Manc mum-of-two Michelle Potts is on course to make her first million with her innovative online fashion business, Boutique Babez.
Michelle, 29, from Denton, started out with just £100 of stock which she hoped to sell from a shop unit in her hometown.
But, while sat waiting for customers behind the till, Michelle had the idea to set up as an online fashion site and hasn’t looked back since setting up Boutique Babez in August 2017.
What makes the site unique is that anyone can become a “Boutique Babe” rep – and sell items from the website on their own social media account – earning your own commission in the process.
In the first full year of trading Boutique Babez has made a turnover of £600,000, and in the year ahead Michelle says she expects to double that.
Michelle said: “I was sat in a shop on my own all day, so I started to create my own website while I was sat behind the till, and Boutique Babez was born.
“I wanted a business where other people could work from home and earn money as well, like I was doing. So from the start it was asking people to become a Boutique Babe and join the team.”
To become a “babe” you pay a £10 joining fee, you get your own personal website link, and then anything you sell from your link you get paid commission weekly.
“It grew really fast, faster than I ever expected. In the first year the turnover has been £600,000. We’re hoping to double that next year. We have bigger premises and we’re getting 20 new recruits every day.”
Michelle puts the success of the business down to excellent customer service, and the flexibility of becoming a “Boutique Babe” rep.
Michelle said: “I had people contacting me all the time asking how I did it, so I thought why not get them selling my clothes. They don’t have any outlay, don’t hold any stock, don’t have to send out any parcels, they just drive the customers on their own social media accounts but still make their own money from it.”
She models most of the clothes on her website herself in selfie photos, so that customers can see how each product looks and fits on a “normal person”.
The site offers a range of affordable, on-trend items – everything from swing dresses from £14.99, slogan t-shirts at £14.99 to sparkling party dresses from £22.99.
Within the first month of business, Michelle had already recruited 100 people as her Boutique Babez, and it has now increased to over 1,000.
Michelle started her career with the ambulance service at the age of 18, but fell pregnant with daughter Holly, now 6, and was unable to continue with the shift work. She then studied for a degree in public services at Manchester University, graduating at the age of 24. Soon after starting a job in a factory, she fell pregnant with son Jaiden, now 3.
It was while on maternity leave that she decided to start a shop business with her plumber dad Michael Potts.
She says: “My dad has always been the one who has believed in me, whenever I had crazy ideas.”
Now her partner Ricky, a former army officer, has also joined the business.
The Boutique Babez scheme is open to men and women, but has been particularly appealing to fellow mums, who have been inspired by Michelle, and can work flexibly from home.
Michelle said: “We have a Facebook group where we all chat daily. I hope I can inspire other people that you can reach your dreams if you put your mind to it, even when you have your family commitments.
“It gives people the freedom to become their own boss.”
Michelle is now in talks to design her own dresses, from the factory they use in Peterborough, and she aims to stock everything in size 6 to 26 on the site.
She said: “I feel like everybody should have the same choice of fashionable clothing, it should be available to everyone whatever your size.”
They also sell footwear, eyelashes, handbags and homeware, with plans to expand the range to menswear and more childrenswear over the next five years.
And Michelle has recently teamed up with Real Housewives of Cheshire star Ester Dee – who has launched her first lingerie collection for the Boutique Babez site (as modelled below).
What inspires Michelle? She says: “I get adrenaline from it, every time I get a sale it spurs me on. It’s all for my children really. And hopefully my daughter will take over the business one day and I can retire!”
The more reps earn in a month, the higher commission they get paid from 5% up to 30% – Michelle says their current highest seller has racked up £26,000 in sales.