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how i started a boutique

How I Started My Own Boutique

I had the idea of starting my own baby boutique back in 2007 when I was pregnant with my oldest kiddo. At the time I was living in Minnesota, and as most pregnant women do, I hit the stores shopping for cute stuff for my little nugget. That’s when I came across my first baby boutique, and I instantly fell in love with the idea.

Only…mine would be better! Mine would have more than just baby stuff, mine would have maternity clothes that wasn’t ugly (you ladies hear what I’m talkin’ about), and it would be bright and cheerful and a place that expectant moms would feel super cool for shopping at.

My dream was born!(and consequently, a few months later, so was my daughter, Cora!)

how i started a boutique

Following the Dream

Fast-forward about two-and-a-half years, and we had moved to South Dakota and had had another baby (a boy this time, our son Maddox). I continued to work full-time in marketing, but secretly hated it and was constantly dreaming about my cute little baby boutique.

Insert the recession.

It was 2009, and Maddox was only 6 months old when WHAM, I lost my job. “We’re losing the client, so now we can’t afford to keep you on staff.” OUCH. That hurt. But honestly, it was a huge relief in many ways, and it was the push that I needed to realize that I’d never let my dream come to life if I wasn’t forced out of a comfortable paycheck.

So there I was. Jobless and full of dreams. I took a job selling insurance just to help pay the bills while I began pulling together the information I’d need to start my store. (But let me tell you, that was another great reminder of why I so badly wanted to follow MY OWN dreams! Ugh – if you have ever sold insurance, I applaud you!)

Doing My Homework

Having never run a boutique or any type of retail store in my life, I struggled to find relevant resources for the information I needed to get started.

So I did what most people would do, I headed out to Barnes & Noble and  I bought “How to open a retail store for Dummies,” and of course hit Google to scour the Internet looking for answers (of which there was very little good advice).

And guess what? IT WAS HARD.

I spun my wheels for over six months just trying to figure out how to write a marketing plan (remember, I was a full-time marketing pro prior to this, but it’s a different ball game when it’s your own money!) and I started asking questions like:

  • How much money do I need for inventory?
  • Where will I find suppliers?
  • Where should I set up my shop?
  • How much will rent cost?
  • How will I accept payments and keep track of inventory?
  • Will I need employees (and how the heck does that work?)?
  • How will customers find me?
  • What if I don’t make it in business?
  • What if no one likes my store?
  • How do I do bookkeeping?

There were so many questions! So much to understand before starting my own boutique. So much implied risk. But if I did it, so can you! (See my How To Start a Retail Boutique info here).

Opening My Boutique!

I opened Cutie Pie Belly & Baby Boutique in September 2010 in downtown Sioux Falls, SD and it was amazing! Probably one of the most thrilling days of my life. (yes, lots of little things went wrong, but it was my dream to open this boutique and it was a reality!) I’ll share those funny little mishaps in another post.

It took almost 9 months from the day I was laid off to bring my boutique store dream to life – a coincidence I find funny since, you know, that’s about how long it takes for an actual baby to come into the world!

Here’s my cute little shop in all it’s glory!

CUTIE-002baby boutique retail store displays

Do you have a dream?

If you’re reading this and feeling a little twinge in your heart saying “yes, that’s exactly what I want to do!”, then I’m here to say to you “You CAN do it!” Trust yourself and your heart if opening a boutique is in your dreams. Throughout this blog I plan to walk you through the steps it takes to make your dream boutique a reality and what you need to know ahead of time so you can be in it to win it.

How to start your boutique

Stick with me and we’ll cover all the bases on how to start your own retail shop. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Yes, it’s riskier than a steady job. But with the right work ethic, advice and planning, you can be successful!

Your Boutique Success Coach
~Jackie