How to start a small business boutique to trade & sell brand name clothing

Written by rose smith
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How to start a small business boutique to trade & sell brand name clothing
Start your trade and sell boutique in a consignment shop. (mannequin image by Kirill Zdorov from

A small, fashionable boutique to trade and sell brand name clothing offers fashionistas a potentially profitable entry into the high-fashion business. Start with little cash upfront, and smartly design your boutique with the potential of making a lucrative income. Selling brand name clothing in a chic boutique, regardless of educational background and past experiences, allows you to provide a way to build a steady income flow from loyal clientele.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Contact your county clerk's office and state tax department to apply for the appropriate licensing and permits to trade and sell clothes. Most jurisdictions require a business license--typically available through a local county clerk's office. Acquire a reseller's license. A reseller's or wholesaler's license prevents you from paying retail tax on clothing you trade or purchase to sell to potential customers, according to Rick Siegel, author of Retail Business Kit For Dummies.

    Most states charge sales tax on goods and services. Each state has different guidelines on charging sales tax on trading or selling items. Your local jurisdiction will provide specific retail tax information.. A reseller or wholesaler doesn't pay tax on goods or services she buys to resell. However, she must collect required retail taxes from each customer on goods sold and must turn those taxes over to the local tax department.

  2. 2

    Find a location online or a building for your business. It is not necessary to lease an expensive space. Start your trade and sell clothing business in a consignment store. Sell the supplier's products for a percentage. Build your clientele before investing in an expensive space. Use one room in your house as a small boutique if your local law allows it, or host at-home parties. A small corner in a large store or a tiny space in a neighbourhood shopping mall are other possible locations to open your business without spending a lot of money. Grow your clientele before renting space in an expensive area of town, suggests Carol L. Schroeder, author of Specialty Shop Retailing.

  3. 3

    Select your suppliers by deciding which type of brand name clothing you want to carry. Look for wholesalers or manufacturers in your local yellow pages or search for them online. Determine the quality level of service and type of clothing to carry. Detail in writing, the type and condition of clothes you'll accept.

  4. 4

    Spread the word. Market your boutique by creating an online site that allows customers to buy from you at their convenience. Post your boutique on social sites and distribute online coupons. Run ads in newspapers and create chic brochures and marketing materials to hand out to potential customers. Wear your clothes or design T-shirts that advertise to potential customers whenever you're in public.

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