Brand President at Uptown Cheapskate explains why the resale clothing franchise is set to explode
When you think about buying used clothes, do you imagine a high-end, sophisticated shopping experience? Chances are, you think about cluttered stores that make you dig through mountains of clothes of varying quality. The resale shopping experience is a unique one – and not because you’re rummaging through the fruits of someone’s past spring cleanings. Shopping sustainably, or secondhand is becoming more mainstream. ThredUp reports that 56 million women bought second-hand products in 2018, up from 44 million in 2017.
Millennials and Gen-Z are driving the growth of the $24 billion resale industry, which is projected to reach $64 billion within the next 10 years, according to Fortune. These customers not only want to dress fashionably for an affordable price but also want to feel good about the environmental friendliness of the transactions, which constitute recycling, after all.
Enter Uptown Cheapskate, an upscale resale clothing franchise with more than 75 locations in 22 states. Customers can come into any of our locations and buy or sell top brands of trendy clothes, shoes and accessories at huge discounts.
In this interview, Chelsea Sloan Caroll, Brand President of Uptown Cheapskate, explains the importance of providing a high-end resale shopping experience that exceeds customers’ expectations for quality and affordability, as well as delivers a more environmentally ethical way to shop.
Why was Uptown Cheapskate founded?
Caroll: I co-founded this brand with my brother, Scott, in 2008. We had worked with our parents for a long time with Kid to Kid and recognized that the teen and young adult resale industry was wide open. There wasn’t a player in the marketplace we felt was truly dominant and nailed all of the things we felt a resale store for our age group should have. That’s when we started researching and began formulating a resale franchise concept for fashionable teens and young adults. That’s how Uptown Cheapskate was born.
Who does Uptown Cheapskate serve?
Caroll: Uptown Cheapskate is a store where a person who has never shopped resale can come in and feel comfortable. Our primary demographic is teens and young adults. For instance, one of our customers may be fresh out of college, has an interview for their first job and wants to invest in a J. Crew blazer, but doesn’t want to pay $160 for it. However, they can come to our store, pay $50 for it, and look great in it at the interview. Additionally, we serve the 30- to 40-year-old professional who’s still in that style niche, as well as teenagers who want to dress cooler in the brands they love, but at a lower price.
How do you differ from other brands in the market?
Caroll: Both Scott and I have a really strong attention to detail and an eye for design. One of the things we’re really proud of with Uptown Cheapskate is our aesthetic with putting the brand together. For instance, when customers walk into an Uptown Cheapskate versus another resale store, they’ll notice that it smells nice, our stores have enough open space so no one feels claustrophobic, and they’ll find items organized by color and size so that it’s easier to navigate secondhand clothing.
I think it’s a lot like treasure hunting. It’s different from a store in the mall where they train you to look at a manikin and see an outfit already put together. You have to dig in a secondhand store. So as we were designing the store, and as we look at them every day, we seek to reduce those searches for our customers, which pays off in people who convert to secondhand and sustainable shopping and come back all the time.
Why is it a good time to get in the second-hand resale space?
Caroll: Secondhand is exploding right now. The media focuses on the rise of online retail shopping, but in reality, our stores have average ticket prices of $10. There is a tangibility about shopping resale that you simply cannot get online. When people come in and shop for clothing, they’re going to reject a lot, and for a $10 average price, it doesn’t make sense for us to ship our clothes online, and it doesn’t make sense for customers who want to try on their items. We’re seeing tremendous growth in terms of profitability and customer counts in our stores, and we’re seeing a tremendous rise in the popularity of resale shopping.