Bridal boutique business owners sell a variety of products, including bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, accessories and shoes. But to launch this type of business, it’s important to have a plan. You’ll need to secure a retail space that is large enough to house your business, order inventory and secure the required licenses to operate a business in your city. Plus, you’ll need to put together a marketing plan that will grow your business quickly. Here’s a guide to starting a bridal boutique business.
Negotiate a lease for your bridal boutique. Contact a leasing agent to show you potential space. Look for a property that is about 1,500 to 1,700 square feet. This will provide enough room to display dresses and accessories and to build dressing rooms. Plan to invest money in renovations to build your displays and dressing-room area (if the space wasn’t previously a bridal boutique or retail business).
Purchase inventory for your business. You will need to purchase a sample for each item you plan on carrying, including dresses, shoes, bridesmaid gowns, headpieces and jewelry. Wedding dresses costs between $200 and $600 (on average) at wholesale prices. Contact each designer you plan on doing business with to set up an account.
Determine your pricing strategy. Once you’ve selected the dresses you want to sell, determine what type of pricing strategy you’ll use. For example, you can make a small profit on each item but sell a high volume, or you can make a larger profit and sell a smaller quantity.
Apply for your business license. Once you’ve secured your space, visit your city hall department to apply for a business license. This will cost about $50 and takes a few weeks to process.
Create a marketing plan for your bridal boutique business. Attend local bridal fairs to generate new business and build relationships with local wedding coordinators. In addition, make sure to have a grand opening event, offering promotional pricing on all wedding items.
Understand start-up expenses for a bridal boutique. Starting a bridal business can be expensive. Expect to spend about $30,000 on inventory and about $1,000 for office expenses. Plus, if you need to build displays and dressing-room areas, this can add costs of up to several thousand dollars. Check with the Small Business Association (see Resources) for loan options.
Don’t forget to create a business plan. If you haven’t created a business plan before, check out sample plans at Bplans (see Resources).