Learning How To Start An Online Boutique

You just picked up your first shop and you have dreams of expanding your brand, but how do you get started? Christine Hollen from Clouddom shares her tips and tricks.

The internet has become a safe place for people to shop for whatever and whatever they want. But the internet also encourages us to try new things—at least, that’s the idea. Take Charm, a new clothing line by a YouTube makeup expert. Charm provides the first skincare tutorial ever on YouTube; however, Charm isn’t just a one-off. Charm has plans to grow to include looks for all the major beauty trends, much like Highsnobiety has done in the business realm. With a focus on curating the best of everything from all over the world and setting her own user-generated standards, Charm is a brand to watch out for.

Charm began using her passion for makeup to find and create her own makeup that meets a certain level of quality. That’s when she created a YouTube channel, where she has uploaded over 80 makeup tutorials. “We started from the girl who loves beauty. I was curious to see how things were different here [in the U.S.] compared to the countries I was born in,” she told me. The result is the perfect combination of being familiar with a variety of tips and techniques in the beauty industry but also being extremely accessible to her followers.

But it wasn’t easy for Charm to begin such a large empire. In the beginning, she didn’t even know how to use a computer. She eventually learned Photoshop but was slow to embrace it. “My channel is still growing,” Charm said.

“I’m not alone in this experience. I feel like it’s a lot of my viewers and their partners who have encouraged me. Also, you don’t need your own website for a website. Using Adobe Magento was a big thing I didn’t know,” she explained. “It all took time. It took time to find what I really wanted and go through my trials and tribulations.”

After being featured on major retailers, Charm has now started directing her passion towards branching her reach out into web-based stores. She’s learned a lot of the ins and outs of the internet shopping process, what it takes to execute an effective promotion plan and what not to do, so she is a valuable commodity. I wanted to find out from Charm about tips and tricks on starting her own online boutique. Here are some of her tips:

Understand Your Pricing: Though all of Charm’s products are created in the U.S., Charm understands that the online game is currently dominated by the Chinese products. She understands that manufacturing abroad comes with a number of caveats that include printing issues, shipping and customs issues. Charm says that one of the biggest mistakes a person can make when entering the e-commerce space is to not understand the pricing—because ultimately that’s what set the online storefront apart from similar brick-and-mortar options. She recommended a range of products at about $12-$16 per item, because typically that’s where it’s going to go.

Instead of working with retailers to build a line that will appeal to a certain type of customer, Charm built her own store by conducting a lot of research. “I went to every outlet where they were selling high end or mainstream products to build my own line in New York, Los Angeles, North Carolina, and Chicago and other places,” she told me. “I found so many people who had similar issues and were buying at a much higher price point. So that’s when I started making the different ranges.”

Be Real: While there are currently only 15 companies that Charm has worked with on this line, Charm has a plan to continue branching out. She currently has relationships with over 60 different e-commerce partners that she will eventually add to her portfolio. For now, Charm is working with Big Machine Label Group, a Nashville-based company that specializes in country music, and is currently working on a line for their label, RCA Nashville. Being entrepreneurial and creating something new has truly been her superpower. She isn’t dependent on any one brand and isn’t afraid to break out of her comfort zone to achieve her dream. So don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith if you think you have the itch to go out there and try it. Just do it!

Check out Charm’s full line on Charm’s website.

I worked with Charm on her shopping website in exchange for her help with a couple of posts.

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