If you’re not super familiar with the term, the first thing you probably think of when you hear the term “boutique” is some kind of cute local dress or clothing shop.
Actually, a boutique-style business is defined as any relatively small business that provides specialized goods and services for premium prices.
All kinds of businesses can be boutique. A graphic design firm, a photography studio, and a hotel can all be boutique. The term “boutique” basically just means you run a small, specialized business with an excellent customer experience and higher prices to match.
Not everyone needs or wants to run a boutique-style business, but it can be an advantage for smaller, creative-type businesses because it allows us to play on the advantages we do have at our disposal (like time, human connection, and creativity), as opposed to trying to compete with the bigger guys on price and volume.
So boutique = smaller, specialized businesses that charge more for the more personal experience they offer.
Intrigued? Read on to learn what boutique businesses do differently and how to apply this strategy to your own business.
1. Boutique businesses get branding right.
Their visual identity is consistent across platforms. They have a strong, beautiful web presence. The tone, message, and style behind everything they put out is on point because they realize that as a smaller business, they have fewer opportunities to make a strong impression.
2. Boutique businesses never skimp on quality.
They print on thicker paper. Their complimentary turn-down service includes a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries and wine. Their products arrive in luxurious packaging with fun treats inside. Offering the best quality products and services is a hallmark of their business model.
3. Boutique businesses excel at caring for customers.
They’d never expect you to buy without speaking to a human first. Personal consultations, remembering customers’ kids’ names, white-glove installation, and above-and-beyond policies for correcting mistakes are all part of the boutique package.
4. Boutique businesses offer something unique.
They offer specialty products or services that can’t be found just anywhere. Their photography albums are hand-bound. Their abstract paintings on glass are instantly recognizable. Their restaurant customizes its menu to your diet ahead of time. The things they sell are impossible to reproduce, and therefore, iconic.
5. Boutique businesses have boundaries.
They take fewer weddings per year. Their turnaround times may be slower. You can only rent the whole property, and for a minimum of a week at a time. They only work six months a year. Whatever the boundaries are that allow them to provide such excellent service elsewhere, they stick to them proudly, increasing customer demand, respect, and excitement.
6. Boutique businesses charge more.
They don’t discount. They don’t compete on price. They’re more expensive than others in their industry because they provide incomparable service and one-of-a-kind offerings. Their customers realize this and are excited to pay extra for the experience of doing business with them.
Such a different way to do business, isn’t it? While not every business will find it desirable to change over to a boutique business model, it can be inspiring to think about implementing some boutique-like principles into your business.
Boutique business models are great for artists who crave depth, take a long time to finish things, and wish they had all the time and margin in the world to give their clients something truly mind-blowing – entrepreneurs who are willing to go to great lengths to achieve consistency, image, and customer care in order to work a slower, more personally fulfilling work schedule.
What on this list stuck out to you most? Do you feel that a boutique-style business model is right for you?