Maybe owning a boutique has always been your dream. Or maybe you’re dissatisfied with your boring office job you’re working at right now and you’re ready for a big change.
Whatever your current situation, owning your own boutique can be an exciting, fulfilling adventure. But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Running a boutique requires hard work, skill, talent, grit, and a whole lot of hope.
But if you’re truly committed, you can see it through and create something incredible.
When you’re first starting your online boutique, you’ll probably take on a LOT of different roles, from customer service specialist to marketing director to head buyer. As your boutique expands, you’ll probably end up hiring out more of those positions… but until then, it’ll be a one-woman show.
Your day-to-day responsibilities will depend on a lot of different things, including whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar or a virtual boutique, the type of items you’re selling, and your overall business model.
Here are some typical boutique owner responsibilities you may have to take on as a boutique owner who’s just starting out:
Manage retail operations
You’ll be in charge of all things buying and selling. That means you’ll assist customers as they shop, answer questions about items, and complete sales. If you have an in-person boutique, you’ll help customers try things on, open the shop, count money in the register, and make sure all sales are accounted for.
If yours is an online boutique, you’ll monitor online orders, fulfill them, and respond to customer inquiries.
It’ll be your job to make sure your shop is always adequately stocked. You’ll be in charge of managing inventory levels, placing new product orders, and deciding how much stock to keep on hand. You’ll also have the responsibility of sourcing new on-trend items from reliable suppliers. (That’s the fun part!) You’ll want to stay on top of the latest trends and seek out high-quality pieces with great margins for you.
You’ll be tasked with displaying your items in an attractive, gotta-buy-this-now kinda way. If you run an in-person boutique, that means creating aesthetically pleasing physical displays that make pedestrians want to come inside and see more. It also means dressing mannequins, choosing how to highlight new arrivals, and putting different items together in stylish ways.
If you run an online boutique, that means taking great photos of them, writing product descriptions that explain many of the features customers might miss out on by not being able to see the item in person, and styling different pieces for social media.
Pricing your items might not sound like that big of a deal, but it’s directly tied to your bottom line. Set prices that are too high and you run the risk of turning price-sensitive customers off or losing business to your competition. Set prices that are too low and you risk cheapening your products or even losing money. As a boutique owner, you’ll be responsible for figuring out that balance, taking MSRPs and keystone pricing into account. You’ll also have to decide when to run a sale, when to discount certain items, and when to pull certain items.
As a boutique owner, you’ll also be in charge of responding to customer service inquiries and complaints. You’ll handle returns and exchanges. You’ll answer questions about items, orders, and policies. You’ll also have the sometimes unpleasant job of dealing with unhappy customers and resolving conflicts that arise. (As long as you’re humble, kind, and eager to do what it takes to make it right, you’ll handle those like a pro!)
Stocking your store and interacting with customers is only part of the game. To make your boutique profitable and successful, you’ll also need a solid strategy for bringing new customers into your shop or onto your website. Running paid online ads, using social media, and email marketing can all help you get the word out about your business and find new customers. For more marketing tips, click here.
If the thought of running ads or trying to sell your products on social media makes you wide-eyed, consider hiring a specialist to do this sort of thing. That’s what freelancers are for – and it’s easy to find a freelancer that’s within your budget.
As your business grows, you’ll probably start needing extra help pretty fast. You’ll be in charge of finding the right people to delegate important parts of your business operations to. These might be full-time employees at your store, a part-time customer service assistant, a social media manager, or a graphic designer. Depending on the volume of your needs, you can either take on an employee or hire a freelancer.
Boutique owners are also in charge of managing the financial obligations of their business. This can involve a lot of tasks you may have never thought of, from calculating and paying sales tax, keeping track of income and expenses, bookkeeping, managing payroll, and staying on top of rent payments. You’ll also have to identify profit drivers and schedule sales or promotions to ensure profitability year-round.
Nervous about having to take on all of these responsibilities? Don’t worry. While experience performing these duties will certainly help you as you start your own business, you’ll learn most of this as you go. Experience is truly the best teacher, and the only way to become the kind of person who’s an amazing boutique owner is to start acting like one. If you’re genuinely committed to starting your own boutique, you’ll figure things out with the right resources and a whole lot of patience.