From removing sharp-edged furniture to installing safety locks on every drawer, door and cupboard, any new parent will tell you that baby or child-proofing a home is a long and involved process.
Still, when it comes to your child’s safety and well-being, you can leave no stone unturned and no electrical outlet uncovered.
At the same time, a child-proof environment doesn’t begin and end with padding every square inch of your home. It’s just as important to ensure the safety of the products you bring into your home.
That’s why it’s so crucial for children’s retailers to consistently stay up to date on child safety standards, and make sure they only offer goods with the highest standard of quality and safety.
As a new mother herself, Once Upon A Child® franchisee Allison Spartis knows firsthand the importance of high child safety standards – and the peace of mind they can bring you as a parent.
“Many of my customers are new moms, and I relate to them on a very personal level,” Allison said. “I understand what they’re going through and what their concerns or apprehensions about being a new parent may be.”
Allison has two sons, J.P. and Grayson, who are four and two years old, respectively.
“Young kids can be a handful, but balancing family and work is actually sometimes easier as a business owner because you have a greater level of flexibility and autonomy,” Allison said.
Growing Her Family – and Her Business
Allison opened her Once Upon A Child franchise three years ago in Newnan, Georgia, but it was not her first experience with business ownership – or resale franchises, for that matter.
Ten years before opening her Once Upon A Child, Allison became a franchisee with Plato’s Closet, another resale brand under the Winmark Corporation.
Several years into owning her first Plato’s Closet, Allison opened a second location – which is conveniently located right next door to her Once Upon A Child franchise.
“I had so much success with the Plato’s Closet business that I decided to open another location a few years after becoming a business owner with the brand for the first time,” Allison said. “Then, when I became a mother, opening a Once Upon A Child just seemed like a natural fit for my next business opportunity.”
Allison knew she wanted to stay under the Winmark umbrella since she was already familiar with the corporate team, brand and streamlined business model.
“The Winmark corporate team is unsurpassed when it comes to franchisee support, so I saw it as the perfect opportunity to branch out with a new concept, but with the same amazing team,” Allison said. “I also knew that as a mother, I was uniquely positioned to give new moms advice and guidance, based on my personal experiences with different products I’ve used with my own children.”
Helping customers is one of Allison’s favorite parts of running her businesses, and she is a very hands-on owner. Because much of her client base is comprised of loyal, repeat business, Allison also gets to know many of her customers on a more personal and ongoing basis.
“It’s so important to ensure high child safety standards because I would never, ever want a customer to come back to my store with a safety issue,” Allison said. “We take safety issues extremely seriously at Once Upon A Child.”
Integrated Technology that Takes the Guesswork Out of Safety Standards
Since many products that come into Allison’s children’s resale franchise are gently used items, she makes sure they undergo comprehensive, thorough inspections before purchasing them.
“Winmark provides excellent training tools and tips, and all of the buyers at the stores undergo extensive training to become certified buyers,” Allison said. “Plus, the point-of-sale and inventory management system we use is constantly updated, in real time, with the latest safety standards.”
Winmark’s proprietary POS and inventory management technology, called the Data Recycling System (DRS), provides franchisees and certified buyers with up-to-date child safety standards and regulatory restrictions.
The technology is integrated with the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) to provide a constant stream of updated information about children’s goods and potential product recall alerts.
“The software system we use when buying products is compatible with the CPSC website, and we’re instantly alerted whenever a product is recalled,” Allison said. “If and when that happens, we immediately go out on the floor and pull anything that’s at risk. The proprietary software tracks all that information, and compares it against our inventory, which makes the whole process very streamlined and hassle-free.”
Providing the Highest Quality in Children’s Resale
Certified buyers also input the data and product information of each gently used item they inspect for purchase, so they can be sure they don’t purchase any outdated or recalled products.
“The education piece of it is really important to us, too, so if we inspect an item and find that it has been recalled, we make sure to inform the seller,” Allison said. “Just as we wouldn’t sell that product in the store, we also don’t want them to take home a recalled or unsafe item to reuse or give to a friend.”
In addition to staying on top of inventory and purchasing, Allison doesn’t buy certain items at her store, as an extra precaution. These items include car seats, helmets, flotation devices and other products that undergo more regular safety updates or could pose a higher risk to child safety.
“Even though there are constant updates to child safety standards, it’s much easier to track and make sure your inventory is the highest quality when you’re backed by a corporate support team like Winmark that has the technology to do it for you,” Allison said. “Our software takes all of the guesswork and
tediousness out of staying up to date on safety standards, and I’m able to have the peace of mind that I’m giving my children – and my customers’ children – only the highest quality goods when they buy clothes, toys and other products from my store.”
Are you interested in an exciting franchise opportunity in the growing resale industry? Contact us today to learn more about franchising with Winmark brands.