Learn How to Open a Boutique from a Couple that Knows

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Founders of La Jolla boutique, Fiore di Italia, publish first edition of their ebook course "How to Open Your Own Unique Boutique."

Founders of Fiore di Italia just published the first edition of their new ebook “How to Open Your Own Unique Boutique” (http://www.openauniqueboutique.com), to help would-be entrepreneurs achieve their dreams of starting up a boutique business. In case you haven’t heard, Fiore di Italia (http://www.shop-fiore.com) is a unique boutique specializing in Italian made bath and body products, cosmetics, skin care, and accessories, in La Jolla, CA, and the brainchild of Doug and Suni Gargaro. Fiore features lines such as Acca Kappa, Santa Maria Novella, Lorenzo Villoresi, La Ragazza di Firenze, and other exceptional, hard-to-find Italian creations.

One might be accurate in describing the couple as “not wasting any time”, as it were. They started their business almost exactly two years ago in Solana Beach, CA with a “humble” (their words) yet exquisite boutique that was at once incredibly small and incredibly charming.

Within less than a year, Solana Beach proved to be “too small” for the couple’s ambitions on several levels – the small retail space, and the mediocre foot traffic. Despite this, it was obvious right away that response to their products and concept were incredibly strong. As such, Fiore made the move a few miles down the coast to world famous (and world class) La Jolla, CA, a short nine months after Fiore’s inception. Both the foot traffic, and the price tag of doing business, skyrocketed once they made the move.

“Really, there is no comparison between La Jolla and Cedros (Solana Beach.) I am kind of embarrassed to say this, but some weekends we do better here than we did during a whole month back at Cedros” says Suni, who manages the boutique on a daily basis.

Of course, lease space in La Jolla comes at a premium which is “several orders of magnitude higher…” than it was back at Solana Beach, to quote behind-the-scenes partner and hubby Doug. “Still, the exposure, publicity, and image of our business are so much better served by being here, on top of higher revenues. It was absolutely the right move for us.”

Back to that concept of not wasting any time: just about two weeks ago, the couple published the first edition of their ebook course entitled “How to Open Your Own Unique Boutique.” The course covers everything from brainstorming a concept, to writing a business plan, to getting funding (and many more topics) for entrepreneurs looking to start a boutique. Basically, it is a “conglomeration” of the many lessons they learned along the way to starting their own boutique business - lessons “learned the hard way” according to the couple.

“It just came natural for us to want to write this book. We know how much easier it would have been for us if we had a resource like this when we started out. Our whole goal … is to help others like ourselves achieve their dreams of business ownership, rather than falling by the way side, or worse: not having the courage to even try in the first place” says Doug.

Not wanting to throw cold water on this “couple-on-fire”, I asked whether publications like this are already available out there, or had been when they were starting out.

“Sure, there were several books, including a few ebooks, written on the subject. We looked at every one of them, and both of us came to the same conclusion: The credentials of the authors just didn’t ‘ring true’ to us. These were either people that had run a boutique once-upon-a-time (and closed their doors and moved ‘away’ for reasons unexplained) or they were produced by groups made up of retail ‘professionals’ that had certainly been active in retail with plenty of experience – in large corporate environments.”

“In other words, these were people that were not entrepreneurs running successful businesses which they started from scratch – they were either employees or executives of large companies, or former boutique owners that had abandoned their business for reasons that were unclear.” Like I said …On-Fire. I was immediately embarrassed for asking the question.

Speaking of credentials, that was my next question. Suni has two degrees in business (Finance and Information Technology) and Doug’s background is at the very least, “uncommon”. He has academic degrees in both architecture and film production, with a full-time career as an architectural project manager. Perhaps most interestingly, his very early work experience (high school and college days) was in none other than… retail sales.

“Life doesn’t have to be about pre-defined roles. For example, I love Architecture, but that didn’t prevent me from co-founding a business that I felt was interesting and unique.”

Suni adds, “Doug and I both, as it turns out, always had life-long dreams of starting an enterprise that would give us ownership of our future, in lieu of a ‘good job’ or ‘job security.’ It took us until our mid-thirties to find a concept we believed in, and the confidence to take that first step, to make the leap.”

And leap they did, in a big way. If you’re looking for a resource on how to open a boutique (in record time, if your keeping pace with the authors), I humbly suggest you take a cue from a couple that has been there, done that, on no uncertain terms.

Interview and Article by Jennifer Trudore, freelance writer from Solana Beach, CA

Article may be reprinted freely, if link to

”How to Open Your Own Unique Boutique” (http://www.openauniqueboutique.com) is provided.


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