New Retail Business Solution for Boutiques Targets Backrooms

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My Overstock Boutique partners with specialty stores to sell their unsold merchandise. Overstocks are sold on consignment with My Overstock Boutique and business has never been better.

Small boutique businesses often suffer during changes in the economic environment. The evidence of slowing sales is often found in the boutique's backroom. When shelves and racks fill with unsold inventory, just the presence of the merchandise can contribute to malaise.

Solutions to the common problem of unsold overstock are not always curative to the boutique. In fact, selling to jobbers, donating to charity or even holding big clearance sales can create a "self-created discount competitor." The self-created discount competitor emerges when a boutique sells or gives inventory to an organization, whether a big box discount chain or a charitable organization, who in turn sells the merchandise to the boutique's customers at a steep discount. This removes current and future money from some of the boutique's target market.

Often a boutique proprietor will offer their own steep discounts in hopes of capturing the current cash from the clientele that buys from the sale racks. This sale strategy also backfires as the customer will be less likely to purchase from the full price merchandise, the bread and butter of the boutique business.

Many business models have been formed to relieve the boutique business of the stress of carrying overstock inventory. Most of the business models offer short term solutions that aid in adding inventory to the boutique's discount competitors.

My Overstock Boutique has created a new business model with the health and strength of partnering with the boutique in building additional revenue to the boutique while removing the overstocks from the big box discounters in the competitive geographic region.

The business model My Overstock Boutique has perfected is based on a consignment partnership. The consignment terms are favorable to the small boutique owner and can net the business up to 25% of original retail prices, a figure unheard of in the jobber industry. My Overstock Boutique accomplishes this by offering the merchandise to a different geographic segment at 50% off of retail prices.

My Overstock Boutique sells the overstock merchandise through different channels. The small brick and mortar stores include My Overstock Boutique franchises in regions outside of the boutique's core business. The overstock is also sold at qualified consignment boutiques who agree to the terms of distributorship. Once again, all merchandise is sold away from the original boutique business. Thirdly the overstock is sold via the Internet on several small sites by trained professionals who do not compete in the full priced boutique market.

Owner Meg Thomas, who has spent the last 20 years assisting boutiques, explains her strategy. "We want to improve the health of the small business by forming long term relationships." In fact, she has assisted over 75 small businesses in selling their unsold garments and accessories. "Our specialty is high end women's designer boutiques," she says. "Research and Development of the discount market is focused on maintaining the highest sales possible for our boutiques while selling to customers outside of the boutique's clientele."

The consignment system works as follows. Boutiques ship unsold merchandise to My Overstock Boutique. My Overstock Boutique inventories the merchandise and provides POS inventory information to the participating boutiques. 50% of the sold inventory selling price is returned to the boutique monthly via check or Paypal. The overstock is offered for sale by My Overstock Boutique for 12 months and can be returned to the boutique at any time.

"We want this process to be easy for the small business owner. Our system is set up for low risk for the boutique and the highest return as possible," says Thomas. "We want the business to be able to send us their overstocks and clear out for new full price merchandise. The profit for boutiques is in the full price segment. Our large warehouse space allows us to accept merchandise off season.

She adds, "We have customers calling all of the time wanting to shop with us. We do allow customers to shop in our warehouse, and we have a current client list of almost 10,000 customers."

The current economic trends have added more customers as well as boutique suppliers to her roster. Thomas says, "We are in our prime in slower economic times. It is fulfilling because our customers are happy and our boutique owners are happy because they are receiving checks."

Meg Thomas
My Overstock Boutique
207 Goldfinch Court (office)
828 Trollingwood Hawfields Road
Mebane, NC 27302
(919) 923-3014

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