You finally have done it, stepped out on faith, and made you dreams a reality; you opened a plus size store. Whether online or at a physical location, opening a plus size store is the easy part! STAYING open and making a profit can be quite the challenge!
Since I have been blogging at The Curvy Fashionista, have once opened my own Plus Size store online, sit on an MBA in Marketing- in which I dedicated to plus size fashion, and have been amassing resources for plus size fashion, I have been asked quite a few times about resources, marketing, and ways for these plus size retailers to provide plus size women with the best plus size fashion options while running a successful business.
To help you along, I have decided to share some tips you to help you along your way, because the more retailers and boutiques we have, the better for all of us in the plus size fashion community!
Have a plan…
You’ve got an idea, may or may not have bought your merchandise, but have you got a plan? A business plan AND your marketing plan? These are two separate plans, yes. Opening up a boutique is NOT as simple as the “If you Build it, they will come” mentality. There are so many intricate details that preparing a thorough business plan will identify and reveal to you! A business plan will also highlight your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities! I suggest Business Plan and Marketing Plan Pro!
Do not skimp here on the business plan. Without direction, you will fail fast! I CANNOT stress this ENOUGH!
Know Your Audience
In the marketing world, it has often been said “You Cannot be everything to ALL People,” however, when people come to me and ask for help, you’d be surprised how many times I have heard, “I am selling plus size clothes for all plus size women!” WRONG Answer.
Within the “niche” of plus size fashion, there are subsets within this industry. There is the luxury plus size, Contemporary plus size, Fast Fashion, and Discount plus size fashion. For each subset within the niche, there are certain demographics, psychographics, and expectations for each subset! Which leads me to…
Research, Research, Research
While you have probably heard this before, I cannot stress this enough. It is imperative that you research the who, what, when, where and the why of your store! As the plus size fashion industry is still in its growth and more plus size boutiques and designers are emerging, you have to be able to identify your audience, tell your unique story, and be able to answer what will differentiate your boutique from the others!
There are mounds of resources for you to use- both free and paid for! Blogs, Magazines, and online communities give you your start. Retail trade publications like WWD, IBIS, and a variety of other market analysis will deliver in depth analysis of the plus size fashion industry! Utilize all of your tools to thoroughly know your potential client inside and out!
Whether a sole proprietorship or LLC, trademarked or copy written, registered in Delaware (look that up) or in Nevada, selling through PayPal or using an online payment gateway such as Authorize.net, you MUST learn your legal responsibilities and duties!
Also, when you name your boutique, do your research. Double check that your company is not infringing on another brands name! Just because you haven’t heard of it, does NOT mean it does not exist- ESPECIALLY in plus size fashion! Ignorance is not a legal defense should you violate any of these!
Let’s face it, the main reason why you opened up your boutique is so that you can make a living off of your business! BUT, without the means AND the HOW, you will not be able to sustain your store! It is imperative that you create an OTB (Open to Buy) plan- so that you can allocate your financial resources throughout the year and keep newness in your store! Also, one thing new companies often have a problem with is remembering to allocate funds to their marketing and advertising!
Yes, you need to budget for advertising AND this includes BLOGS, Facebook, and Magazines! Not only magazines and social media outlets, you should also budget for events that you can sponsor and help promote!
This is ONLY the beginning of where you should begin! Make sure you stay tuned as I will be delivering more and more tips about the plus size industry, blogging, and more!
Emma Sneddon says
Great Content! I think if you want to start your own business selling plus size clothing for curvy women, you must first understand your audience, and how they shop. Thanks for sharing such a great piece of writing.
Melissa French says
I’m so grateful and appreciative for your site, I love it!!! Great article and content! Thanks for sharing this informative post.
For more trendy clothing and affordable clothes, get it only at your favorite plus size boutique store, Buy Curvy! We have a great staff on hand to be more than happy to help you!
Tarena Gadsden says
Awesome advice! This was so helpful! I too am new to this process, but not new to the plus size life, as I’ve been plus size all of my life. I’ve always wanted to start my own plus size boutique, but never knew where to start. I’ve been doing a lot of research lately and would love to hear some more of your tips, including where to find quality plus size clothing to sell and if there are any “markets” around where plus size designers and vendors sell their clothes?
Tawandra Gilliam says
Hey…How are you I was interested in some ideals and advance about opening a plus size boutique. Could you please provide me with more helpful information… Thnak you so much
Amy Tang says
Great article and very well explained. I believe in professionals so this is a very useful article for everyone. Many thanks for your share.
Camille J. Brown - Paisley Grace Boutique says
All great advice! You are so right to stress both a strong business plan and marketing plan/niche. And with more plus size boutiques opening, the need for such a strategy will only become more paramount as competition increases. Thanks for posting!
AWESOME READ! IT REALLY HELP ME OUT A LOT ON SOMETHINGS I CONFUSED ABOUT!
1. WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO START IN THIS WHOLE PROCESS?
i am very new to this but been on my heart to do and finally stepping out on faith to do it
Celenor Gomez says
This was an awesome and helpful article.Thank you very much to everyone who contributed their advice and knowladge.
Shejal Jain says
Hi, I am a student completed my graduation & pursuing further studies. I want to start selling clothes of plus size people. Since I am not so financially strong I am very much confused that from where i should start. I cannot afford to open a shop i can sell it from my residence and even online. Please guide me what should i do?
letlhogonolo Makwinja says
Thanks for this read. I just started surfing for ideas on plus size ladies and your read gave me the edge to start a clothing shop for plus size ladies. My mother, aunties and most of my lady friends a big boned and for me they always look so standard from woolworths clothes. I want to start something that will afford them the sex appeal taste you find in the normal size ladies shops.
Thank you so much for this article, great information! I read it before I opened my online boutique and several times afterwards!
I’ve been wanting to open up an online boutique for years. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I need to know how to get it started, how much it takes to get started, and how to contact suppliers.
Thanks Marie, The information was good. I am opening a plus size boutique in January and have been researching the web and talking to persons researching and stuff! So you know I really am going to use this info!
I am going to add one more, Be Patient. Just because someone opens an online boutique does not mean that shoppers will instantly flock there the first month and they will have an income to support themselves. Just like any walk in business traffic flow takes time — up to a year or more for real steady traffic. Don’t quit after 3 months.
One of my peeves is being approached by new online stores asking to be linked to etc when they have not been around for even a month. To me that is not reliable. They need to build a foundation on their own first and just because they are plus size doesn’t mean I am going to link to them or write about them. I have having to remove links a few months later. I invest my links in those with staying power — who wants to buy from someone who is not going to be around a few months later?
Love the look of the personal space Marie. See at CCC and Twitter!
Ladyqqt (Q. Holmes) says
This article was very informative, thank you for SHARING your knowledge Ms. Denee.