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1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Booming Boutique is a start-up retail establishment that will sell fashionable clothing to women of the Baby Boom generation. We will locate Booming Boutique in downtown Pleasantville, Florida, which is a popular retirement and tourist destination. While our initial goal is to open one boutique, expansion plans include potentially franchising our retail store and/or building a well-recognized brand name. In turn, we would hope to penetrate a sizable portion of the online retail market.
1.2 PRODUCTS & SERVICES
The fashion and retail industry tends to be overly youth focused. However, by closely following generational fashion trends as well as our own customers’ purchasing preferences, we will tailor our inventory to meet the specific needs of our clientele. We will solely focus on the our styles, colors and fits to flatter the lady Baby Boomer/ Meeting the needs of her figure will be our specialty.
1.3 MARKET ANALYSIS
The total sales reported in the U.S. retail industry in 2007 (including food service and automotive) exceeded $4 trillion. There are roughly 75 million Baby Boomers, half of which are women. In Pleasantville, the current population is just fewer than 40,000. 54 percent of the total population is women who have a median age of 48. The median income is $48,600. We will initially seek customers locally, but will increase our reach as we build our brand and secure our image.
1.4 STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION
Booming Boutique recognizes the importance of marketing. And to that end, we plan to promote our retail business with an ambitious, targeted marketing campaign, which will include a grand opening event, local media coverage, print advertising and a direct-mail campaign. Our goal is to keep our marketing budget to no more than 5% of our gross annual sales, and we will partner with local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Merchants Association as often as possible.
Robin Mathews and Joanna Jensen are co-owners and will co-manage Booming Boutique. Mathews has worked ten years in the retail industry, including four years as the manager of an antique furniture shop. She earned a BA degree in finance from Britannica College in Tampa, Florida.
Jensen’s experience lies in the fashion industry. She’s worked with designers, wholesalers and retailers for roughly 20 years. Jensen holds a BA in fashion merchandising from Colliers Fashion Institute in Miami, Florida.
1.6 FINANCIAL PLAN
Our company will earn revenue from our customers’ purchases of our products. Booming Boutique’s first-year income statement illustrates a profit margin of at least fifty-two percent, with a net income of $44,075 per month – after taxes. Finally, we have determined our break-even point will equal no less than $15,500 in total monthly sales. We project our annual profits to reach $380,000 by year three.
Our company will generate revenue from the retail sale of clothing and other merchandise. First year sales are projected to be $285,000, and we expect sales to surpass $525,000 by the end of year three. We will achieve month-to-month profitability within the first year.
1.7 SOURCES & USE OF FUNDS
Booming Boutique requires $282,000 to launch successfully. We’ve already raised $62,000 through personal investments and a small community grant.
We are currently seeking additional funding from outside angel investors and business loans. Start-up funds will be used for renovations, inventory and operating expenses such as rent, utilities and payroll. Further, our initial investment will also be used to purchase retail equipment and inventory software – all of which will produce future benefits for the company.
2.1 COMPANY & INDUSTRY
Booming Boutique will be located in downtown Pleasantville, Florida. Our company is a retail establishment selling fashionable women’s clothing to up-and-coming Baby Boomer retirees. Our business operates within the retail industry and is classified under NAICS code 448120 – women’s clothing stores.
2.2 LEGAL ENTITY & OWNERSHIP
Booming Boutique is a multi-member Limited Liability Corporation formally organized in Florida. Robin Mathews and Joanna Jensen are the company’s principle owners. We hold equal shares of ownership in the company.
2.3 COMPANY HISTORY TO DATE
The Company is a new business aimed at providing women of the Baby Boom generation stylish clothing options to buy and wear. As the company’s founders and as Baby Boomers ourselves, we found that Florida’s current boomer-wear market is missing the mark.
In fact, most clothing shops for the 55+ set are still selling clothes that our grandmothers would have worn. As our local population ages and more Baby Boomers reach retirement-age and migrate to Florida, we recognize the need for a shop that caters to the up-beat, fashion-forward Baby Boomer generation who want to look and feel young.
Presently, Booming Boutique does not have a bricks-and-mortar location. However, we have identified an ideal spot in the downtown district of Pleasantville. The gorgeous area includes numerous restaurants, an art gallery, coffee shop, candy store and a picturesque park in the town square. We have signed a three-year lease for a 1,700 square foot building at $18 per square foot. Comparable properties are renting for $17-24 SF/Year.
Working with the property owner and the City of Pleasantville Downtown Redevelopment Committee, we have secured a $2,000 grant to beautify the façade of the building to include painting, signage and a new awning. We will only need minimal internal renovations such as installing dressing rooms and decorative items.
When considering the addition of wall mounts for merchandise, multi-level clothing displays as well as creative floor planning, this facility is large enough to support future growth. Additionally, we will be able to conduct all aspects of our business from this location since it has access to a loading dock and a back office for managers. This includes deliveries and shipments, inventory management and administrative duties such as finance, buying and marketing.
2.5 KEY ASSETS
Our key assets are our co-owners, Robin Mathews and Joanna Jensen, who bring tremendous experience and relationships to this business.
Once we launch Booming Boutique, our primary asset will be our brand, which will convey style, quality and a great shopping experience. In the long-term, it is this brand that will separate Booming Boutique from other retailers both locally and nationally.
3.0 PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Booming Boutique will sell a combination of widely recognized name brands as well as clothing lines from select fashion designers. We will closely follow generational fashion trends as well as our own customers’ purchasing preferences. Moreover, we will tailor our inventory to meet the needs of our “boomer” clientele. Solely focusing on the styles, colors and fits to flatter the female Baby Boomer’s figure will be our specialty. While apparel, such as business clothing, casual wear, jeans and formal wear will be our main staple, we will also offer some accessories such as belts, scarves, and hats.
We will earn profits by selling our merchandise. Our pricing structure will remain flexible, as we will implement suggested retail pricing on common brands as well as the standard practice of keystoning prices. Additionally, we will use a value-based pricing structure, which measures the value of our products to our customers such as easy access, quality, customer service and styles flattering to our target consumer. We will implement end of season sales, holiday and overstock sales, multi-buy savings and promotional coupons at strategic intervals.
3.2 FEATURES & BENEFITS
One key feature that separates Booming Boutique from all other local boutiques and chain department stores in the area is our commitment to providing women of the Baby Boom generation stylish, quality clothing options. Because our primary concern will be ensuring our consumers are happy with the fit and style of their purchase, we will provide products tailored to all shapes and sizes of women. In addition, we will make every effort to have petite and plus size versions of our merchandise in stock. If they are not in stock, ordering them will be easy, cheap and efficient.
Further, Booming Boutique will not just be a store that sells clothes. Our clientele will benefit from an experienced, knowledgeable sales staff. Out of the gate, our goal is to implement a superior customer service system. Beyond our friendly reception and an inviting atmosphere, Booming Boutique will also offer customers fashion information and advice. Our trained personnel will provide counsel that women simply cannot find at other clothing stores. The service is like a beautician who offers advice on what hair styles best complement his/her client’s face. Our hip and qualified fashion-industry expertise will ensure our customers walk away with the perfect outfit.
In Pleasantville, there are no direct competitors offering our unique services or targeting Baby Boomers specifically. In the Downtown District, the shops most closely competing with Booming Boutique are as follows:
- EcoWise Boutique, which targets a younger demographic and specializes in natural fiber clothing. They also carry local art and jewelry.
- Caddy Corner Kids, which targets parents shopping for children, specializes in children’s clothing, accessories and toys.
- Kati Kouture, which targets younger women, specializes in offering industrial chic clothing with “classic lines and a punk gothic edge.”
- Marjorie Joe’s Fashion & Gifts targets older women within our target demographic, but specializes in the more homemade, old-fashioned style clothing.
- Petal Place Boutique targets women within our target demographic as well, but they specialize in an affordable, folksy style of clothing with handmade shawls and embroidered shirt sets.
- Second Time Around targets women and may overlap our target demographic slightly. However, they specialize in consignment clothing.
There is one super-store within a 60-mile radius of Pleasantville. The store is similar to Walmart in that it sells lesser quality items at lower price. But there are two chain department stores. They sell men’s, women’s and children’s clothing along with home accents, electronics and appliances. While familiarity is comforting, industry research indicates increasing frustration with the inferior quality, sub par customer service and vastness of super-stores. Not to mention, the inept sales staff and lack of selection often found at department stores.
3.4 COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE/BARRIERS TO ENTRY
To date, our primary competitive advantage is the absence of any store like ours in the Pleasantville area. In addition, company co-owner, Joanna Jensen, has worked in the fashion industry for more than 20 years. Her experience includes working with apparel retailers, clothing wholesalers, garment manufacturers, and fashion designers. She understands the fashion industry and knows how to spot the latest trends.
While there is no guarantee a competitor will locate within our area, we have no doubt in our fashion sense, outstanding customer service and quality products. In turn we will quickly establish Booming Boutique as the place for lady Baby Boomers to shop.
Also, we would be the only niche fashion retail-store for hip, older women. While other stores offer some style equivalents, they are not focused solely on the baby boomer generation. We are, and therefore, have a distinct competitive advantage in our niche.
Our supplier relationships and exclusive product offerings will prevent future competitors from entering the market as a competitor. Also, it takes time to build a retail store, and by the time a competitor attempts to compete with us directly, we will have already established a strong customer base.
As our company grows and our boutique earns a positive reputation, several opportunities will open to us. And we are considering some options already. Should we choose to remain a small local boutique, we will develop and grow our company by increasing existing clothing lines and expanding our selection to include additional products such as swim wear, lingerie, or sportswear. Within five years, we will assess the potential for franchising our stores in select locations.
Additionally, as we build our business, we plan to simultaneously develop an online Booming Boutique. The power and ease of an online storefront is obvious to us, and we plan to develop one quickly and efficiently. We also see the potential for regional and/or national expansion at some point.
4.0 MARKET ANALYSIS
4.1 TARGET CUSTOMER
Booming Boutique is a business-to-consumer retail company. Female Baby Boomers are our clear target customers. However, we do realize that we will likely attract some younger women with our peripheral products (handbags, scarves, etc.). Moreover, we expect a portion of our products to catch on with the younger generations. It’s important that we do not offer products that are exclusive to the older audience.
Having said that, there are currently about 75 million Baby Boomers living in the United States. A boomer is better described as the generation born between the years 1946 and 1964. About half of this population is women.
While those born in the 1940’s are still slightly more conservative, those born during the 1950’s and 60’s were trailblazers and trendsetters. Specifically, these will be the women we target vigorously with our marketing and offerings. These women range in age from their mid 40’s to late 50’s. They value uniqueness, convenience, service and quality. As they retire, price does become a factor in decision-making. At the same time, they were always a generation of the “buy now and pay later” philosophy.
4.2 MARKET SIZE
Pleasantville accommodates a robust retail market. While car dealerships, grocers and home improvement retailers account for a sizable portion of the retail market, the main local shopping district is downtown. With tree-lined streets and quaint shops and restaurants, the downtown retail district is the social and shopping hub of the community. The current population of Pleasantville is just fewer than 40,000. 54 percent are women who have a median age of 48. Their median income is above the national average at $48,600. Moreover, according to National News, Pleasantville is one of the 2008 Top 6 Towns to Retire for Baby Boomers. Many of these retirees are looking to retire on the water in a cozy, yet thriving community.
In addition to local consumers, we will also benefit from tourist traffic. Pleasantville is located a mere 30 miles from the sandy white beaches of St. Petersburg and Clearwater. It’s also within close proximity to many Tampa and Orlando area attractions. Our town boasts a healthy and recession-proof tourism industry. In addition, Pleasantville hosts several annual craft and golf events, which bring several thousand of our target consumers into the area each year.
The retail fashion industry is a solid business with ever-changing styles and ever-present consumer demand. While supercenters and megastores ruled the past two decades, more and more consumers are looking for change. They’re searching for a more serene and customer-friendly shopping experience. This is true especially for those nearing retirement age. In reality, as the Baby Boomers numbers decrease, there will be fewer older Generation X-ers to sell to. However, this market decrease will not occur for at least twenty years. Even then, clothing will always be in high demand. The fashion industry in America has been thriving since the advent of moving pictures.
4.4 SWOT ANALYSIS
- Experience and understanding of the fashion industry
- Unique shopping experience with exceptional customer service
- Great downtown location
- Large and growing consumer base
- Untested market in Pleasantville
- While market is large, it is a niche market (Baby Boomers)
- Outstanding shopping experience will lead to repeat business
- Growing online Booming Boutique
- Establish a Booming Boutique clothing line
- Cost and effectiveness of marketing to women “Baby Boomers”
- New retail shops that may or may not open in the future
5.0 STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION
Our company’s core business strategy is to combine exceptional and knowledgeable customer service with quality stylish merchandise. And n turn, we’ll provide an enjoyable shopping experience for our customers. Booming Boutique’s mission is to offer women of the Baby Boom generation a wide selection of fashionable, figure-flattering clothing. Our aim is to establish our company as a pioneer in this youth-obsessed industry and build a boutique brand name that will be synonymous with the fashion industry revolution.
5.2 PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
We are currently working with several apparel wholesalers, garment manufacturers and two freelance fashion designers to assemble our inventory. We are also working with city economic-development officials to secure all required permits and occupational licensees. Once we secure financing, we will move ahead with the façade renovation, which we will pay for via the PDRC. We will also use the financing to purchase inventory, retail displays, and office supplies.
Prior to the grand opening of Booming Boutique, we will schedule an event with the Chamber of Commerce and start our promotions with pre-publicity flyers, advertising and additional marketing activities.
5.3 INTERNET STRATEGY
As the Internet has become a staple of American life and retail merchandising, Booming Boutique will build a website on which we will sell our products, too. We have secured the domain name BoomingBoutique.com and will begin site development using WooCommerce, a WordPress plugin, or Shopify. These platforms allow us to create an online storefront quickly and will manage all aspects of it including creating shipping labels, accepting payment, and monitoring inventory. Customers will also be able to create wish lists for items they want to purchase later.
Having this online presence will allow us to build our email marketing list and send regular promotions to customers with new product announcements, discounts, specials, birthday coupons, and fashion ideas.
Foremost, we intend to showcase our brand, our clothing and provide customers with the ability to purchase items online. As the site progresses, we will include features such as fashion advice, designer interviews, newsletters, and Internet-only specials. Eventually, we hope to establish and nurture an online social community where women can gather and discuss topics of the day, network and share clothing secrets.
5.4 MARKETING STRATEGY
We both have strong marketing backgrounds and recognize the significance of effective marketing. We expect our strategy to draw consumers into Booming Boutique from the very beginning. Moreover we will hire a local PR firm to help us develop and implement a strategic marketing plan and guide our publicity efforts in a cost-effective manner. Our marketing message, logo and slogans will revolve around the idea of the Baby Boom generation as revolutionaries and trend setters. Boomer women are in their prime and at their best. Our store will recognize them as a force within the fashion industry.
Our goal is to keep our marketing budget to no more than 5% of our gross annual sales. We will partner with local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Merchants Association as often as possible. We already have connections in all the necessary places. These strategic partnerships will allow us to piggyback on publicity for local events, as long as they are within our targeted demographic. Booming Boutique’s initial marketing efforts will remain local as we establish a presence in our community. These will rely heavily on local print and broadcast media coverage, traditional advertising, signage, a direct mail marketing campaign and networking. We will initially allocate a significant portion of our advertising budget to print and broadcast media to get the word out.
Of course, we will build anticipation and excitement about the new boutique prior to its grand opening. Working in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, we are already talking about a grand opening soiree. This will include hors d’oeuvres donated by the bistro across the street and a silent auction of a local artist’s painting collection. The collection is currently on display in the Downtown Art League Gallery.
We will also hold a drawing for a $100 shopping spree and fashion consultation. Entry collection will start at the grand opening and continue throughout the week. We will use these names and contact information for follow-up marketing initiatives. The Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Merchants Association will promote the event in local newspapers and radio advertising. Comprehensive advertising and semi-annual direct mail marketing campaigns will follow the grand opening. We will also take advantage of low cost publicity activities such as posting sale flyers on community bulletin boards and online.
5.5 SALES STRATEGY
Booming Boutique plans to generate sales via strategic marketing efforts. These concentrated efforts will be targeting new and returning customers as well as single-visit tourist consumers. We will also implement a referral program rewarding customers who refer new customers with discount coupons. Following our grand opening, we will conduct a direct-mail campaign to targeted consumers that we have signed up through our in-store mailing program. The direct mailers will consist of 5,000 full-color postcard mailers. Each will include at 10% coupon. We will offer promotional discounts and seasonal and clearance sales throughout the year.
Booming Boutique will accept cash and payment via major credit and debit cards. Cash layaway plans will also be permitted. Returns and exchanges must take place within 30 days of purchase and receipts are mandatory.
Our sales staff will include both co-owners and 2-3 part-times sales associates. Combined, Jensen and Mathews have nearly 30 years experience in the fashion and retail industries. We will provide comprehensive training to each sales associate. This will include how to sell merchandise as well as how to provide fashion advice to customers. Our sales team will earn an hourly rate, plus a generous percentage of commission from each sale.
5.6 STRATEGIC ALLIANCES
Booming Boutique plans to join the Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce as well as the Pleasantville Downtown Merchants Association. These organizations are dedicated to promoting local businesses within our community and sponsor several events downtown each year. As a member of these organizations, Booming Boutique will gain exposure, make business contacts, and will benefit from Chamber and Association advertising, Web site promotions and events.
As a retail establishment, Booming Boutique will conduct business seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. During the holiday seasons and during special events, we will extend store hours. At this point, the retail store will take require approximately 2/3 of the building’s available space. We will use the remaining space for stock and administrative purposes. In addition to the two full-time co-owners, we will hire three part-time employees to serve customers.
Our company will secure merchandise from local manufacturers with showrooms in Orlando and Miami. We’ll also have access to the Florida Apparel Market, which is the largest wholesale merchandise warehouse in the state. Purchasing from FAM, buyers receive product displays and promotional materials with purchase. Additionally, we will work closely with our regional sales representative. We will also attend relevant pre-season fashion trade shows.
To control costs, track inventory and manage stock levels, we will put an inventory control system in place. This will include the standard bar code with its related equipment and software. Staff will conduct annual inventory audits and hire outside auditors when necessary. We will maintain all accounting and finances using Quickbooks online.
The following is a list of business goals and milestones we intend to accomplish our first year of operations.
- Complete renovating, stocking, hiring and initial marketing.
- Host a successful grand-opening event.
- Penetrate and raise awareness in 60 percent our targeted consumer market.
- Achieve a profit margin of 50 percent.
- Build a solid customer base and mailing list.
- Generate repeat and referral sales.
- Become a profitable business with expansion potential.
- Establish a solid reputation as quality retail establishment.
Our first major milestones will be securing funds and setting up our business. This is our major focus right now. In five years, we hope to have established our retail business within the community and within our industry. Furthermore, as co-owners, we would like to see the growth of our store with an increase in product lines, further penetration of the national market with online sales and, under the right set of circumstances, the opening of franchise Booming Boutiques in strategic locations.
5.9 EXIT STRATEGY
The co-owners intend to launch and grow Booming Boutique for many years into the future. In the event that our investors require repayment of their initial investments, plus a large return on their investments, we will seek a partner to buyout the investors’ shares. Another alternative is a management buyout, which will be agreed upon in advance.
In the long-term, we will position Booming Boutique as a profitable business that will be an appealing acquisition for any number of retail chains.
6.1 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
As a small business, we will have a small staff. Both co-owners will assume leadership roles within the company and will be responsible for daily operations, overseeing marketing efforts, buying merchandise and managing inventory and all other administrative duties. A small sales staff will assist co-owners with securing sales, assisting customers and general maintenance of stock on the floor.
Robin Mathews and Joanna Jensen are co-owners and will co-manage Booming Boutique. However, daily responsibilities will differ.
Robin Mathews will manage the day-to-day operations including supervising staff, maintaining inventory and bookkeeping. Mathews worked ten years in the retail industry including four years as a manager of an antique furniture shop. Mathews earned a BA degree in finance from Britannica College in Tampa, Florida.
Joanna Jensen will oversee the merchandise buying for the store as well as maintain a keen awareness of trends within the industry. She will also work with our public relations firm to ensure superior marketing plans are in place and implemented. Jensen worked in the fashion industry in various capacities working with designers, wholesalers and retailers for 20 years. She earned a BA in fashion merchandising from Colliers Fashion Institute in Miami, Florida.
6.3 STAFF MEMBERS
Booming Boutique will employ a sales staff of 3 part-time employees. These positions are yet to be filled. However, we feel the labor pool is such that finding qualified employees will not be an issue. Our sales associates will be paid an hourly wage, plus commission. We will provide bonuses via sales incentives and conduct an annual review to encourage employee retention.
7.0 FINANCIAL PLAN
Booming Boutique will need $282,000 to get our business off the ground. We are currently seeking funding from outside investors and business loans.
At this time we have raised $50,000 in equity capital and an additional $12,000 for a specific-use grant. Both co-owners, Robin Mathews and Joanna Jensen, have invested $25,000 each into Booming Boutique. We are seeking investors for an additional $170,000 in equity investment and $50,000 in loans.
7.2 USE OF FUNDS
We will use the funds to pay for renovations, including the outside façade (to be paid for via PDRC grant), construction of fitting rooms, sales counter, painting, carpeting, lighting, decor and display fixtures. We will also purchase inventory, a cash register, computer equipment and an inventory management system. We will use the remainder of the start-up funds to cover operating expenses, such as rent, utilities, wages and marketing to increase retail sales.
7.3 INCOME STATEMENT PROJECTIONS
Based on our marketing plans, location, store size and product offerings, we expect to collect annual sales of $285,000 in year one, $375,000 in year two and $525,000 in year three.
Our average cost of goods sold will be 40%, which leaves us with a gross margin of 60%. Our minimum monthly fixed costs are $15,500 per month, so we will need to generate sales of $25,833 per month to break even. We will become profitable on a monthly basis before the end of our first year.
In our third year, we will earn net income of $105,000. The accompanying income statement demonstrates our company’s profitability.
7.4 CASH FLOW PROJECTIONS
Our business will collect immediate payment from customers, so our cash flow statement will be substantially similar to our income statement. Our cash flow statement clearly demonstrates our ability to cover all bills.
7.5 BALANCE SHEET
Booming Boutique will launch with $220,000 in equity capital and $50,000 in loans. Credit amounts and supplier terms for inventory will appear in our balance sheet as short-term liabilities. We will not document jewelry consignments from vendors in our balance sheet and will expense these items as we sell them. Details are shown in our enclosed balance sheet.
We base our projections on the assumption that the economy, consumer spending habits and population growth in Pleasantville will continue for the foreseeable future.
We must also assume that our present and future suppliers will continue to sell inventory to us at prices that allow us to maintain our present margins. It is also important that we are able to hire reliable employees at reasonable wages.