The “are a” / “is a” is a British / American thing, I think.
At any rate, “boutique” in that context sounds like “stupid business buzzword showing little facility for the English language and therefore not someone I’d trust with my money.” “Boutique” can certainly be an adjective, but I don’t see it as an adverb, and in any case the four-word abstract noun pile-on is just too much.
I think you should either tell us or do a self assessment of who you’re specializing in. I don’t get cutesy shop selling knicknack vibe from boutique, but I’m used to hearing about boutique investment banks or boutique law firms. If your clients aren’t likely to be used to the word in that context you’ll definitely want to avoid it.
Thanks guys - all good feedback & gratefully received.
Ivylass - yes, I should have said, it’s a British company, and companies & other corporate bodies can be referred to in the first person plural over here. For example, we might also say: the government are going to have to raise taxes."
I think Fuzzy Dunlop may have hit the nail on the head - just because I think of boutique law firms / investment banks, doesn’t mean my clients will - and they probably won’t. More likely to think of overpriced clothes shops…
I guess I’ll have to go with ‘specialist’. It’s not a bad word, but it’s adding an extra 1 or 2 syllables to a phrase which is already a bit of a mouthful. Back to the thesaurus…
One of my clients suggested ‘bespoke’, which I rather like. Except, while my company’s service may be bespoke, it doesn’t sound quite right to describe the company itself that way? What do people think?
I rather like “bespoke,” but again, I hope all of your clients are British: I don’t think Americans use that word at all. How about “tailored” or “custom(-ised),” both of which are also lifted from clothing services but are more broadly applicable?
I’m guessing that whether or not you use “boutique” greatly depends on the area in which you’re going to specialize. In my area of business, “boutique” carries a positive connotation, whereas it may not in other areas.
I prefer specialist. There are areas where “boutique” is common enough to pass unnoticed, but in this case struck me as trendy buzzspeak.
The best alternative I could come up with in 45 seconds is:
XYZ company are a precise focus executive search firm.
That switches the description from the executive to your company…which may be good thing. It says your company conducts finely focused searches, rather than just looking for tightly specialized executives.
To me that’s an equally effective tact, and slightly less confining.