Sweet Child O’ Mine!

Dec 02, 2010 No Comments

Business is booming for this bountiful storeowner. While her current store, Elegant Child, might have opened in December 2008, she’s been in the world of children’s apparel for 26 years and doesn’t show signs of stopping.

elegant-childCorinne Barth is an extremely well versed store/boutique owner. With a husband as a minister, they’ve had to move several times in accordance to the churches he’s been called to work at. Due to this pattern of consistent relocation, Corinne has had the opportunity to open 5 individual stores, watch them grow successfully and then sell them before changing cities.

Now, finally back in her hometown of Boca Raton, she has opened Elegant Child, a store for infants, toddlers and young children. When we asked about how the doom and gloom of the economy had affected her business she was quick to answer, “We are recession proof! We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in the economy, but never really feel it. A person might stop buying for themselves when money is tight because the new coats or shoes are not a necessity, but children are still growing and they need the next size and as a parent one feels the need to provide… and remember, Grandma’s still buying Christmas gifts!”


Owning a store is no easy feat and Corinne is very clear about the amount of work it takes to get the job done. “It takes about 3-4 years to get your store know and relevant. You have to love what you do because starting up is a lot of work and that work continues for the first few years. Through experience I’ve been able to help so many friends do it and even my daughter. There’s just something about watching a new store being birthed and then becoming successful – I love it!”

elegant-childSo, let’s get right to it then! In Corinne’s own words she tell us what sets her apart and keeps the store doors open, “A new store you need to have enough intriguing stock to get your first customers in the door and purchasing. This large amount of inventory needs to be moved, but you don’t yet have the client base to help move the stock. The biggest challenge is coming up with ideas to help move sales. Figuring out that formula has helped me over the years.  The first few years you have to focus on how you are going to move stock before the next season begins. Our strategy is to just have 2 big sales a year in which we move our stock starting at 25% off, then 40% off, all the way up to the last week when it rises to 50% off.  Then we start the next season, do another sale at the end, and anything that’s left over from the whole year goes to 70% off.  Now at least I’m getting my money out and am able to invest it into the new merchandise for the new season.”


These Elegant Child sales not only attract more customers, but they are a different type of customer too.  “This clientele are people on our mailing list who would love to shop at our store, but maybe can’t always afford it. So, that first day of our sales runs for a week and after we send the email there will be at least 20 people waiting outside the store door on the first day knowing they are going to get great deals at cost. We are being strategic, as are our customers.” Another reason for Elegant Child’s success is their ability to offer high quality products at a fair price.

elegant-childMoney is always one of the biggest obstacles to starting a business. When speaking with Corinne we were so gracious for the amount of advice and detail she was willing to share through her own experience. When asked what amount of money it would take to start a company such as Elegant Child, Corinne gave a wide ranch of examples of women she knows who started their own stores in including herself. She states that some women have been able to take out home equity loans and start up with just $25,000. Other women might start with $50 – 100,000, as they don’t necessarily need to use their immediate profits to pay bills (this might not be their only source of income or they lean on their husbands salaries) and can put their first profits right back into the store to purchase more inventory. Then there are bigger store starters who have larger ranges in clothing sizes and maybe even shoe departments; these women will start with about $250,000.


“I have learnt to find creative answers to problems. Most of what I know I have gained through experience. People don’t go into this industry thinking they’re going to get rich quick. It takes a lot of hard work and the profits only really start rolling in after a few years. You have to be the type of personality that is willing to work it and be hands on – all in, all the time! The reward is so worth it, it just takes time.” We told Corinne how we quite admired her over all knowledge and experience she had shared in this interview, but she was quick to say, ”By no means am I a pro, instead I’ve just found a formula that works for me and I’m happy to pass it along to anyone looking to learn and own a store for themselves.”

Written by: Bridgette




Cities, Fashion, Ft. Lauderdale
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