When shopping around for a franchise opportunity, stop and browse at the Clothes Mentor business model. Owners rave that they essentially work in a massive closet, heaping with a name brand and designer women’s fashions. It’s one of the best perks of the job, and the women who own a store (or several) know that the fashion-forward pieces they love are just stepping away every day.
Only the Best Will Do
It starts with the Clothes Mentor purchase philosophy, where only on-trend, nearly-new clothing, shoes, and accessories are accepted. Being super-picky at the onset allows store owners to carry items and brands they know their customers are craving. It’s not uncommon to find a Kate Spade handbag, a Lilly Pulitzer dress or a pair of Tory Burch shoes for resale. In South Carolina, Sadie Cherney owns three Clothes Mentor franchise stores, and she admits they turn away more than they buy from customers.
“We have to be careful with how recent the items are,” Sadie explains. “We are highly selective. We purchase [only] between 25 to 30 percent of the items our customers bring in for sale.” That philosophy requires the owners to stay on top of the latest fashion trends so that they know which items are in high demand. Once those pieces come in, the staff is the first to know — and that insider information goes straight to the top! “No matter what anybody says,” Sadie laughs, “you’re always shopping when you’re working!”
Once it’s purchased from customers, the high-end clothing chosen for resale is then priced at a fraction of retail cost — but only after the staff gets first dibs! Owners get a chance to wear what’s hot.
Chris Barnett owns two Clothes Mentor stores in Pennsylvania. She and her husband Stephen purchased their first store five years ago, and 18 months later, bought their second. That means Chris has twice the opportunity to snag the finest fashions, first. “You basically get paid to shop,” she says, relishing the fact that her stores are virtually huge walk-in closets for women. “It’s always having what you need when you need it, and what you want when you want it.”
Jennah Esposito opened her Clothes Mentor franchise in the fall of 2017 in Mansfield, Ohio. She loves the fact that she can go to work every day and shop as often as she likes. “When stuff comes in the door, we have our pick of the latest fashion finds,” Jennah admits. “There’s something new coming in every day.” Jennah dresses the mannequins at her store, and she’s so on-point with her customers’ taste that she says every day, people undress the mannequins and buy the entire outfits! She admits running the store can be hard work; however, she highly recommends buying and running a Clothes Mentor franchise for women who are seriously into fashion.
The Language of Women’s Fashion
In Little Rock, Arkansas, Jade Moore uses her fashion know-how to shop for herself, and her customers. She and her husband Turner own two Clothes Mentor franchise stores, and she calls them the “largest closets you could ever choose from.” She started with her first store in 2011 when she was just 21 years old and has embraced the concept of “shopping at work” from the get-go.
“For a fashion-minded owner, you can walk in every day and see something new,” Jade says. “It puts you on the cutting edge of fashion.” Armed with that knowledge, and those on-trend items, Jade and her staff can model the latest fashions while educating their customers on trends, fit and style. “It’s an education they want even if they don’t know they want it,” Jade explains. “We learn new things about style and the language of fashion. There’s a constant learning curve that keeps you on your toes.”
Owners don’t just rely on their fashion sense to decide what’s hot and what’s not. Clothes Mentor’s corporate parent, NTY Franchise Company, provides all the supporting information and analysis an owner could want. Back-of-the-house data is available to all franchisees, and that helps owners stay current on what’s fresh and on-trend. Sadie Cherney in South Carolina loves the reinforcement she receives from the numbers — almost as much as the designer clothes she has first access to wearing!
“They are always crunching numbers,” she says. “And that helps franchise owners. We know trends and prices. It helps us always to be ready to adapt to any type of change.”
That means, if a trend is on the way out, Clothes Mentor franchise owners will know about it right away. They can then adjust their buying — and clearance sales —accordingly.
Clothes Mentor stores in major metropolitan areas will naturally attract more designer clothing and accessories, but even stores in smaller cities benefit from the upscale resale model. Owners know immediately if a major label item is brought in and purchased for resale. Jade Moore’s two stores in Little Rock have attracted their share of big-name fashions.
“We don’t have big designer stores such as Chanel or Louis Vuitton in our area,” she explains. “When we get those kinds of high-end items in the store, it’s a serious threat for our customers.” And for the staff — who see the items before they are processed for resale. As an owner, Jade could be first to wear any available high-fashion or designer item.
Owners also have the advantage of on-the-job shopping for outfits to wear to major social events, last-minute party invitations or occasions when they need to look “just so.” Many Clothes Mentor franchises offer complimentary personal shoppers for customers, and owners can certainly take advantage of the service when they need it.
In Pennsylvania, Chris Barnett’s personal shopping team is made of up graduates from local universities who have majored in fashion and merchandising. She says they like nothing better than finding a perfect outfit for a customer, even if that customer owns the store! “Our personal shoppers’ mission is to show women how beautiful they are by finding clothes that fit them the best,” Chris says.
The philosophy at Clothes Mentor works well for a fashion-forward franchisee. It’s similar to putting together the perfect outfit, one piece at a time.
- The store curates the items brought in for purchase to make sure they are the highest-quality, sought-after brands.
- The staff is well-versed in current trends and can spot a good designer or name-brand piece the minute it comes in the door.
- Owners know that looking sharp is smart for business, so they often wear the newest and most desirable pieces that make their way into the store.
Whether you love to look well-put-together, fashion-forward or downright fabulous, owning a Clothes Mentor franchise can be an excellent fit for you. It’s a 3,000 square-foot closet, filled with everything you need to look amazing, while you fashion your future in the women’s clothing franchise industry.