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How Big is the Resale Clothing Opportunity?

Owning a resale clothing franchise is big business, especially when it’s an Uptown Cheapskate franchise

The resale clothing industry is big business, making now a great time to cash in on the resale clothing opportunity. In fact, Fortune reports that “the fashion resale market is exploding, growing 21 times faster than the retail market over the past three years, according to research from retail analytics firm GlobalData.”1

That’s right. For the first time ever, Americans are choosing to shop for used clothing over buying new en masse – and it’s about time.

“The secondhand economy—a $24 billion market as of 2018—is projected to grow to nearly 1.5 times the size of fast fashion (retailers with high turnaround and lower prices, like Zara and H&M) within the next 10 years, hitting a $64 billion evaluation, thredUp reports,” Fortune writes in an article titled, “The Resale Market is Overtaking Fast-Fashion, Report Says.”

There are two significant reasons why the resale clothing industry is now mainstream: 1) While the economy is in an upturn, American wages are stagnant and have been for years, and 2) we’re in a serious environmental crisis, and American consumers, especially millennials and Gen-Z, want to minimize their impact on the environment.
According to Bustle, millennials thrift more than any other generation by a long shot, and for exactly the reasons mentioned above: they want to save money, and they’re aware of the damage fast-fashion causes to the environment.

“77 percent of millennials want to buy from environmentally-conscious brands. They’re also more likely to switch to thrifting for environmental reasons, compared to other generations,” the publication reports. “The mindset is paying off for more than just millennial wallets, too. When the generation that buys clothing changes how it thinks about shopping, magic happens. According to Vogue editor Emily Farra, ‘fashion is the second-most polluting industry in the world, surpassed only by petroleum.’ ThredUp found that the life of an item is extended by 2.2 years if sold secondhand, which reduces the carbon footprint by 73 percent.”

Resale Clothing Opportunity

Uptown Cheapskate is Getting Resale Right

Thrift store chic used to be a phrase that was meant to be a put-down. With global warming and the aftermath of the Great Recession, resale clothing is one of the only industries not impacted by the retail apocalypse caused by Amazon.

“There used to be a stigma associated with secondhand shopping,” says Dave Martell, Director of Franchise Development with Uptown Cheapskate. “People used to brag about what they spent on an item, and after the Great Recession, that no longer made sense. People want to look great and save money at the same time, and our franchisees really understand that. We’ve created a business model that allows them to provide a truly meaningful service to their communities, and you can do enormously well for yourself at the same time.”

Founded in 2008, Uptown Cheapskate has been growing rapidly for over 10 years, with more than 75 locations in 22 states. Our stores are unlike anything else in the resale clothing segment. We’ve modeled our stores on high-end, trendy retailers, so that when a customer walks into an Uptown Cheapskate, they don’t feel like they’re in a thrift store. They feel like they’re in the mall – only with prices marked down as low as 70% off name-brand items and with quality control that’s second-to-none.

“Uptown Cheapskate is a store where a person who has never shopped resale before, can come in and feel comfortable,” says Chelsea Sloan Carroll, Brand President of Uptown Cheapskate. “Our stores smell nice, and there’s a lot of open space. We reduce search costs for our customers, unlike other thrift stores, who make customers dig for items. Our items are organized by color and by style. This approach really pays off for customers, who become used to sustainable shopping and they come back all the time.”

Resale Clothing Opportunity

Millennials Love Uptown Cheapskate

While other businesses are failing to get the attention of millennials, Uptown Cheapskate caters directly to them. In fact, most of the advertising that we do in our stores is geared towards buying back their clothes, and that creates a relationship that is based on trust from the get-go because our customers feel valued immediately.

“We serve the 18-25 year old demographic perfectly,” Sloan Carroll says. “Our primary demographic is a college-aged person or a person just out of college, who needs to invest in a J. Crew blazer for a job interview but doesn’t want to spend a $165 for it. We do such a great job at presenting our clothing, and the quality of our merchandise is so high, that our customers cannot believe that our prices are so low. Our average item costs $10. That’s our biggest compliment. We want to convert as many people to become sustainable shoppers as we can – it makes an enormous impact on the environment and it helps our customers keep more of their money for themselves.”

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