7 Things I Did How I Started My Online Boutique Store WITH NO MONEY

Starting An Online Boutique Store WITH NO MONEY!


Sooooo… You popped on by this post because you’re curious to learn how starting an online boutique fashion store works with no money huh?


Starting your own online boutique store is extremely fun, super profitable, and a life changing experience forever.




It can also be a nightmare (if not done correctly). When I first started my store back in 2011 I literally had NO MONEY for start up. Let me be real and say this, I did not have money for stock and inventory.

photo credit: Janelle McLeod

photo credit: Janelle McLeod

In The Beginning of Starting An Online Boutique Fashion Store


In the beginning of starting up my online boutique store I did this by selling jewelry through a direct sales company. I fell in LOVE with their pieces. Then as my jewelry social profiles started to grow, one of my really good friend from high-school, Stephania, made a comment on one of my post encouraging me to open a boutique.


Then she inboxed me saying verbatim, “Janelle, I really like the jewelry you’re posting. You should start a boutique.”


My husband used to tell me for months as well, “Janelle you should open an online store since you’re doing very well selling your jewelry on the web”.


Still did not budge.


One day I went browsing at some websites that have clothing inventory out in California. I copied one of their photos and post it to my Facebook fan page. Right away it was sold.


I was AH-MAZED, and that was the day I was hooked!

So how do you start your online boutique store with you no money?


Year-2011: I started my online boutique store WITH NO MONEY! Seriously… But I TONS of products and inventory, orders placed, and ready for shipment right here behind me.


Starting An Online Boutique Store No Money

photo credit: Janelle McLeod

How is that possible?


I remember having three figures and four figures a month starting out. HECK, I would at times hit this in just one day online straight into my PayPal from my fashion store by leveraging the power of social media and I had my day job at the time too (working for NSH Business Office). Results are not typical.


…and I never mixed/maxed my full time joy paycheck with business, NOPE. Things were always kept separate. Never got a loan and did not use any credit cards (to start this online store neither) but by my God, all of this was absolutely possible.


Starting an online boutique, my first one at that granted me massive exposure! My Facebook fan page almost 10,000 fans under six months, got my first feature with Holly from The Work at Home Woman – how she did it, got asked to participate in numerous fashion shows, and had an opportunity to use my stock and dress the models (which of course gave me more business back to my website in return from the audience both online and offline).

Start Online Boutique No Money

photo credit: Janelle McLeod

Sales still kept coming in…


I built this online store from my third (guest bedroom) inside my house.


Since then, I have successfully built two more online fashion / boutique stores to date. But this, I assure you, was not always easy my friend and I made a TON of mistakes along the way. Your results may vary.


Thankfully I figured it all out and I know better now 🙂 …I know what works best with today’s online marketing trends.


I’m going to be very quick here and get straight to the point. Won’t make this some long draining post.


I’m going to lay out a simple actionable plan you can do today on starting an online boutique fashion store and how you too can get yours up and running by dinner time, without needing money, ton of inventory, and you can do this if you’re working a 9-5.


STEP-1: Get crystal clear on who you are targeting. I share this to say, when I talk with a few women and they’re just starting out, believe it or not but they have no clue who they’re targeting. They tend to say “my business is for all women”.




My biggest mistake with my fashion store when I first started in 2011 I can honestly admit that I did not know who I was marketing to. I did not however, never say “oh my fashion boutique is for everyone”. Nope, never claimed such thing.


I just kept posting stuff and people kept buying LOL. But it was easy. I was drained from always posting. Not posting the right stuff, posting the wrong stuff instead. I’ll explain more later.


..and whenever I would check my demographics and stats I did notice one thing that constantly stood out the most, it was my most frequent visitors and shoppers were young ladies between the ages of 24-30. So this is how I eventually discovered who I was marketing and promoting to.


But learn from my mistake first and get clear on who you’re targeting.


LISTEN, your business is not for everyone. You have to be super clear on who you’re targeting. It’s called niche. Have you ever heard the saying “the riches are in the niches”?


Yes, that is correct!


FAST FORWARD: Then when I started sewing clothing for little people with Dwarfism (my second online store), I knew better this time around. I was very clear on who I wanted to target. I knew who I wanted my audience to be. I wanted to do business with and for little people-adult women between the height of 3’10-4’10, age: 25-45, adult women & kids achondroplasia short stature. This business was inspired by my eldest daughter. Born 2007 a little person with Achondroplasia Dwarfism. I struggled and struggling to always find clothing to fit her.


I said, “God if I am struggling for my daughter, and she’s just a kid, then I can only imagine other little people-the adults are struggling just the same too?!”


That is when I decided to get down to work! I researched and discovered the adult women who are actually struggling. They have to cut their pants legs and roll up their shirt sleeves.

start an online boutique

photo credit: Janelle McLeod | World of Little Fashion

So at this point I went from four figures monthly online to now five (and all around my day job. At this time I was working at Hollis). I started sewing clothing all across the globe. I’m talking places like Australia, UK, Canada, and of course right here in the USA too. I was clear on what I wanted to do and with who I wanted to do it for. Money was rolling in DEEP. I was even offered to do a reality TV show, but I declined to do it.


I still sew clothes and people often reach out and ask me to sew clothing for them (and they’re not a little person. It’s always the average height/size people). I don’t do it. Because that is not who I am business to serve. I don’t sew for average heights. Go to the mall and shop. My point to this is know who your target audience will be FIRST and this will make your entire making money online process with your store super easy to market and promote to. Just understand, your business, product, or service is not for everyone.


Trust me, you’ll thank me later.


STEP-2: You Have No Money to Starting An Online Boutique Fashion Store So Get Started by Using FREE Trial Platforms. There are a ton of free platforms you can literally sign up with today and open your online e-commerce shop. But before you go Google and searching for the wrong stuff, let me share a few things with you here first.


  • Once you’ve determined what you will name your online shop then your next step would be to get your e-commerce shopping cart site…. FREE!


I took advantage of free trials and market the hell out of every single free trial resource to my name in order to get my online store up and running successfully. Use an e-commerce platform website like Shopify which has a 14 day free trail. However, I do have a special promo just for you when signing up with Shopify. You can get yours for a 21 day trial (instead of 14 days). Just click here and message me. I’ll send you a special promo link.


starting an online store cheap


With Shopify you will automatically get your own personal domain name tied to your store. Which is ok for you to use for now, but I highly suggest you go ahead and purchase your own domain name from GodaddyYou don’t have to use this right away.


(TIP: and through this Godaddy link I have for you exclusively, you can get your domain name “.com” address now until 07/08/16 for only $0.99).


Because with these e-commerce platforms you will get this long ugly a** URL name that does NOT look pretty or professional. Look, I understand you are wanting to do this thing with no money, but hear me out… I got this really GOOD hot deal where you can literally secure your own professional online real estate (domain name) for just $0.99. I know you can spare this!!


I just bought me a domain name for only $0.99 and you can too.


Watch This Quick Video Tutorial Showing You How to Purchase Your Own Domain Name Today For Just $0.99. Watch Me As I Grab Mine Step-by-Step!


Domain names are super cheap. With Godaddy.com you can purchase a domain name for just 1 full year at $11.99. FOR THE YEAR! But again, this my special link from Godaddy, get it for just $0.99 (even if you don’t plan on using the name for right now). Secure!


Once you get your own domain from Godaddy.com you can then mask the long URL you receive from your Shopify store to give your site a more professional complete look. Do a search and see of the name is available and secure the name right away until you’re ready to branch out and can reinvest back into your online store.


STEP-3: Get Email Marketing Going. You will then want to setup your email marketing campaign account. I personally use Aweber for all of my email list building. You can get started here for 30 days…FREE. You will want to setup email automation message in your auto-responder. Emails will be sent to your list daily/weekly on auto-pilot instead of you physically sitting at the damn computer typing these up. Especially for my working moms. Who don’t have time to do things like this. Allow the online tools to do the work for you.


STEP-4: Putting Up Your “COMING SOON” Landing (aka’ Squeeze) Page Before Starting An Online Boutique Fashion Store. This is to again, continue building your email list and while your coming soon page is up and going, you’ll be behind the scenes working on the inside of building your store.


A lot of times when people are getting started in the online space then tend to keep their entire business building journey a top secret… Why? I mean, you can share some stuff with us. Don’t let it all out but you will want to share tad bits of pieces of what’s going on with your newly found venture.


Like this is no different when you’re driving down the street and you will see an empty piece of land with a sign posted across it showing us what’s due to come, right? Then as time goes on you literally see the land transform, getting filled up… You see the building getting completed more faster and faster literally by the days… by the weeks..


Then what…? BAM! A new building is built. Could be a plaza, store, restaurant. Or whatever. My point is, this is exactly the same strategy you’re going to implement when starting an online boutique fashion store rocking the web, the right way.


Let us know what’s coming. Share pieces of your business journey on your social media profiles and encourage your audience to subscribe and be on the list to get notified when doors are open. You can even offer your subscribers a chance to win some thing special by encouraging them to sign up. This, I assure you, will help increase your list building significantly.


Start An Online Boutique Fashion

photo credit: Janelle McLeod | She Crate

Here are two landing pages I used when I was building my email list via a launch phase for my monthly subscription box business. The first photo, in the black was my first “coming soon” page. Then the second photo underneath in pink is when I began to change things up a bit and notice between the two I said “enter for your chance to win a FREE year subscription box”.


Boy…oh…boy! Talk about a simple small tweak gained me MORE email subscribers. People were opting in like crazy. Plus the thank you page I had tied to this gave the option for them to “share” and earn greater chances of winning. Honey, this worked like a charm. My list kept getting bigger and bigger. All because leveraging the power of social media and having the right tools + systems in place, the right way.


So for this, I used Instapage. Again, FREE for 30days and they don’t even require your credit card to get started neither. WOW! That’s MAJOR sexy! Click here and get started with Instapage free for 30days as well. NO CC is needed. When you are ready to officially open your online doors you won’t be launching to crickets. You will literally have people (from your email list) ready to shop and buy from you. Even if it’s just one sale, so what! You made it so be thankful for it =)


….all because you simply took the time to launch and grow the right way. You built your email list and you nurtured your subscribers. You gave them glimpse and pieces of what’s due to come and they were super impressed by your business and ready to buy.


STEP-5: Starting An Online Boutique Fashion Store With NO Inventory or Stock on Hand Can Be Done in Two Ways. Wholesale and Drop-shipping. For starters we will do this by wholesale. OK, juicy stuff time, Yaay!! This is what I did when I first go started. Remember I mentioned I started off by selling jewelry? But it was through a direct sales MLM company (will remain nameless). It was a nightmare. It was very costly and the company is very strict on how we’re allowed to market and promote online. I had to pay-in my monthly auto fees for their replicated websites. But yet we were not allowed to see not one piece of item on our own website shopping stores.


Plus to get started required a bulk minimum kit (which wasn’t even enough supplies). Ended up having to spend more money. I was forced to not promote online and instead do hotel meetings, home parties, selling via catalog orders (which is fine and fun doing catalogs sometimes), and then recruit people to build a sales team. WTH?! Who on earth got time for that?


I figured if I had to work this hard for someone else company, business, products, and/or brand, then something gotta give.. Something gotta break. Yes, sales and orders were being made with the jewelry company I was working with but I did not generate an “income”. I couldn’t never see a return on my investment, never.


There is a difference it you know what I mean?! This is a whole other topic of discussion.


But in this case, for you we’ll start with buying wholesale. I did, and I turned around and sold it retail. I learned this through them. I took this same exact formula and started visiting wholesale stores in California, but not physically. It was all online.


I simply took a few photos from their site, posted to my fashion pages, and simply asked the audience “Hey, what do you think about this? Yes or No”. And that’s it! Just a few simple questions and again, man… the feedback and energy was on fire. Truly amazed and that’s how I knew I was on to something. That’s how I knew I cracked the code. I finally found my winning strategy that broke even for me.

start on boutique store no money to start

One of my FAVORITE wholesale vendors is Lemon Tree Wholesale Fashion Place. TOP notch quality, fast delivery, and customer services to speak with someone live is just a phone call away during business hours Cali time zone. They speak clear english too.


The second way to do this, starting an online fashion boutique store with no inventory or needing money is by drop-shipping. Simply visit a drop-shippers website, signup to become a promoter for free, and begin showing off items from their online store. Usually the cost is super cheap like $7.00-$19 bucks per item depending on what you’re about to grab and when you add the item online to your Shopify store you will charge the retail price for example: $49.98. When someone buys, you will take the money sent to you, the $49.98 minus the wholesale cost of $11 bucks and place the order from the drop-shipping company website. Send the drop-shipping company you new customers shipping info and their orders etc. You will keep the difference which = $38.98. The company will ship the items to you customers for you. No stock. No inventory in your house. Just imagine how this will add up for you daily?


Now you can see how you can literally post items, make sales, and using none of your own money or having inventory on hand to do so? I did this daily and made a killing. I would make sales and use their money to fund the items. So as you can see, I had TONS of inventory behind me and I did not spend a dime on it. I made this process super fun and I was very creative. I was able to have multiple items in stock all because I purchased the items from wholesale vendors and turned around and sold it retail. Using customers funds to buy. Or I would simply do drop-shipping and have the company directly mail the products to my customers. In other words, this is like collecting preorders, right? Easy breezy.


STEP-6: Building The Buzz And Raising Awareness of Your Products.

Every day share something and get your online audience talking. Social media is all about being social. It’s not sales pitch avenue to go on there and vomit. If you start building the buzz by simply sharing a photo asking them for feedback etc, they will begin to find interest in what you have to offer and again, join your email list, and waiting for your online doors to open. I did not say post “get this deal now” Or “10% off now” blah.. blah.. blah.. That’s SPAM and nobody want’s to feel like they’re being sold to. Stick with the 80%-20% rule and you will win. This all goes back to step-4. But for now, while you’re working on things behind the scenes share stuff and get them talking. Get them ready.


I did this a lot through Instagram, for FREE! See how I was able to gain REAL Instagram followers which turned into more online relationship building, engaging, traffic back to my email list, website, and sales!! Click here to see this video.


See this video I did a while ago and see how I was able to generate buzz which = traffic to my site and SALES!!!

Same rules still apply inside the online space. It just works even greater using Instagram.


STEP-7: Mindset. Oops. This should have been number-1, period. Mindset is important. We are always talking about how “successful” we want to be or how we just want to make {more} money. But the one thing we refuse to pay attention to is working on our mindset. Fixing this will not only allow us to reach our goals, but mindset will also allow us to live life free in abundance. For me, I have a coach and I have a mentor, I read a book everyday for 30 minutes, I meditate for 20 minutes, I journal for 15 minutes daily, I give thanks and always expressing my gratitude, I exercise, pray, watching what I eat, and so more much more which allows me unstoppable success. I just shared this book called The Science of Getting Rich recommended by my mentor and I recently shared the book with others. OMG, talk about shift changing. NO LIE!

Success does not mean money. Success means the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Click here and TWEET THAT!

science of getting rich starting an online boutique

photo credit: Janelle McLeod


Starting An Online Boutique Fashion Store RECAP:

  1. Determine who you are targeting. This is called “niche”.
  2. Start by using FREE platforms. I highly recommend you use Shopify. (and bonus tip: grab your domain name for just pennies. I know you can spare this!)
  3. Build your email list. Sign up with Aweber FREE for 30 days. I use this.
  4. Put up your coming soon page. Use Instapage FREE for 30 days. NO CC now.
  5. Grab some photos from a reputable wholesale vendor sites you can also drop-ship sites and begin drop-shipping instead of wholesaling too. BEST options.
  6. Build the buzz and raise awareness. Get people talking so they can join your email list.
  7. Work on your mindset. Read books. Get a mentor/coach to help you start, launch, & grow your own successful online boutique (fashion) store (DO NOT try to do this alone, all by yourself).


…then you will be ready to open the doors to your own online store. Yaay! There is a strategy to this. DO THIS RIGHT and you cannot fail. Money will start rolling in.


Even if you hand-make your own stuff. Do this too. Follow the 7 steps and get your handmade items ready for your big opening day. Share pieces daily of what’s due to come. Get your online audience ready for what you have to offer.


In conclusion starting an online boutique fashion store is a no brainer and can literally be done right now, up and going, successfully before dinner. You just want to make sure you follow a launch phase blueprint layout. To many people are opening stuff and are like “surprise, I’m in business” then guess what happens…..? NOTHING! No traffic to their site. No sales. All because they did not take the time to properly launch the right way. They did not take the time to let us know what’s “coming soon” but they expected us to buy right now. JOKE!


No way my friend. With the digital age we’re in, more and more businesses are being built online. So if you’re not launching and giving us a “coming soon” behind the scenes of what’s due to come then you will be doomed to fail. You will soon start to generate revenue and re-use money back into your business to buy small essential and you’ll be able to just grow from there on. You will also need to apply for your EIN, LLC with your Secretary of State, and open up a business account.


WHOA! now this was GOOD deets! I hope you enjoyed this information I’ve shared.


If you are serious about building a solid online boutique (fashion) store, the right way, check out The Online Boutique School. It’s my proven step-by-step system where I show you how to start, launch & grow your own store, drive traffic, and make sales all online. Plus you get live weekly Q&A coaching calls.


I’ll show you my real secrets plus so much more! I limited access inside The Online Boutique School to just 200 lovely boutique store lucky mama’s.


Click this link HERE: http://theonlineboutiqueschool.com/one-dollar


Now go get your online boutique store up today!


To your online success,


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Wife, mother of 2 girls, Online Serial Entrepreneur. I've been making money from the internet since 2010 using my laptop, blog, social media, Starbucks Wi-Fi, iPhone, all while working a 9-5 (and building my fashion line for little people with dwarfism on the side at nights). 18 months later, doubled my online income, & fired my boss on the job. I love sharing my internet marketing techniques and strategies and I've worked with hundreds of moms in business teaching them how to position for profits online the right way by leveraging the power of the internet using today's techy stuff! Work less, make more, and live life with NO limits! So you finally experience freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment... Are you ready? {Read More}

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