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What Is a Boutique and How is It Different Than Retail?

Posted on October 21 2022

What is a boutique and how is it different than retail? Let's dive in! 

In the mid-2000s, the word "Boutique" began popping up in towns and cities all over the country. When you heard the term, it sounded special and signified a different kind of shopping experience, which it is—especially here at 308. Boutiques became popular and garnered the attention of women of all ages and demographics. And they were built as unique places for females with various lifestyles and interests to shop, mix, and mingle. 

If you've been into one of our two 308 stores or any boutique for that matter, then you have experienced the welcoming atmosphere and personalized attention by store staff. From the moment you walk in, you are greeted with a warm hello followed by the genuine care and concern for what you are shopping for. Boutique staff are eager to assist you, whether you are looking for a casual piece or shopping for a specific event or occasion.

So what is a Boutique? 

A boutique is a store specifically shopped for and stocked with certain markets and niches in mind. For instance, our sweet spot at 308 is women who want to look and feel good while being budget conscious. We pride ourselves on carrying high-quality lines and brands that are at reasonable price points and affordable to many.

And how is a boutique different than retail?

A boutique owner shops with their friend and family in mind. This is why each store you shop at carries different pieces that are unique to the boutique's own personal style and aesthetic. When Erin and the team go to Market to purchase for each store, they choose items carefully and consider the women who will be wearing them. What does she do? What are her hobbies? Is she a busy mom on the go? Is she a single woman focused on her career? Is she a post-graduate young lady still trying to figure this life thing out? 

Those questions and that mentality are what goes into each and every piece we bring into 308. 

Why shop at a boutique?

Boutiques are often locally-owned and supporting local small businesses is paramount to thriving communities. Boutiques are also commonly female-owned, which means they are trailblazing their way through an industry that is heavily dominated by male owners, presidents, and CEOs. 

Boutiques also serve as community gathering spaces for local events for nonprofit organizations, church and community groups, and for other small, locally-owned businesses to collaborate and partner. We love the opportunity to co-host events and raise awareness for causes and missions that aim to improve and uplift our community. 

Boutique vs. Big Box

Boutiques provide a selection of unique, one-of-a-kind items; from clothing and shoes to homeware and decor. Not only do they offer their customers fabulous options and shop with them in mind, but boutique owners and their teams also provide ultra-customer service. Boutiques aim to get to know their customers on a personal level truly.

They assist with your shopping needs but also offer a listening ear. Friendships and comradery develop and form in boutiques. Big box retail stores typically don't create these intimate customer relation experiences. Big box stores buy for the masses, while boutique owners buy for their neighbors, family, sisters, and best friends.