The fashion and arts scene is rapidly expanding in rural areas, namely due to the Web and the increased availability of stylish media outlets. As such, business owners no longer have to pack up and make pilgrimages to New York City to open successful boutiques. They can offer their hometowns a bit of style and grace without compromising their tastes and/or profits. However, there are a few pitfalls to avoid. The audience of shoppers in rural areas may appreciate fine, beautiful clothing and jewelry, but that won't necessarily turn them into buyers. Create a profitable venture out of your storefront with the following business tips tailored especially for boutique owners in rural areas.
Rural Boutique Business Tip #1:
Focus on quality, not labels. Rural communities traditionally center around hard work and sensibility. While that doesn't mean they won't pay more for better quality, that does mean that they'll want to know exactly why you're charging $500 for a top from a designer that they've never heard of. Therefore, go with fabrics and materials traditionally associated with quality. Fine linen, fur, knit, and micro fiber will go much further than a lesser quality designer label.
Rural Boutique Business Tip #2:
Make it comfortable. If you've ever watched an individual who grew up in small town America walk into a metropolitan boutique, you've seen a person stricken with fear. It's not that rural community members can't appreciate the art that boutiques have to offer, but most can't help but feel out of their element in that environment when the most chic shopping experience in their hometown is Sears. If you've been in this industry for longer than five minutes, you know that an uncomfortable customer won't spend a dime. When designing your boutique, keep things "touchable." Arrange cozy and plush furniture, offer refreshments, play a little music, and don't be afraid to speak to your customers openly. Break the ice and help them feel more at home.
Rural Boutique Business Tip #3:
Cater to tourists by locating your business near visitor hot-spots. Whether it's a historic landmark or a scenic view, travelers are always looking for a unique place to stop. Your town or county has something to offer those driving through, and locating your business near one of those hot-spots will direct an entirely different crowd to your front door. If you can't open your business in a high traffic area, be sure to at least place your advertisements in the vicinity of those just passing through. A stop for lunch often quickly turns into a shopping excursion, and you'll want to be on the forefront of every tourist's mind.
Rural Boutique Business Tip #4:
Create an artistic community with other local business owners. One of the worst mistakes a small town boutique owner can fall victim to is setting up a posh storefront between the county courthouse and the city bank and expect targeted customers to start flowing in on their own. Visit your chamber of commerce for information on art galleries, music halls, tourist attractions, etc, and connect with those affiliated with such venues. Why? Because tying your business professionally with such associations means connecting with other like minded individuals and their customers. You don't want to associate yourself with the outlet mall down the street. A boutique owner in a small town must create an ambiance for those within the town to partake in, and that means working to develop an entire community of artistic and fashionable groups that might not already be in place.
Rural Boutique Business Tip #5:
Create a local theme from an artist's viewpoint. This is where you will make your fashion and style appeal to both locals and tourists at the same time. Even if it doesn't seem like much to you, consider what makes your surroundings appealing. Take a look at the landscape, the history of your town or county, and the atmosphere in which you live. Add a little local color to your boutique to appeal to tourists looking to learn about a different culture as well as locals who can take pride in how you've displayed a common heritage. On that note, don't be afraid to mix it up and add an eclectic touch to your underlying theme.
Remember, boutique owners in rural areas face an entirely unique set of challenges. Be willing to adapt, and present your work in a way that appeals to your local audience without sacrificing your intended theme. The rest will fall into place.
Donna Vinci and its sister brands were featured as the official wardrobe for the award winning play "Crowns" at the renowned Venice Theater in Venice, Florida. The show by Regina Taylor is based on the book "Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Hats" by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry. Through songs and stories, "Crowns" shares tales of faith, fashion and African-American history and the tradition of Sunday church hats. The story begins with Yolanda, a girl from Brooklyn, who travels to South Carolina to live with her grandmother and four aunts. As she tries to figure out her place in the world, she starts learning lessons from the women she meets in church.
Production director, Kristofer Geddie, commented; "It's a joy to bring this universal story of community to life through the use of gospel music, and of course, through these many beautiful hats with their own symbolic stories to tell". The play was a smashing success! Next stop, BROADWAY!
As you and your customers already know, Donna Vinci receives constant attention in print, television, and live media coverage. Every month we will feature Donna Vinci in the media.
Please pass on this info to your boutique customers to show the added attention Donna Vinci brands receive in comparison to other designers in the industry!
Spring 2013 Love The Queen and DONNA, Lisa Rene, And DV Jeans have all been reduced in price to make room for next season's styles.
We have a limited quantity remaining and want to pass the savings to our customers to get great styles at a great price! Please take advantage of this opportunity now! Styles will sell out.
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