You’ve finally decided to do it. Even though it’s a little intimidating, even though you’ve got that little voice of fear in your head telling you not to go for it, even though some of your “friends” might think you’re a little bit nuts – you’ve decided to start your online boutique. And let us be the first to say… you go, girl! Starting out on your own isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it. From the freedom to the feeling of sheer possibility, owning an online boutique can be incredibly rewarding.
Of course, there are plenty of things you’ve got to consider before jumping high-heels first into business. Like… what will you sell? How will you sell it? And, oh yeah… how much is all this going to cost?! Sure, ideally it won’t take you too long to you’ll pay off your startup costs in sales – but until the business is running smoothly, you’re gonna have to come up with another way to find that cash.
Fortunately, we live in a time when starting an online boutique is easier and more affordable than ever. While how much it costs to start an online boutique varies from business to business, we’ll cover a range of costs for most aspects of starting an online boutique.
Registering Your Business: $40 – $400+
Make sure you’re licensed to sell retail and operate as a business. These costs will vary depending on requirements in your state and what type of business you choose to register as.
Your Online Storefront: $0 – $40/month
Good news – if you’ve decided to start selling wholesale boutique items online instead of in person, you’ll already save a fortune simply by not having to worry about rent. Still, you’ll want to consider the costs of maintaining your online store. If you choose to sell your items via Instagram or Facebook Live at first, you may not have to spend any money at all.
Inventory: $150 – $3000+
Next, you’ll have to consider the cost of the items you’re selling. Depending on your wholesale supplier, the type of items you choose to sell, and how much you choose to order, this can have a huge range of costs. Experts recommend investing at least $1,000 for your initial inventory, but you can easily go higher or lower. Some wholesale suppliers have a minimum order requirement, but not all do. (Remember to also consider the cost of storing your items if you’re ordering a massive order.)
If you’re short on cash, you could also try drop-shipping to reduce your startup costs – however, carrying inventory can allow you to make a significant amount of money much faster.
Marketing: $0 – $3000+
Don’t underestimate the power of marketing. No matter how high-quality your online store and products are, if your ideal customers don’t know about it, you’ll never make a dime. You could easily spend thousands of dollars on marketing – and if you play your cards right, it’ll totally pay off. But if you’re on a lean budget, invest your time and energy instead. Spread word of mouth, work on your brand’s social media, work on building your email list, etc.
From low-cost wholesale suppliers to inexpensive done-for-you online store platforms, it doesn’t have to cost a lot to start an online boutique. Even if you’re on a super tight budget, you can get started now with just an initial investment of a couple of hundred bucks.