Former Dallas area owner reinvests in an Uptown Cheapskate store after a successful banking career
Recently, Amanda Walls, owner of an Uptown Cheapskate resale clothing business in Allen, Texas shared her story franchising with Uptown Cheapskate with us. This is her second go-round with the franchise as an owner. She sold her first location when her children were little and missed it so much that when her children were more grown-up she bought in again.
While talking with Amanda, she shared what she loves about the resale business, what Uptown Cheapskate means for her local community and much more.
What were you doing before you became a resale clothing business owner?
I was in the banking industry here in Dallas for 15 to 20 years. I started as a teller and worked my way up throughout the years from branch manager to my last position, Vice President of Client Experience. In this role, I was in charge of the client experience from over the phone to inside the branch.
You really climbed the corporate ladder. At that time did you ever think about owning your own business?
Yes, actually. I was there 15 to 20 years, but I did own a Kid to Kid store and an Uptown Cheapskate resale clothing business before the one I own now. I ended up selling the two stores and went back to the banking industry for 5 to 6 years and now that I’m back, I couldn’t be happier.
So you must have really missed owning an Uptown Cheapskate if you bought back in. Can you tell us a little bit about why you did that?
Before buying back in, I owned two stores. I also had two small kids and I was missing out on a little bit, so, I ended up selling one of the stores. I loved the first go-round, we were even able to make some money off of the stores. I went back to the corporate world and loved that job, but I really missed the flexibility that comes with owning your own business, as well as the pride that goes with that. I was really excited to come back, and I’m where I should be now. I couldn’t be happier.
What makes our resale clothing business so valuable in a community?
One of my favorite things that I hear customers talking about is how it’s nice to be able to shop so many brands in one spot. You can shop thousands of brands under one roof. And it really provides the opportunity for people who maybe can’t afford nice brands to be able to afford them.
It’s also green, which we love, too, and we really promote that. We have regulars that come in all of the time that are just switching out their wardrobe, selling and shopping to buy new clothes. For many it’s their first time shopping or selling, so it’s just neat to see their reaction: “Wow this doesn’t look like a resale store” or “wow I had no idea it would be so easy to do this.”
What’s it like for your customers to come into your resale clothing business for the first time?
It’s neat to see them look around and oftentimes when we greet them we’ll ask, “Is this your first time in?” And when they say yes and we show them around everyone is just amazed at the organization. We have new products mixed in, too, so it’s nice that you get the best of both worlds. We keep it really clean and neat. We try to make it a really good experience for people.
A friend talked me into going into a Kid to Kid for the first time when my kids were small. I said, “no I don’t want to go to a resale store. I don’t do that.” She was driving so I had no choice but to go with her and I remember going in for the first time and thinking I was so upset that I had never been in before. My love for resale started then. I started shopping there for my kids.
It sounds like through your experience you really care about people and you want to make them comfortable, which is an important aspect of franchising with Uptown Cheapskate.
I do. I think my staff feels that. I think the customers do, too. I always have employees that work with me through high school, leave for college and come back for the breaks. It’s nice. My staff is my work family, and the same goes for our customers. It’s neat to get to know the customers and we always try to make sure that they are having the best experience when they are in the store. It’s a lot of fun.
My kids help, too. My son is actually one of the team members, and my daughter knows how to do everything from the dressing rooms to the cash registers to everything else, so when we have big sales my family is here helping, too.
When your family is not all at the store do you feel like you have a good work/life balance?
I do. Of course, there is more to owning a business than just your store. Some days are long, but if I don’t have a good work/life balance then I’m out. I can’t do that. In the beginning, when you are figuring things out it’s a little bit heavier on the work side for sure. But I am definitely at the point where I don’t miss out on the kids’ extra activities very often so I am thankful for that.
Check out our full conversation with Amanda on the Uptown Cheapskate Franchising podcast here.