The Strategy Behind Style Encore’s Year-Over-Year Growth

Style Encore®, the women’s clothing resale store concept launched by Winmark Corporation in 2013, has grown to 65 locations in the United States and Canada. Although it’s the youngest of the Winmark resale brands, it’s a high-grossing business for franchisees.

With years of experience in the industry, the parent company of Plato’s Closet®, Once Upon A Child®, Play It Again Sports® and Music Go Round®, Winmark was able to use their influence in the resale and franchising industries to launch Style Encore with a strong foundation on day one. In just five years, it’s ranked in the Franchise 500 and the 2018 Top New Franchises by Entrepreneur magazine. The recognition reinforces the year-after-year growth and promotes continued expansion.

Underdeveloped Category

Style Encore was the next logical move after Plato’s Closet, which buys and sells gently used clothing for teens and twentysomethings. The Once Upon A Child mom is also the Style Encore customer so the three brands work very well together. Additionally, there is very little competition in the women’s resale industry. Style Encore is often one of the few options of its kind in a given territory.

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Style Encore fills a hole in the market for women who are transitioning into their professional careers and others looking to update their wardrobes. By accepting inventory from well-known clothing brands and creating a comfortable environment for their female shoppers, Style Encore encourages repeat business. Customers don’t feel like they’re shopping at a resale store. Instead, the strategic store layouts and trendy items on the rack create an atmosphere similar to your favorite retail shop. Shoppers can find a variety of their favorite brands in one store, rather than going from store to store in a mall.

Perfected Resale Operations

Style Encore came into the game with a proven resale model thanks to the four resale brands already under the Winmark umbrella. This led to quick return on investment for franchisees and jumpstarted growth for the brand.

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While some women’s resale options rely on consignment, Style Encore offers cash on the spot for customers’ gently used clothing. It’s a big draw for customers that keeps them coming back to buy and sell. When sellers enter the store, it’s easy to turn them into buyers with freshly earned cash in their pockets. They’re more inclined to shop for a new item while they’re in the store.

This developed method of buy-and-sell helps new franchisees succeed in the resale industry and grow their franchise.

Corporate Support

The experienced corporate team has been a large benefit for the emerging franchise brand. The right tools in place were ready to drive the brand forward right from the start.

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Style Encore stores have a period of time before grand opening where they are building their inventory by only buying from their customers. This provides the franchisee an opportunity to educate the consumer on the process and the types of things they will purchase. A member of the Winmark new store development team helps new franchisees through this process to create the best possible inventory for their grand opening.

Ongoing support helps franchisees refresh their inventory and avoid the common pitfall of buying dated items. With corporate support there every step of the way, Style Encore franchisees can ask questions and navigate around common stumbling blocks that independent business owners struggle with.

Existing Franchisee Pool

While other emerging franchise brands struggle with brand recognition and promoting the new opportunity to potential franchisees, Style Encore benefitted from the pool of existing Winmark franchise owners.

These franchisees, who were experienced in the buy-and-sell model, were some of the first to jump on the Style Encore opportunity. Their experience helped build up locations quickly. The franchisees were already armed with the right tools to continue growing the brand. Their work allowed the brand to hit the ground running and attract first-time owners and franchisee candidates new to Winmark brands.

All of these strategies have led Style Encore to develop an impressive average unit volume. The average Style Encore location sees $660,307 in sales and a $383,078 gross profit with the top 25% averaging $1,000,914 in sales and $576,476 in average gross profit* Its growth is due to dedicated shoppers who found a brand that fits their style for a fraction of regular retail price and franchisees committed to growth. Last year the brand expanded into the Canadian market and is experiencing steady growth.

To learn more about becoming a business owner with a growing brand, check out Winmark’s franchise opportunities here.

*The Average Store numbers are the 2017 Average Gross Sales and Average Gross Profit amounts stated in Item 19 of the 2018 Style Encore® Franchise Disclosure Document (as reported by the 50 stores that had been in operation at least one year as of December 30, 2017). Of the 50 reporting stores, 24 or 48% of the stores attained or exceeded the Average Gross Sales and 25 or 50% of the stores attained or exceeded the Average Gross Profit. The Top Quartile Average Gross Sales and Average Gross Profit only relates to 12 of the reporting Style Encore® Stores who ranked in the top 25% of the gross sales range. Of the 12 reporting stores in the top quartile, 4 or 33% of the stores attained or exceeded the Top Quartile Average Gross Sales and 5 or 42% of the stores attained or exceeded the Top Quartile Average Gross Profit. A new franchisee’s results will likely differ from these results.

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