Congrats, Carena! Good luck! Would love to do this myself, but have been scared off by the fear of damage to hats and lack of local shops. I would need to travel at least an hour to find much of a market.
The store should cover damage and theft. If your doing a contract vs. wholesale make sure it is in your agreement. If you want even stipulate the type of damage that you cannot repair ex: stains, people pulling things off that they would be responsible for. I've been in a art gallery shop for two years now and n a vintage shop for one. So far I've had no issues and if I'm worried about a shop I only offer wholesale. Don't be afraid to express your concerns. Congrats on getting in the boutique!
I wish you the best! I would love to see a sampling of your hats.
Carena, it sounds like you have a lot of wonderful opportunities just waiting!