Hey guys! This blog post is a continuation of my online boutique series, How to Launch an Online Boutique. This post is part two of the series, so if you missed part one, click here to read it. My post on how to start an online boutique (step-by-step guide) received a lot of traffic, so I’m hoping this series will be helpful to those of you who want to start your own online boutique someday! In this post I’m going to go over all of the physical items you’ll need before launching your online boutique so that you’ll be ready to package and ship your first order as soon as it’s placed.
Top Must-Have Supplies prior to launching an online boutique:
- Boutique clothing tags – these are essential to have before you sell and ship any of your clothes. Your clothes should be tagged with your boutique name so your products not only look official, but so your customers also remember what store they bought their new clothes from. You can even take it a step further and include your store’s social media information on each of your tags. I included this information on the back of all of my tags as a way to promote my store further without having to include a completely separate promotional flyer/material. These are super easy to order from a variety of printing companies (just look it up on google and a bunch will pop up!). I ordered mine from here.
- Tagging gun – this is the tool you’ll need in order to tag all of your clothes with your boutique clothing tags. I bought a set that included a tagging gun and a bunch of clear plastic clothing tags – they’ll last forever! There’s a variety of options on Amazon, but I purchased this one.
- Fabric steamer – this is a must if you want your clothes to arrive to customers in top condition with as little wrinkles and creases as possible. While I owned a hand steamer prior to opening an online store, I decided to order a standing steamer (much more heavy-duty and industrial), and I’m so happy that I did. The amount of steaming I have done since launching my online boutique is insane, and I can only imagine how long it would’ve taken me if I had used a hand steamer. My stand-up steamer steams clothes so quickly and I rarely have to refill the water in one steaming session. Here’s the steamer I purchased and would definitely recommend.
- Tissue paper – if you want your packages to present nicely, you should definitely purchase tissue paper to neatly wrap your products. Think about when you purchase something from an actual store or online – the product is typically wrapped in tissue paper. It makes your package look neat, keeps the clothes folded, and is a great way to show your boutique’s personality and vibe. I found the best deal for bulk tissue paper here.
- Custom stickers – it’s hard to keep a package together in tissue paper without something holding it together! Custom stickers are a great way to promote your brand and make your package look nice. Most custom stickers can be a bit pricey, so be prepared to spend some money on these. This is where I bought my stickers from and they sent me more than I ordered, plus sent me a promo code for my next purchase from them.
- Polymailers – these are the plastic mailing bags that most online stores send clothing in. Polymailers are cheap, flexible and light-weight, meaning they’ll cost less money for you to ship. You can purchase the bare minimum (standard light gray) polymailers – these will be cheapest – or you can purchase a specific color, design or even have custom ones made. Keep in mind that the more custom you go, the more expensive your overall costs will be. It’s smart to pick and choose what is most important to you so you can decide what to spend your extra money on. I purchased two different size polymailers (12×15.5 and 14.5×19) to fit various order sizes. I purchased my polymailers from this website, and you can find fun colors and designs here.
- Shipping scale – you’ll need a shipping scale before mailing any packages so you know how much to pay for postage. I have a scale that measures from 0-50 pounds which is imperative for anything that is just a few ounces. You’d be surprised how many clothing items weigh less than a pound. Here’s the scale I purchased.
- Dymo Label Writer – this label printer is a lifesaver. It’s definitely on the pricier side, but I would say it’s 100% worth it. This is how I print every single shipping label for my packages and it prints on an adhesive sticker so all you have to do is peel off the backing and stick the shipping label on your package! Couldn’t get easier than that. When I was trying to decide whether or not this label printer would be necessary, I quickly realized if I didn’t purchase this printer or something similar, then I would have to cut out every single label from regular paper and tape each label to every package. That would waste so much time and take forever to do. It’s still definitely an option if you don’t want to invest in this quite yet, but I guarantee you’ll quickly change your mind. Here’s where to purchase the Dymo Label Writer.
There are of course always additional supplies that would be super helpful for an online boutique, but I wanted to provide the bare minimum of items you should have in order to be successful right when you launch.
As always, if you have any questions feel free to reach out! For anyone launching an online boutique or hoping to launch one in the future, good luck and congratulations!