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Tips on targeting boutiques and specialty markets

Tips for Targeting Boutique and Specialty Store Markets

Josh Ellsworth

Josh is the VP of sales, dealer channel for Stahls'. He deals in the sales and implementation of heat-applied, apparel-decorating systems with a focus on customization. He holds skills in the production, sale, and marketing of customized apparel. He presents seminars at trade shows and contributes articles to trade publications, like Printwear magazine.

If you are primarily a custom decorator, a great way to increase sales is by reaching out to independent retail stores and boutiques with products specific to their customer base. While you might be offering some personalization, you can also increase your sales by creating a line of preprinted garments that a store will buy from you on a wholesale basis.

Here are some tips on how to get started:

Choose A Niche. The first step in this process is to choose what market you’d like to target. It might be related to a personal hobby like sailing, horses, or music. The more you know about this niche already, the better.

Identify The Core Customer. Next, you want to get the basic demographics on who buys products from this store. For example, if you decided on children’s boutiques, buyers are likely to be mothers, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers.

When Do They Buy? What is this store’s busy season? What activities, events, and holidays are triggering sales? Using the children’s store as an example, it would be safe to assume that some time periods may include back to school in August, Christmas in December, and perhaps Easter in April.

Why Do They Buy? Find out if most customers are coming in buying a gift or buying something for their own children. Why are they choosing a boutique versus a mass merchandiser? What type of merchandise are they looking for that they can’t find anywhere else?

How Much Do They Pay? You’ll also want to determine what price range will be acceptable to this market.

While you may be able to use the internet for some direction in terms of popular children’s designs and styles, you’ll also need to plan on spending some time in the store itself observing who comes in and what they buy. You will be able to cull some good intel from the store owner, and observing first hand will be invaluable and spark ideas.

With this information, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step, which is choosing styles, designs, branding, and preparing a presentation to your target store.

Find more tips from STAHLS' Josh Ellsworth, here