Monday, November 5, 2007

How to Put Together a Home Boutique

This Saturday I will hold my third annual home boutique. I find that this is the best way for me to sell my items while making a good profit. Here are some pointers for putting together your own home boutique.

  • Invite only people you know and ask them to bring a friend.
  • You need a big mailing list - I mail out around 120 invitations and approximately 35-40 people attend.
  • Ask talented family members and friend to sell items at your boutique.
  • You don't have to move all furniture and decorative items out of the way - I move just enough items to make room for the folding tables that we set up.
  • Be sure that your house is clean.
  • Buy plastic shopping bags, receipt books, and price tags. (All available at Office Depot). Ask those who are selling at your boutique to bring their own folding tables, table cloths, etc. Remind them to price all their items ahead of time.
  • Allow sellers to set up their tables on the day before or before the event starts. Our event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to there's plenty of time to set up, however, I do require them to be set up no later than 9:30 a.m.
  • We serve light refreshments in the kitchen - those selling items are responsible for bringing the snacks. I don't spend money on snacks since I provide the house. Don't have too many snacks, keep it simple.
  • Mail invitations in advance. Ask those who are selling with you to either mail invitations to their friends or to help you with the postage and printing costs.
  • On the day of the event - have a guest book so that guests can sign and write down their addresses. This helps keep your mailing list updated and growing.
  • We only accept cash or checks. If someone wants to write a check for purchases from multiple sellers then they pay me and I give them a receipt which they take back to the seller to pick up their purchase. This ensures that everyone gets paid.
  • Give your customers a short explanation of your work and then let them ask questions if they need to.
  • Hand out business cards with every purchase.
  • Package all purchases professionally (i.e. with new shopping bags).

Above all, have fun! If it's not fun and you find it's too much work then don't have a home boutique. This may not be for you.

State tax home page links

Here's a list on the Small Business Administration website of State and Commonwealth Tax/Revenue home pages. This should link you to your state's tax department or department of revenue so that you can read all about your state's small business taxes and any requirements they have for sales tax, filing assumed names, income taxes, etc.

Information Source - Small Business Administration

Check out the Small Business Administration website for all sorts of small business information. It includes everything from a small business planner, services they offer, tools for productivity, and local resources. I recommend the start a business section, which takes step by step on starting a small business.