Good value has been winning formula for Flight Boutique
November 30, 2010
It was a bumpy first year, but Flight Boutique owners Kristen Moss and Blaire Hayes say low prices have been the secret to success in this challenging economy.
The recession has caused some Main Street merchants to close and several businesses including Baranof Jewelers, Shabu, Silver Queen Art Gallery, Village Keepsakes and the Robert Kelly Gallery are still in business but have moved.
Flight Boutique at 562 Main St. where one of the Chloe Lane shops used to be is one businesse that braved the bad economy to open in 2009. Moss and Hayes celebrated their first anniversary Nov. 10.
Probably the biggest hurdle they faced was a challenge to their control of the boutique from a financial backer. With that settled in court, Moss said the business is operating within budget and poised to have a positive year.
Every Main Street business must form a budget to pay bills during the slow shoulder seasons. Moss said that is difficult because one must make profit projections for each month; if a period is slower than predicted because of weather conditions or something else out of an entrepreneur’s control it throws the numbers off.
For example, Moss said they overbought for March and April. But the silver lining is they can let that surplus go on discount. Offering goods at an affordable price for every kind of shopper has been the secret to the store’s success, Hayes said.
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"We’ve gained a good clientele. People keep coming back and love our prices," she said. "Our upstairs floor is mostly from $35 to $55."
Nearly everything in the store is under $100, Moss said. The boutique carries a fewer higher-end items for shoppers willing to pay for more expensive pieces, but Flight has become popular with locals and returning visitors because of affordability, they said.
It can be tough to let merchandise go for less than what it might bring, but an added benefit is quick turnaround, Hayes explained. When you can guarantee shoppers will see new clothing every week, it keeps people coming in. Moss said new shipments arrive three or four times a week.
"Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t come in whom I now know their name and what they’re looking for. It’s fun to see people coming back and back and back," Hayes said.
One thing that makes low prices possible is the nature of the clothing boutique business. Because most stores carry separate lines they are not in competition with each other, Hayes said.
A new boutique is not considered a threat, but one more reason shoppers will come back to Main Street. Every shop can set its own prices without worrying about engaging in "price wars," she explained. As a result, most owners are supportive of one another.
"It’s a team effort for sure," Hayes said.
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