How to Start a Boutique Business in Dubai?

How to Start a Boutique Business in Dubai?


Dubai has 3.33 million residents and is home to residents from 192 countries around the world. The fashion industry in Dubai is estimated to be worth AED 193 billion or $52.55 billion (this is the same as £38.61 billion). It is steadily increasing at a rate of 8% every year. Dubai’s spending on fashion, fragrances and beauty / personal care is one of the highest in the world. All these translate into a lot of business opportunity for those in the fashion industry, even if you are catering to a niche segment alone.

If you are thinking of opening a boutique in Dubai to take advantage of the booming fashion industry, it is a good idea to enlist the help of someone well-experienced in matters of business setup Dubai. Such a person can be an immense asset to have by your side throughout the entire process.

Steps for Opening a Boutique in Dubai

  1. Choose a name for your boutique, albeit one that will be approved.
  2. Draw up the company formation documents, allocating shares to each owner.
  3. Get the company formation documents notarized by a Notary Public.
  4. Decide on a physical space for your boutique.
  5. Enter into a Tenancy Agreement with the owner of the premises.
  6. Register the Tenancy Agreement so that it becomes a Tenancy Contract.
  7. Apply for company registration and a Business License.
  8. Receive a payment voucher outlining the necessary fees to be paid.
  9. Make the payment, get company registration & Business License.

The first step involves finding the right space for your boutique. Clients typically spend long hours trying on various items of clothing before making a purchase, so your boutique needs to be spacious. It must include at least one large dressing room. Your clients must feel comfortable walking around and looking at the various items of clothing on display. Your boutique must be located in a place where there are plenty of public parking spaces in the close vicinity, as high-profile clients are likely to arrive by car.

Location is everything. Your boutique must be located in the shopping district, close to residential areas. If you want to open your boutique in an area where lifestyle is the main focus, you could look at the Dubai Design District or D3. This is a free zone where a lot of luxury retail brands and fashion designers have set up shop. Alternatively, you could look at the mainland (this is the area of the United Arab Emirates that is not part of a free zone) if you don’t want to be located next to your competitors.

We believe that every business is unique, and there is a right fit for every business model. Our friendly business setup consultants can help you figure out whether the mainland or a free zone would be the right place for your boutique.

The difference is that a free zone offers comparatively larger spaces at lower rents,. You can also get the space of your liking with ease. The mainland allows you to be more accessible to your clients and your clients to be more accessible to you. However, rents on the mainland are higher than in a free zone, and it is not always easy to find the right space. Depending on your target market, there should be one which fits your needs. We can help you find the right space depending on the business model you have in mind.

Once you have found the right space, you need to sign a Tenancy Agreement with the landlord if it is located on the mainland. This Tenancy Agreement needs to be registered so that it becomes a Tenancy Contract or Ejari. In case the space that caught your fancy is in a free zone, you can sign a Lease Agreement with the Free Zone Authority that runs the free zone as part of the application process for company registration and a Business License.

When applying for company registration, you need to submit the company formation documents. These might be better known as Memorandum of Understanding in your country if there is only a single owner for the company. It may otherwise be known as the Articles of Association if there are multiple owners for the company. These company formation documents may sometimes also be known as Articles of Incorporation in your country.

They need to contain the name of the company and the purpose it is being set up for, as well as the name(s) of the owner(s). If there is only a single owner for the proposed boutique, you can set it up as a Sole Establishment (this is the same as a Sole Proprietorship). In case there are multiple owners with equal shareholding, you can set it up as a Limited Liability Company. If there are multiple owners with unequal shareholding (there are minority shareholders and majority shareholders), you can set it up as a Private Company. The company formation documents need to specify how many shares are allotted to each owner. 

A good business setup consultant can help you draw up the company formation documents and get them notarized, so that they have legal validity. He/She will also inform you of the regulations pertaining to company nomenclature. For example, you are not allowed to have religious names or the names of countries in your company’s name. However, nationalities are permitted. Terms like ‘Global’ and ‘International’ can be a part of the company’s trade name, but it cannot begin with these terms.

List of Documents Required for Opening a Boutique in Dubai

  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your visa, if already in the UAE
  • A copy of your Emirates ID, if already a resident of the UAE
  • A No-Objection Certificate or NOC from your Local Sponsor, if already a resident of the UAE
  • Articles of Incorporation / Company Formation documents

This is only an indicative list and not exhaustive in nature. Sometimes, proof of residency in your country of residence (if not a resident of the United Arab Emirates) may also need to be furnished. This could be something as simple as a bank statement or a utility bill. Your business setup consultant will lodge the application for company registration and a Business License on your behalf. This is done together, and you can expect to receive both in a matter of a few business days.

With that, you are ready to commence operations. A business setup consultant will also help you to open a corporate bank account, so that you can make and receive payments with ease. All the owners of the company are eligible for investor visas, and your business setup consultant will help you obtain these. He/She will also help you obtain dependent visas for your spouse and immediate family members, as well as employment visas for your staff.

Why Choose A&A Associate LLC for Opening a Boutique in Dubai?

At A&A Associate LLC, we have years of experience helping open companies on the mainland and in free zones. We have been of assistance to clients from 100 countries around the world, and have a good client satisfaction rate so far. We are backed by a strong in-house legal team and have made a name for ourselves as leading consultants for offshore company formation in UAE. We can be counted on for all help with opening a business in Dubai, as well as the rest of the United Arab Emirates.

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