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Lynn blum - CEO of Cloths Mentor

1. What is the resale clothing market like?

I have been in resale since 1985 and the market is always strong in both good times and in bad. It's fun to see customers getting a great deal on high-quality, name-brand "gently used" merchandise. They get an amazed look on their face... we call it the "WOW" factor.

Customers also love having a place where they can bring in their items to sell to us without an appointment. They appreciate that we pay immediately for the items we decide to purchase. Most of my business in the early days was word of mouth. The RESALE concepts I founded, have all grown and prospered in positive response to consumers' needs: Children grow up and out of their items very FAST, so I started once Upon a Child; teens are constantly wanting to change their look, so I started Plato's Closet; women change sizes up & down, they change their style choices and they need maternity fashions for just a short time, so I started Clothes Mentor.

2. What is the difference between a resale store and a consignment store?

Consignment shops make the customers wait for weeks to get their money. At Clothes Mentor, we pay the customer cash on the spot for all items accepted. Additionally, the customer never needs an appointment because we buy items all day - everyday.

3. Why would someone want to be a Clothes Mentor franchisee?

If you have a passion for fashion, it can be a very successful and fun business to own. It is unique in that there are no others that are doing this RESALE business model for adult women. Since Clothes Mentor is designed for ALL women (sizes 2 - 24 and maternity) it appeals to a huge demographic customer base. The established stores have achieved over 60% gross profit margins... this is far better than traditional retail stores. The franchise gives you a proven business system, training, and follow-up support to shorten your learning curve and keep you much better organized. This helps you to get a faster start with far fewer costly mistakes. They provide a computer system and software specifically designed to maximize the RESALE business. It allows you to better measure and manage your business, and it makes training new managers and staff much simpler. You can also get great info and tips on how to better your business through networking with the other franchisee's in the system. This can make for a more enjoyable and profitable business.

4. Do you believe that this is the kind of business that women would enjoy?

Absolutely! Think about this: You can own a fun woman's fashion retail business, buying and selling quality name brands and styles. While women sell their fashions to you to pick up some extra cash, you are helping other woman to get the most for their money in outfitting themselves for their wardrobes. The gross profit margins are great for the store owner, so it is a win-win situation for all.

5. What qualities do you look for in a franchisee?

A franchisee must not only have the start up cash to open a store but must also have a business sense and be able to work in their business to drive it and to train adequate staff, be personable and a good communicator to make relationships.

6. Do you offer any start up assistance for your franchisees?

We offer help with real estate location and leases, training, store fixtures, point of sale software, advertising, and on going commitment to your success.

7. Do you believe that women can have it all?

Woman can do everything and owning their own business is where I always wanted to be. My mom and dad owned their own business and they worked hard and long. I saw their work ethic and that is what I wanted. My mom raised three children as I did working in the family business. Two of my three boys have graduated college and run the family business today.

8. What keeps you going?

The thrill of the sales and the excitement of my customers and the community keep me expanding for new concepts and more stores in other parts of the town where we do business Columbus, and Toledo Ohio. I love to talk to franchisees that are successful and know that my idea has made so many families a business they are proud of.

9. Words of wisdom for women who are out to make it in business...

Be your own boss and own the store! At the end of the day you will feel fabulous. The corporate ladder can have that invisible ceiling that keeps you from reaching your full potential. Big corporations no longer have loyalty to their people. With owning your own franchise business, you can become as successful and go as far up as you want to. You don't have to stop at one store, you can continue to open as many stores as your capital and skills allow... and the earning potential and personal net worth growth is like no pay check you'll ever receive.

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