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    9 Replies Latest reply on Aug 4, 2008 11:22 PM by jknodell

    starting new retail boutique

    cag9507 Newbie
      I am doing the research, taking classes, etc... on opening a specialized gift boutique. From what I have read & been told it will be very difficult to get a business loan for this start up, I do have excellent credit & a college degree but not much to actually put down. My other question is regarding buying inventory, the trade shows require business documentation & picture of your store front, but without inventory how does one actually open a store to get a picture of? Having trouble with the senquence of steps to take. Have also been told to have store on website only but still running into this store front issue. Appreciate any help or avenues to investigate.
        • Re: starting new retail boutique
          amspcs Ranger
          Yes, things aren't always easy for startups, but there are ways. Before getting into my present line, I was in the retail business myself, albeit this goes back several years. If your credit is excellent as you say, you should be able to make suitable arrangements with suppliers explaining that you are a start-up, which is a perfectly reasonable and common explanation. Of course, you would need to show them that you are a capable person who has done your homework, has some idea how to run a retail business, and has a decent probability of being successful, selling your/their products, and becoming a paying wholesale customer. Look at it this way: Wholesalers don't like turning away business any more than retailers do, so they have an incentive to find a way to make you a customer before one of their competing lines does.

          If you live near a good college or university or an SBA (Small Business Administration ) office, you should be able to find affordable (or free) professional assistance in getting your business off the ground. SCORE may be another good source for you. Nobody claims it's easy these days, but be persistent and above all, don't skimp on the preparation and homework. You'll be fine. Good luck.

          Once you open your doors, you'll be needing merchant services. That's our line. During the course of shopping around, please don't forget us. We have some nice products designed for startups from such major acquirers as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, HSBC bank, and others. Have a look at our website and email me with any questions you may have even if you go elsewhere for your processing. We B of A forum folks stick together.

          Again, good luck to you. By the way, where are you located?

          AMSPCS (Barry )

          • Re: starting new retail boutique
            cag9507 Newbie
            thank you, I will definitelty keep your name. I am located in Howard County, MD. Do you have any insight on the catch 22 of having a store before being allowed to attend trade shows to buy products?
              • Re: starting new retail boutique
                amspcs Ranger
                I can't speak for Maryland specifically, and I certainly am not a lawyer and therefore don't pretend to give legal or tax advise. , but I think I can offer some valid insights nevertheless..

                Being defined as a 'business' and therefore eligible to attend business shows and do anything else businesses are entitled to do certainly goes way beyond having a physical location. I assume you have already consulted with an accountant and/or business attorney about formation of your business entity... if not this is a process you should begin now. As such, decide whether to form yourself as an LLC, S Corp, C corp or whatever (you probably don't want to start life as a sole prop, but that is an issue to discuss with the professionals mentioned above), you should start the ball rolling towards the formal declaration of your business type. From there, you'll be able to generate your business paperwork, articles of incorporation, fictitious name paperwork, corporate registrations etc or whatever. From there you'll apply for your EIN (federal tax ID) number and get appropriate paperwork for that. . With the paperwork from all the above in hand, you'll be able to open your business checking account, your merchant account, and so on. Having done all the above and with the appropriate paperwork in hand, you are legally and legitimately a 'business' in anybody's eyes and entitled to do everything businesses 'do', including trade shows.

                To take it one step further,before and while preparing your physical store presence, maybe you could open a simple ecommerce web store. By this means, you'd make contact with and begin to form relationships with certain suppliers. You don't necessarily have to buy and stock merchandise, but you COULD open accounts with these suppliers and order on an as-needed basis as you hopefully sell an item or two on your site, aka drop ship. By this means, you'll begin to establish business credit, they'll get to know you, and so on, which will make for an easier and more natural progression when you get to the point where you need to order quantitites for stocking in your phyiscal location. Maybe you shouldn't even be in a rush to open your retail location...after all, times aren't the best...and should consider starting out as a virtual merchant and then going physical with a little experience, product and supplier knowledge and relationships under your belt....just a thought.

                If you haven't already. Maybe you should give some thought to this one-step-at-a-time approach. Let me know what you think. If any of these ideas appeal to you, let me know and maybe I can provide some references on where to look in order to implement some of the ideas.

                AMS (Barry G)
              • Re: starting new retail boutique
                LUCKIEST Guide
                Starting new retail boutique, Welcome and good luck

                How soon do you plan on opening your boutique?? Do you have a Business Name??

                Barry from AMSPCS has a great idea about SBA and SCORE. SCORE is FREE and can help
                both in person or online. I am a SCORE Counselor.
                SCORE can help you develop both a Business and Marketing Plan (FREE)

                "If you live near a good college or university or an SBA (Small Business Administration ) office,
                you should be able to find affordable (or free) professional assistance in getting your business
                off the ground. SCORE may be another good source for you."

                • Re: starting new retail boutique
                  A_Ellicott Adventurer
                  I don't know if this would work for you or not but one thought I had on the physical store issue would be to open up a space in a craft mall. Around here he have these large, former warehouses that rent out spaces to varoius antique/craft businesses. They have a front counter that handles the purchases, you just stock your space. This may not be appropiate for your type of specialized gifts, but it might help and is a way to start slow as was suggested as well.
                  • Re: starting new retail boutique
                    puzzleman Tracker
                    Welcome to the Retail business.
                    I attend the Atlanta gift show. My first time as a visitor to check it out all. I needed to prove my existence was a business card and a paystub form my company. I am sure that you already have (or can get) business cards and as far as the paystub, write yourself a paycheck from your business account and make up a stub for it. That's what I did.

                    Now for the shameless self promotion: I make personalized wooden items for children and adults and drop ship for gift stores. Check out my retail website at Contact me at 800 383 0247 or for wholesale information.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: starting new retail boutique
                      jknodell Wayfarer
                      While I am not familiar with all of the necessary steps to open a boutique (though I have dreams of opening various boutiques, restaurants, cafe's in my future...) I am an experienced retail designer and when it comes time to developing what the store looks like, developing a logo, name, brand, etc. I can help bring it to life. My services have been used in preparation to apply for loans and funding since showing a concise plan for the space is as essential as a good business plan for convincing a lending company to help you out.

                      take a look at my online portfolio and contact me for more details.

                      Good luck!