As a new boutique owner one of my greatest fears has been sourcing items that are poor quality — and even worse, my customers actually purchasing them and consequently not being satisfied.
Currently my inventory is a combination of physical items that I have purchased in bulk and have in my possession at home as well as a partnerships with vendors who house the inventory for me. The upside of that model is that it allows me to expand the inventory that I am able to offer, the downside is that I don’t always know the quality, fit, and feel which is very important.
One way that I am able to prevent quality issues with my partner vendors is by ordering samples for myself and I also read review from other boutique owners. So far this has been a successful strategy and I have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the items received.. except recently.
I was so excited to have received a new dress that I had my eye on and decided to promote it through social media in advance of me wearing it because I was sure my customers would also adore it. As soon as I took it out of the packaging I noticed that the material was pretty thin. Although that’s usually a sign of poor quality I wasn’t completely counting it out because it’s been so hot outside so I thought a nice light dress would be great. As soon as I put it on the silhouette was cute, the length was just right, and the print and color were exactly as pictured. But then, that’s when I noticed it. My dress had a rip at the seam over an inch long. I was so disappointed, I had reservations at a winery in 30 minutes and had been on a week long camping trip so I didn’t have many other outfit options appropriate for my outting. And, to make matters worse, I had shared with my followers that I would be wearing that dress. Recognizing that this was a complete quality issue, I immediately removed the dress from my website and contacted the vendor to share my disappointment and dissatisfaction with them.
Although I was disappointed I decided to take this opportunity to share the real side of this business and to be transparent with my customers about my intentions on providing quality products. If my customers ever order a product like the dress I wore today I want them to contact me so I can make it right and ensure that nobody else experiences the same disappointment.
I am happy to report, however, that I have tons of great high quality products that I am in love with and my customers too! I am 100% satisfied with various vendors and labels and proud to offer those items through my shop. And always love getting texts and selfies from my customers when they are in love with their items too! And honestly for me, that’s been the best part of owning a boutique ❤️.
And for those of you who may be wondering if I wore the dres, the answer is yes. I wore the dress even with the tear because it was not noticeable and I was in a bind. But what makes this story even funnier is as I was working with the vendor to let them know about the issue I was reviewing the photo of the item in my shop and realized I was wearing the dress backwards the entire time 🤦🏼♀️.
Needless to say, this experience tore me apart (insert cheesy drum solo). But in all seriousness, many lessons were learned today, and I have many more to be learned but I am using these opportunities to become better.