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It can be a lonely journey being a business owner. Even with family, friends and staff around to support you, there are unique challenges we face as independent retailers and sometimes all you need is to connect with people who can relate.

We've put together a list of communities, hubs, YouTube channels and online forums filled with experts and peers who can help and support you along the way. 



The Boutique Hub


The Boutique Hub home page

The Boutique Hub is the world’s largest boutique industry community, connecting boutique retailers, eCommerce retailers, wholesale brands, product makers, and industry services and experts. The Hub provides daily connection, strategy, training, wholesale shopping, live events, and a voice for the boutique industry.

The Boutique Hub has a paid community offering. As a member, you'll find over 7,500 peers to connect with. You'll access hundreds of trainings for all levels of business, daily content calendars, social media engagement libraries, and guest experts with live trainings weekly.

But if you're not looking to pay, there is a wealth of free content on their website too. Plus, you can follow The Boutique Hub on YouTube for regular updates and tips.


MeetUp groups


Screenshot of a MeetUp search

MeetUp groups are a great way to connect with other retailers and business owners. Use MeetUp to search for events and communities in your area, and join the groups that resonate with you! Some are structured — sponsored by retail service providers — others are more casual get-togethers with peers.

Whatever kind of group you're looking for, especially if you're based near a large city, you're bound to find it here.




RETAILMavens home page

If you're looking for training and 1-1 support, look no further than Cathy Donovan Wagner at RETAILMavens. As a former retailer, Cathy knows how much running a business can have you losing sleep... That's why her business focus is more profit, better sleep.

While this is a more traditional consultation approach, RETAILMavens also has a YouTube channel and Facebook community for those more interested in learning from afar, or connecting with likeminded business owners.


Start A Boutique


Start A Boutique home page

Are you a woman looking to start or scale your retail business? Raquel at Start A Boutique is dedicated to helping other women become successful boutique entrepreneurs.

After working at a 9-5 that she wasn't passionate about, she started her first online boutique in 2006 (at the age of 23!) which quickly expanded into a brick + mortar location 6 months later and another location a year after that.

Starting a new business is no small feat, and she's been through A LOT of trial and error (and money!) to get it right. So for the past 8 years, she has consolidated all her learnings and set up Start A Boutique to help others create their own thriving boutique business.

Raquel has a YouTube channel, Facebook group and Instagram profile so you can dive right in.


Reddit: r/smallbusiness


Screenshot of the small business subreddit

While not retail-specific, r/smallbusiness is a great place to go if you are looking for advice or guidance from other business owners. From employee Christmas gift ideas to lawsuits, other Redditors can share their experience or ideas with you and offer support.

Reddit is anonymous (unless you choose to share identifying details of your business) so it's a great place to ask anything or just have a vent.


How To Run A Retail Store


How To Run A Retail Store home page


Sara Stonecipher of How To Run A Retail Store has spent 20+ years growing, learning, failing, succeeding, and refining her retail skills. Now, she's on a mission to help other business owners work through all the challenges and delights of growing a business. 

With all her changes over the years, her retail company has doubled in size and is making over a million dollars a year in revenue. She's focused on being an active participant in her local community, creating an immersive shopping experience for the people who live in her city.

You can check out Sara's workshop and courses on her website, or follow her channel on Youtube.


The Small Retailer Network


Small Retailer Community home page

The Small Retailer Network in Dubai is a free membership community that host coffee catch-ups, events and workshops for independent retailers. Whether you are an established retailer or just starting your business journey, their community is there to support and encourage you to succeed.

If you're non-local, they also have a range of places you can ask questions, access support and get advice from the community, including a Whatsapp group chat, Instagram profile and Facebook page.


WhizBang! Retail


WhizBang home page


WhizBang! Retail is all about practical, tactical, money-making ideas and customer-focused strategies.

On their Youtube channel, retail experts Bob and Susan Negen offer weekly retail tips, world-class online training, business-building events, and transformational programs that help retailers create the wildly successful stores of their dreams.

WhizBang! are definitely more focused on training and consultation, but they have a rich selection of content on the YouTube channel above, and you can follow them on Instagram and Facebook too.


Retail Minded


Retail Minded conference page


Looking for more of an event or conference? Retail Minded has you covered with the Independent Retailer Conference. Attendees can expect to learn from industry leaders, retail decision makers, technology providers and more. Talks cover the latest must-know insights to help retailers, marketplace sellers, e-commerce operators and other industry professionals thrive.

Beyond the conference, Retail Minded introduces retailers to leading industry resources, merchant specific news and timely education to help independent businesses – both online and offline – thrive in their unique retail goals.


Retail Customer Experience


Retail Customer Experience webinar

Retail Customer Experience's on-demand, evergreen webinars cover a wide range of topics, from increasing holiday conversion rates to leveraging AI. Some are more relevant to larger retailers, but much of the content is suitable for any retailer.

It's also worthwhile checking out their events around the US, especially if you're interested in technology and innovation in the retail and hospitality sector.

Other communities and forums:


United States

National Retail Federation


The Federation of Independent Retailers 

British Independent Retailers Association


Retail Council of Canada


Australian Retailers Association

Retail Leaders Forum

New Zealand

Retail Leaders Forum


Have I missed one?

Are you part of any communities, forums or networking groups that I've missed? Let me know at marketing@marsello.com.



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