The Costs of Starting an Online Boutique

"How much money do I need to start an online boutique?"

That is the #1 question I receive from aspiring entrepreneurs. Of course, that question comes up so often because how can you start if you don't know how much you need first? 

There is no magic number or straight-forward answer, and that is because each individual asking this question has different ideas for their business and each different business will have different start-up numbers. Some want to open bridal boutiques, some want casual/affordable boutiques, some just want accessory boutiques, etc. Of course inventory for a  bridal boutique is going to cost much more than a casual street wear boutique. 

But for the sake of this blog, let's do our best to answer this aching question.

Let's say you're looking to open a standard women's online retail boutique (one with apparel, shoes, accessories, etc.) 

how much are the start up costs to opening an online boutique

Start Up Costs:

The first financial burden of any business are the start up costs. For an online retail boutique specifically, here are the start-up costs you can except:

Business Registration in your state: approximately $150-$300 depending on your state requirements. $500 or more if you plan to hire help from an expert or a site like Legal Zoom. 

Business/Tax requirements in your county: approximately $20-$100 depending on your county. 

Shopify/Site Hosting: Free one month trial, on average $30/month after that.

Business Branding: Free if you do it yourself, $100-$1,000 for a professional.

Total Start-Up Costs: Let's say... an estimate of $500. 

how much inventory to start an online boutique

Inventory/Cost of Goods:

This is where it gets tricky. Your cost for start-up inventory is going to vary widely on what quality brands you plan to carry, as well as how large you want to start your business. For this, we'll say you want to open a standard mid-price range boutique with approximately 45 styles. Let's do some math:

45 styles multiplied by pre-packs of 6 = 270/pieces 

(when you purchase wholesale you purchase in "pre-packs". Normally a pack of 6 (2 smalls 2 mediums 2 larges). So for each style, you will have 6 pieces.)

Those 270 pieces multiplied by the average wholesale cost (lets say $20 each) = $5,400. 

$5,500 plus estimated shipping costs... let's say $300 to ship all 270 items. = $5,800

Total Starting Inventory Costs: $5,800


This is another tricky one to estimate, because if you do it properly and organically marketing your new business can be free. My #1 suggestion is to start marketing your new site on every platform you can think of (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) AT LEAST one month prior to your launch. 

Hype it up like it's the best thing to ever come to this earth (because it will be, sis). Because if you show how exciting your new business is, everyone else will see it too. 

Total Costs All Together: 

I personally would suggest having around $5,000 to invest in your business to start, and reinvest your profits to increase your inventory and up your marketing game over time. 

However, huge boutique business's have grown from a lot less than $5,000. Some have started with 10 items in their closet and grown to multi-million dollar companies just from reinvestment. 

If I could give you a single piece of advice it would be to just start. If you want it that bad, take what you have available to you now and just START.

Be sure to check out THE #1 best selling Step-By-Step Guide Guide to Opening Your Boutique to get started with all fo the tools you'll need.