How to Start a Boutique in India: Create a Business Plan Today

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Textile and fashion are some of the fastest-growing industries in India. As the demand increases, starting a boutique can be quite profitable. If you already have an idea about fashion design, you can stand out from the competition. Follow this guide and start creating your boutique business plan today.

Growth of the Indian Fashion Industry

India has been a hub of colourful textiles and garments for hundreds of years. Whether it’s handloom or indigenous prints, the fashion industry has established a strong domestic as well as international market. In 2019-2020, around $28.4 billion worth of apparel was exported.

According to the Indian Government, the textile export sector alone is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11% in the coming five years. The domestic market ranks even higher. That makes boutiques lucrative businesses. There are several reasons for the steady growth of this sector. Factors such as the abundance of raw materials, skilled workforce, lower manufacturing costs, e-commerce chains, and much more have made the fashion industry a high-value asset.

Clothing, accessories, and footwear are some of the most essential consumables. And India accounts for only 0.2% of the global market. Therefore, the Indian market is far from saturated and has immense growth potential.

What Types of Boutiques Can You Start?

Firstly, what are boutiques? A boutique is a micro fashion retail outlet that produces specific types of clothing and accessories for different age groups. You can even start a boutique from your home. However, getting a commercial space is ideal to scale up and create a successful brand. There are various types of boutiques to choose from. Depending on your area of expertise, market trend, and customer need, you can select a type.

There are primarily four types of boutiques:

  1. Clothing: The clothing category is quite broad and diverse. Within this, there are men’s clothing, women’s clothing, kid’s clothing, etc. Additionally, you can pick a style such as casual, formal, ethnic, designer, etc. This type of boutique has a large and growing customer base. Therefore, decide the type and style of clothing line for your boutique.
  2. Accessories: This category is unique and encompasses several types of products. It may also require different machinery and workforce. This section falls under designing and producing handbags, belts, ties, and jewellery. Creating and marketing accessories is a relatively tedious task but may yield higher returns.
  3. Footwear: Similar to accessories, designing and creating footwear requires greater skill and knowledge. The footwear industry is largely dominated by multinational brands. Thus, a footwear boutique could cater to a regional demographic or build a unique brand value over the long term.
  4. Other: Products such as bed sheets, curtains, and furniture covers can also be made in a boutique. However, these products may require printing work.

How to Create a Boutique Business Plan

Before you start your boutique business, you will need a business plan. A business plan is a blueprint that you will need to set up and run your business smoothly. Additionally, if you need to raise capital to start your business, a business plan can help with that. Therefore, start creating your boutique business plan by referring to this standard business plan template. You can modify the contents based on your needs. However, below are some sections that you must focus on.

Executive Summary

As the name suggests, an executive summary is a summarized version of the entire proposal. It is placed at the beginning of the business plan. The executive summary needs to be clear, concise, and captivating. If you’re aiming to secure a business loan, a great executive summary can determine your success rate.

Firstly, keep the executive summary short, not longer than two pages. There is no fixed pattern for an executive summary. However, you must touch upon your company’s mission, information, USP and highlight, finances, and future goals. Not all summaries are made equal. You will need to tailor the summary based on your reader. If it’s an investor, include hard numbers that would instantly attract the reader.

Another important thing you can consider is training. Although not mandatory, it is extremely helpful if you have some experience with design fundamentals, colour theory, and various other subjects of fashion design. Enrolling in a diploma course, or a bachelor’s degree can add a layer of professionalism in your work as well as the business plan.

Customer Analysis

Customer analysis will form an important part when you’re creating a business plan for your boutique. As mentioned above, boutiques can be of various types and sub-types. Additionally, the product you sell might have styles that are more suitable to a particular age group. For example, under the category of men’s shirts, there is casual wear, formal, party-wear, traditional, etc. Therefore, by analysing your target customers, you can identify their needs. This will ultimately help you build a product that will better address those needs.

You need to remember three primary steps while conducting a customer analysis – 1) create a customer profile. Identify the age, gender, location, spending capacity, etc. This is also known as customer segmentation. 2) Then move on to finding out their needs. You can do this through a survey or conduct manual research into the local market. 3) Lastly, based on the acquired data, you can design your business and product in such a way that your target customers will be bound to purchase at your store.

What are the legal requirements?

Like every other business in India, a fashion boutique also requires certain licenses and permits. Licenses do not cost a lot of money. Therefore, obtaining proper operational licenses is mandatory. Given below is a list of licenses and permits that you will need:

  • GST Registration: Every business in India needs to have a registered GST number. This is essential for filing taxes and returns. You can obtain this through a chartered accountant.
  • Shop and Enlistment License for a Fashion Boutique: This is a mandatory license for anyone starting a shop or business. You can obtain this by applying to the local municipal corporation.
  • Trade License: This is also a mandatory license to conduct business operations in India.

Lastly, you will also need to trademark the logo of your brand. Check if your logo is already trademarked or is similar to other brands. A trademark attorney can help you with that. This is important to prevent copyright infringements and objections.

Equipment Needed

If you’re manufacturing your products within the boutique, you will require different types of machinery such as sewing machines, cloth printing, cutting machines, steam press, etc. However, for a storefront boutique here’s a list of commonly needed equipment:

  • Display racks
  • Sewing machines
  • Slatwall panels (for hanging wall displays)
  • Display cases
  • Mannequins
  • Hangers
  • Hooks
  • Mirrors
  • Chairs
  • Shopping Bags
  • Price Tags

You can include many other pieces of equipment based on your boutique needs. Miscellaneous requirements such as billing software, CCTV, and a computer system are also essential.


Location plays a very important role in both your business plan and actual operation. A prime location closer to your target demographic can steeply increase sales. For example, if you have a boutique that makes funky printed t-shirts, your target group is mostly youngsters aged 16 – 24. Therefore, positioning your shop closer to educational institutes and offices is an ideal choice. Pick a location that is easily accessible and has good visibility.

Competitor Analysis

A well-done competitor analysis can help you set your boutique apart. Understanding what your competitors are doing can help you develop strategies that work to your advantage. First, identify who your competitors are and how your target audience rates them. This will give you an idea of how they bring in customers. Conduct a SWOT analysis of your competitors to understand their strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats.

Marketing Strategy

A clever marketing strategy is paramount to a successful business. Start by creating a website and social media handles. Social media marketing has become extremely effective for drawing in long-term customers. Your marketing campaigns should keep your audience in mind. If you’re selling your product to an older age group, your campaigns should make pricing a priority. If you’re USP is sustainable fashion, accentuate that in your ads and posts. Blogs, guest posting, and paid ads are often some of the best ways to funnel in customers.

Financial Plan

The financial plan will be the backbone of your boutique. Thus, be very careful while considering expenses. You need to factor in the shop’s rent, furnishing, equipment, stock, salaries, and several other expenses. The costs will vary based on the proximity of your location and the quality of equipment you purchase. For instance, some of the workforce you’ll pay for are tailors, designers, administrative staff, and janitors. According to Vakil Search, to start a small-scale boutique, you will need a minimum investment of INR 5 lakhs.

Success Stories That Will Inspire You

Almost all boutiques start small and blossom into huge fashion labels over the years. It takes years of persistent marketing and creating unique products that help indie boutiques get under the radar. Take the luxury fashion boutique Nappa Dori for example. Started as a single store in HauzKhas Village in Delhi, it has now expanded to over 20 countries.

You might be familiar with the household brand Fabindia. The 60-year-old fashion brand started with a mission to support the traditional artisans and designers in India.

Therefore, the best way to scale your boutique into a pan-India fashion brand is to start small, with constant innovation, and great marketing.


The Government of India has launched several schemes for helping small and medium scale businesses. You can also take advantage of that. Women entrepreneurs are highly encouraged. The Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme or the TUFS scheme are some that can benefit you on your journey. This is the perfect time to ride the expanding wave of the Indian fashion industry. Therefore, using this guide as a starting point, you can begin crafting your boutique business plan today.

This post is also available in: English


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