For the past two years, my husband and I have owned lifestyle boutiques featuring on-trend men’s and women’s fashion collections and pieces in Orange County. One of my favorite things about owning a boutique is that I get to add my personal touch to everything - the store is part of who I am! I have the freedom to support great give-back brands such as Krochet Kids and TOMS, and feature locally made products in my stores. However, I'm always baffled by the people (and there are many!) who think I spend all day picking out fashion items and putting them on a rack! Owning your own store can be so fun, but it's also very hard work! Here is a list of the most common and outrageous questions I hear from customers, as well as a glimpse into the not-so-glamorous job of owning a boutique!
1. Can I Sell My Stuff in Here?
Maybe, but I am not ETSY - the products we sell are professional and high-quality. If your product is well made and the packaging is professionally designed and printed, feel free to ask me the question again! We love showcasing local and giveback products.
2. It Must Be Nice to Call in Sick Whenever You Want?
Owning your own store is like having a kid, you NEVER get to call in sick. Even if you’re able to stay home and actually be sick, you still have calls or emails from vendors, clients, employees etc. that are waiting for you to respond. It's hard work, but very rewarding!
3. Your Closet Must Be Amazing if You Get to Own All This Stuff!
I wish! My closet is pretty basic and simple. I would love to be able to take home every product we feature, but as a boutique owner, my first focus is generating a profit and paying bills. I have to be OBSESSED with an item before I take it for myself – my joy comes from seeing other people enjoy our products.
4. Can I Get a Discount?
Do you ask for a better price at Nordstrom or Anthropologie? If you do, you're very brave, but most places don't give discounts. We always try to make our prices fair and affordable. You may be able to get it cheaper on Amazon, but supporting your local community and shopping small is worth a few dollars in my opinion!
5. When is This Item Going to Be on Sale?
Hopefully never! I curate my collection with the best products that our shoppers love, so I hope to sell out at full price! We do have a «sale» twice a year, but it is made up of mostly single sizes in random styles. Sorry, but I cannot order that sale piece in your size! :)
6. Do You Make All of This Stuff?
I own a lifestyle boutique that carries men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, shoes, apothecary, home goods, cards, and vintage vinyl. So to answer your question, no, I am not a clothing designer, leather craftsman, potter, graphic designer, knitter, cobbler, vinyl presser and candlestick maker. But I will take credit for being a storeowner, accountant, employer, blogger, social media guru, sales girl, mother, cook, bartender and wife!
7. I Could Totally do This... I Should Open My Own Store!
We'd love to see more boutiques opening up, but it's definitely not for everyone! Keep in mind, this job consists of a lot more than just picking out clothes and putting them on a rack. It is a balance of accounting, buying, merchandising, sleepless nights, and stress.
If you are looking for easy job, I wouldn't recommend opening your own lifestyle boutique. However if you like a challenge, I can assure you it's the most rewarding job I've ever done. Remember to shop small and support local!