Deciding on a concept for a boutique takes a lot of work and imagination. Researching your competition and figuring out what will be profitable can take some time. Your findings will give you insight into how to price your merchandise, which items can be unique to your store, and even how to market your store in your front windows. Finding your own market niches is important and will help you to be successful.

People visit boutiques because of their unique and creative appeal. Use these tips to help you decide on a theme that can be developed within your budget.

Think about what word, phrase, or idea inspires you and build on it. Will your boutique’s theme exude simplicity, functionality, craftiness, designer apparel, unique accessories, vintage finds, or something else? There are endless possibilities when it comes to boutique themes. Boutiques can be any type of retail store that has a specialty. You can even focus on one type of item, like pet clothing, jewelry, or screen printing.

Once you have developed your concept, you can concentrate on the bones of the store. Supplies, decorations, garment racks, feature displays, software, and inventory control items can be chosen to fit around your theme. For displays, like tables, garment racks, shelving, slatwall and mannequins, find a good supplier that offers wholesale prices. You may have luck finding a supplier that is also a manufacturer of the garment rack, hangers, and other items that you’ve chosen. Shop around online, but also call other boutiques and retail stores to find out who they use and why. Working with your competition can help you to make a name for yourself in the community.

Sometimes you can get displays for free by contacting the companies whose products you are selling. Many companies offer racks, displays, signs, custom print hangers, and more to the stores that ask for them. You can also pick up some great tips by visiting trade shows and participating in retail conferences. Making contacts wherever possible is a valuable way to get started in the industry. You can learn a lot from other people’s struggles, failures, and successes.

If you’re nervous about asking your direct competition for advice, there’s nothing that says you can’t talk to other boutique owners around the country. In fact, many of them read sites like this one and participate in boutique owner forums to share information with each other. It’s inspirational to hear other people’s ideas and you may come up with some boutique concept ideas that you haven’t considered yet.

Your contacts are assets to you. Keep a running list of your contacts and make note of things like their willingness to help, tips that they gave you, and possible joint effort marketing ideas. Some boutiques help each other out by mentioning each other on their blogs, doing guest posts for each other, and mentioning each other on social networks. This is a great way to get your name out there and increase your rankings in the search engines without spending any money.

About the Author: John Garvey is on the staff of Only Garment Racks, a leading online source of garment racks including clothing racks. Find a high quality garment rack or clothing rack at