COVID-19 has pretty much turned the entire world upside down and inside out.
Many are now feeling less and less certain of where their next paycheck will come from. Plenty of brick and mortar businesses have shut their doors, some of them for good. And as for the rest of us… well, let’s just say we’re definitely not going to the mall as much as we used to.
Still, even with all of the uncertainty clouding us, now can actually be an excellent time to start your own boutique. Sure, starting your own business is always risky, but there’s something SO empowering about knowing you’re in control of your own destiny. (And think about it – you’re not gonna unexpectedly get fired or furloughed when you’re self-employed!)
It’s absolutely possible to start a successful boutique during COVID-19. But there are a few things you’ll need to consider before jumping head-first.
Here’s what you need to know before starting your own boutique during COVID-19:
Online Definitely Beats Offline
Way fewer people are shopping at brick & mortar stores, and WAAAY more are shopping online. Retail has been trending that way for a while now, but the pandemic pretty much clinched it. If you’re looking to start a boutique during COVID-19, starting with online channels is the safest bet. (If it’s always been your dream to own your own brick-and-mortar boutique, don’t worry – you can always open a physical location once your online boutique takes off!)
But your e-commerce store isn’t all you should start thinking about. The content you put out and your online presence is important, too. A recent study by Hootsuite found that since the pandemic started, COVID-19 has seen a 50% increase in messaging, Instagram usage is up 40%, and Twitter’s daily active users have spiked 23%. People are spending more time online than ever – create quality content that offers value to them and makes them pay attention! For more ideas of how you can market your boutique online and grow your audience, click here.
People are Interested in Buying Different Things
The good news is consumers are still interested in shopping… but consumer spending has changed a lot. On average, people are spending more on household goods, health/wellness items, and pet products.
Clothing buying habits have totally shifted as well. Experts expect consumers to continue to trend toward buying more athleticwear, loungewear, and casual clothing, and fewer dress-up, occasion-wear, and business clothes. (Think about it – people just aren’t wearing fancy or uncomfortable clothes while they WFH!) Some retailers have even noticed a shift in the pieces consumers are purchasing. Toward the beginning of the pandemic, Walmart reported that shirt sales were booming, likely because videoconferencing shoppers care more about their appearance from the waist up!
Be Prepared to Adapt
With any startup, it’s important to expect the unexpected. But during COVID-19, that’s especially true. From shipping in inventory to shipping out orders, many deliveries have been delayed or even canceled due to the pandemic. (That’s why it’s so important to find a reliable supplier!) And if you’re planning on starting your boutique with a team, you’ll want to have a backup plan just in case you or one of your partners gets sick.
Whatever you do, make sure you manage your own expectations as well as your customers’ expectations. Be open and transparent about any delays or struggles your boutique might be facing – we all get it!
You Don’t Need to Quit Your Day Job
If you’re still employed, it’s best that you stay that way, especially at the beginning. Treating your boutique as more of a side hustle will put less pressure on your brand new boutique business. That way, you can let it grow organically rather than desperately trying to replace your full-time income right away.
If you’re not currently employed, don’t worry – it’s possible to start a boutique with very little money. If you choose to partner with Supplied, you’ll enjoy up to 75% off of wholesale prices, free shipping, and no minimum orders on our large inventory of wholesale boutique items.
It’s a Great Time
While consumer purchasing power overall is on a decline, there’s good news: many customers are spending just as much or more than they did pre-pandemic. One recent study found that 40% of consumers say they have increased or significantly increased their online purchasing. For households with children and millennial households, that number shoots up to 48%. And with many larger retail businesses struggling to stay relevant and transition to e-commerce, it’s the perfect time to show up and take up space.
While plenty of things are somewhat uncertain or unknown during these times, you should always be able to rely on your wholesale supplier to provide you high-quality wholesale boutique items whenever you need them. Supplied offers free shipping (yes, even during COVID-19!) and fabulous local customer service (just in case anything doesn’t go according to plan!). We have total faith in you – you’ve got this!
Start getting up to 75% off of wholesale prices, free shipping, and no minimum orders by becoming a Supplied premium member. (It’s totally free!)