Shraddha Singh, owner of Dingali's Fashion boutique shares her dreams about fashion...
I have always been particular about my clothes since childhood. As I grew up I realized clothes make good business sense as the demand for clothes in the market is tremendous and increases every year. Therefore I decided to start my own clothes boutique. I like to interact with people and if they need my advice in dressing then I just love guiding them. I gained a lot of experience when I worked for my sister's exhibitions where I used to get 100 rupees a day. I learnt how to interact with people and how to conduct a business. Now she is helping me in my business.
I started my store while I was studying for my TYBMM (Journalism). To start your own store you have to invest in buying a shop and stock up on good clothes. I had to source the right places from which I could buy the clothes and accessories for my shop. When you start you can easily earn about 10-15 thousand rupees a month. As you progress and expand your market, you can earn much more. It takes about a year to understand the business and for customers to get to know about your shop. Once you are established then people automatically come to you especially if you have good clothes and if you are good at customer service. Then you can earn in lakhs.
When you like what you are doing then you invest all your energy into your work. Clothes are my passion and I am enjoying myself in this business. The only difficulty is the competitors. I have to select very good quality and attractive clothes and keep the pricing right to be one step ahead.
In BMM, I learnt marketing, communication skills and public relations which have helped me. For my specialization I choose journalism because I would love to be a fashion journalist. When I decided to pursue opening my own little boutique, I had no idea how to go about it. All I knew was that I wanted to sell clothes. I found my way around and today I am proud of what I accomplished in the end. When I first started I had no one to guide and it was a lot of trial and error. Here are some tips that I would love to share with you to start your own store.
Have a vision
Go through fashion magazines, books, sites, visit other stores, interact with those in the fashion line and get as many good ideas as you can.
Understand your target audience
You must decide what clientele you are going to cater to. Understand their likes, dislikes, price range, and other preferences. If you know your customer well you can cater to them in a better way.
Create your brand
Choose a good name for your store. I decided to call my shop Dingali because that is my pet name and there is a kind of musical ring to it. It is unique and very catchy. My customers like it too. Many of them have told me that it is a very interesting name.
Have a business plan
It is very important to chalk out how you are going to start and run your business. You need to have very clear ideas and specific plans. Decide how you are going to garner the finance and pay it back. Draw up a retail plan. What is the amount of profit you are targeting? Every step of the business must be well thought of from the very beginning.
Get as much information as possible about your line of business. Do not hesitate to ask your way around. When I started I had very little idea about the business. I asked questions and did a lot of research to get my answers.
Understand the market
Know your competitors and seniors. Your competitors will help you peg you own product. You will understand what the customer prefers in terms of styles, colors, designs and price range etc. This will give you a good idea of what merchandise to stock in your boutique. Check out the senior professionals in your field as they will show you where you can reach in the future and what you should aim for. Let them be your inspiration.
The customer is king
Remember that you are running your business for the customer. The customer is and should always be your top priority. You have to understand their needs, their likes and dislikes. Always be polite and supportive to your customers. Sometimes the customer likes to talk to you about their lives. Give them a hearing. It will help you to build a rapport with them. When the customer is comfortable with you there are better chances that he or she will come back to your store for more.
As told to Monarose Sheila Pereira