The Clothing Boutique Purchasing Guide

Make smart decisions when purchasing equipment for your Clothing Boutique. Learn about the equipment you will need, typical costs, and where are the best places to buy it.

Required Equipment and Materials

Most clothing boutique owners will need the following equipment to get started:

  • Racks ($40 - 100 per piece)
  • Slatwall ($100 - $200 per piece)
  • Jewelry holders ($4 - $30 per piece)
  • Display cases ($165 - $300 per piece)
  • Mannequins ($50 - $100 per piece)
  • Hangers ($5 - $20 per set)
  • Hooks ($4 - $20 per piece)
  • Chairs  ($30 - $250 per piece)
  • Pricing & tagging guns ($50 - $100)
  • Hand tags ($6 - $10 per set)
  • Shopping bags ($10 - $40 per set)
  • Gift boxes ($2 - $8 per piece)
  • Mirrors ($10 - $200 per piece)


This list doesn't include the initial stock of clothing you will need to launch your store, which may cost up to $10,000 or more. You should plan on budgeting anywhere from $10,000 - $20,000 for initial purchasing costs.

Sample List of Purchases

A typical person looking to purchase equipment for a clothing boutique might make the following purchases:

  •  Assorted Clothing Inventory ($10,000)

  Grand Total: $11,682 

Key Decisions

Picking the right clothing source is arguably the most important buying decision you’ll make when starting a clothing boutique. We outline the key considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when making this purchase and provide some popular options.

Considerations When Buying Clothing

Know the Risks of Purchasing Online

When purchasing online, never buy in bulk without ordering a sample first to see the quality of the product. Conduct thorough research of the company you are buying from and look for customer reviews to make sure they are a reliable source.

Create a Cohesive Style

It is always important to keep a cohesive style and theme for your boutique store to attract the right customer base. Who is your target audience? What clothes would they most likely wear?  What atmosphere would best fit the clothes? These questions can help you determine what clothes you should stock.

Buy from a Variety of Sources

There are four main ways of sourcing for clothing listed below. We recommend buying from a mixture of these four until you are able to determine the sources that best fit your business. Buying from a number of different sources will also create a diverse selection for your customers.

Options for Sourcing Clothing

Wholesale

A common choice for many people starting their own clothing store, wholesalers are businesses who sell to small retailers at smaller quantities than they can buy directly from manufacturers. Contract agreements made with wholesalers must be thorough, spelling out every detail such as pricing, ordering requirements, delivery charges, and promised delivery times.

Thrifting

For store owners who want to create an unique, vintage style for their store,  and who have lots of times on their hands to sort through many thrift stores for unique treasures, this is a great option. However, it's important to make sure you're making a profit off of thrifted items, including the time you put into finding them.

Independent Designers

A great option to gather unique pieces from the latest trends is through finding smaller, independent designers. There are many blog sites to find these designers and directly contacting them to have pieces displayed in your store.

Trade shows

Events where designers gather to show their newest designs for each season, trade show gives owners many options to explore all in one convenient space.

Best Places to Buy

With the recommended choices listed above, there are many different options to find clothing. Wholesale sources can oftentimes be found online. Contacting independent designers is also an option to explore online. Meanwhile, thrifting and trade shows are both sources that require travel and exploration in person. Trade shows are a must for clothing boutique owners to keep up to date with the latest trends.

Wholesale

Wholesale sources are accessible and provide a range of styles and products. Here are some popular wholesale sources for clothing.

Thrifting

Thrifting is great for finding unique pieces, making your clothing boutique stand-out and have options that others cannot offer. It may also be a cheaper option for starting your boutique. Yelp.com is a great resource for finding local thrift shops.

Independent designers

This option creates an inventory that customers won't be able to find in larger retailers and a store that will most likely have the latest trends.  It also supports smaller designers and thus builds better business relationships. Here’s some sources to look for designers:

Trade shows

Trade shows provide great exposure to many different designer brands, and allow buyers to see the clothing quality up close as well as stay up-to-date with seasonal trends.