WHY WOMEN FRANCHISE OWNERS LEFT THEIR CAREERS TO BUY A RESALE CLOTHING FRANCHISE
It takes more than a leap of faith for a woman to jettison her former career and buy a clothing franchise. It takes guts, hard work, and the right timing. But it happens, and the rewards can be far greater than the risk. Several NTY Franchise company franchise owners have followed their passion to a career in women’s fashion, and they’ve never looked back.
Pharmaceuticals to Fashion
Chris Barnett is nearly 50 and had worked for years as a partner in a law firm before becoming an executive director at a large pharmaceutical company. Five years ago, however, she and her attorney husband Stephen decided they wanted to do something to show their daughter what they truly believe in, and it wasn’t the corporate grind.
“We believe in women helping women,” Chris explains, so they purchased their first Clothes Mentor women’s clothing franchise in Pennsylvania. “Our franchise enables our 10-year-old daughter (Eliza) to see women cheering each other on.” The business model intrigued them: The store purchases designer clothing and upscale fashion from local women, then re-sells the items at a fraction of retail prices to customers who appreciate the value. Everyone wins.
The couple knew they wanted to teach Eliza the value of a dollar. To do that, they show her how women save money at their store by purchasing gently-used, name brand clothing at a much lower cost than they’d pay at the mall. The Barnett’s also enjoy practicing the “mentoring” aspect of their Clothes Mentor franchise. “Stephen is good with development,” Chris says, “and he works with the young team members to help build their portfolios.”
In addition, the couple relies on the mentoring and support they get from NTY corporate directors. In fact, they liked the concept so much, they now own two Clothes Mentor women’s clothing franchises, in Westchester and Springfield, Pennsylvania.
From the Classroom to the Dressing Room
While Chris and Stephen left high-powered careers, 52-year-old Angie Geldert gave up a 20-plus year career as an elementary school teacher to purchase a Children’s Orchard kids’ clothing franchise in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She and her accountant husband Jeff had moved from Minnesota, where the education system was much different. After teaching for a year in her new town, she felt ineffective in the classroom and needed a change.
“I wanted to still be part of the community, help people, and still have contact with families and kids,” she recalls. The Children’s Orchard franchise was the perfect fit, offering her the connections she craved, as well as opportunities for a first-time franchise company owner to learn quickly.
“A competitor moved in down the road and opened two weeks ahead of us,” Angie says, “so there were unforeseen challenges at startup.” She had to figure out a way to stand out in her town’s growing children’s upscale resale market. She credits the NTY corporate structure with helping her feel supported at every turn. “Through my discovery process, other ladies were so willing to give me information to help start and grow the business,” she remembers. “I felt we had a safety net, from corporate and from other franchise owners.” She also doubled down on customer service and educating her staff, which has paid off in impressive sales growth each month.
It’s truly a family business, with Jeff doing the books and Angie and her college-age daughter running the store. Angie sets the schedule, giving her the flexibility, she needs as a busy working mom. She is available to drive her daughter to doctor’s appointments and has time to shop for groceries and hobnob with customers she runs into in town. She believes opening the Children’s Orchard franchise has helped her family acclimate to their new neighborhood — and become a valuable part of the Murfreesboro community.
Mom and Mentor
For 29-year-old Jade Moore, graduating from a bible college eight years ago brought about an epiphany that led her to purchase a Clothes Mentor franchise. She thought she would become a church staff member, but a visit to a resale clothing store prompted her to take a totally different career path.
“I saw the opportunity to own this franchise as a blessing,” Jade confesses. “We wanted to fulfill a need for a resale store in our area.” She and her mother loved the concept of bringing upscale and designer fashions to Little Rock, Arkansas. Her parents helped her with her initial investment, but Jade’s hard work and perseverance made the business a success. So, what’s her secret? “We buy for every type of customer: business women, stay-at-home moms, plus-size and even pregnant women.” That’s a policy Jade herself appreciates; because this mother of three is expecting her fourth child in a few months — and yes, she’s a Clothes Mentor customer!
The NTY corporate philosophy has an even deeper meaning for Jade. “Clothes Mentor helps support the woman who is comfortable in her current body,” she explains, “and those going through transitions such as a weight loss journey.” It’s that positive reinforcement for all women, plus a dedication to staying on the cutting edge of fashion, that keeps her excited about coming to work.
Jade is confident her staff doesn’t miss out on any type of style, even though Little Rock has not yet attracted large, big-name boutiques. “We don’t have big designer stores like Chanel or Louis Vuitton,” she says. “But when we do get those kinds of high-end items in the store, it’s a serious treat for our customers!” She says her recurring social media bursts and great word-of-mouth advertising keep her customers apprised of every exciting new arrival. They get designer fashions at resale prices, and those higher-end items often sell quickly.
Despite her early success as a Clothes Mentor owner, this multi-tasking mom hesitated when her father suggested she purchase a Children’s Orchard franchise for Little Rock. She worried she might not have the time and energy to devote to two business while she and her husband were raising their young family. “But we got a great location right next to Clothes Mentor and it’s great for me and my children” she admits. She opened her kids’ resale franchise in April of 2017 and is excited to see the items customers bring in for purchase. The Moore’s had sold all of their baby items after their youngest turned two. Now, Jade can purchase everything she needs, gently-used, for her new baby. And best of all, she says, she can sell back all of the clothes, toys and gear to Children’s Orchard when she no longer needs them!
Jade, Angie and Chris come from diverse backgrounds, but they all share a love for their new career in upscale resale. Each woman followed a dream to fashion a balanced life for her family and help her community in the process. Each works hard to keep her store running smoothly. And each one says she’s happy she made the choice to leave her past job behind and create an exciting future with her NTY Franchise business.