Every day, Style Encore® franchisee Nancy Gardner-Smith and her staff sort through hundreds of designer apparel pieces, selecting inventory that often travels across the country and Canada.
The clothing resale franchise in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., has amassed a strong following of loyal customers far beyond its city limits.
“Ever since I opened the store five years ago, we’ve really leveraged social media channels, like our local Facebook and Instagram pages, to market ourselves and showcase our inventory,” Nancy said. “We started getting so much interest from our social media followers about online ordering that we realized it was a huge opportunity to drive additional revenue.”
Inside the Inspiration for Easy Online Ordering
Nancy’s store sells much of their merchandise in-store, but they also receive many online orders from social media followers across the country. Her franchise was one of the first locations to pilot online ordering and shipment.
“Today, we mailed 20 packages across the country, and we ship dozens of boxes about three to five times each week,” Nancy said. “A lot of our sales take place quickly online, but in resale, the online component to the business definitely isn’t a ‘must.’ The business model would thrive anyway, especially since we have people coming in every day to sell their gently used items at our brick-and-mortar store.”
Nancy even has sellers who drive hundreds of miles to visit her store and sell their merchandise.
“We have a great deal of customers who only sell to us, others who only buy and many who do both,” Nancy said. “The value proposition and incentive to sell gently used clothing brings many people through our doors, and after they browse our inventory, that converts many sellers into buyers.”
Benefiting from a Bricks-and-Clicks Business Model
Beyond the appeal of in-store selling, Nancy’s brick-and-mortar location also continues to bring in a wide base of customers, who say they will always prefer shopping in a physical store.
“A lot of our local customers say it’s more convenient to just come into our store, and they like that they can try on clothes and see all the merchandise in person,” Nancy said. “Being able to accommodate both local and faraway customers in-store and online is great. Regardless, I love owning a business with merchandise people feel good about buying.”
Whether the transactions are done in-store or online, Nancy says the most rewarding part of owning the franchise is the opportunity it gives her to help others and connect with customers.
“The women that shop at my store range in age from 16 to 80 years old, and they’re women from all walks of life,” Nancy said. “We always have people commenting that they would never have been able to buy a high-end piece with such good quality elsewhere. But since we can offer these items at up to 75 percent discounts, people feel really good about the deals they get – no matter where they are in the country.”
Offering More Value to a Changing Consumer Marketplace
Regardless of her customers’ proximity or shopping habits, Nancy says the inherent value of the resale model will continue to differentiate resale stores from traditional retailers.
“Everyone wants to save money and do their part to save the environment, and resale clothing stores let them do both at the same time,” Nancy said. “Resale stores give people a place to repurpose gently used clothing they no longer wear, as well as purchase others’ gently used pieces – both actions that serve to keep more items out of landfills.”
Appealing to cost-savvy and environmentally conscious consumers, the resale segment continues to outpace traditional retail growth. And, mirroring broader industry trends and changing consumer preferences, Nancy’s business has also grown 15 to 20 percent each year since opening in 2014.
“Digital marketing and social media have played an integral role in my store’s growth, but I also know a great deal of our success is just owed to the strength of the resale clothing store model in general,” Nancy said. “Resale is going to continue growing because no matter where they live or how they like to shop, consumers will continue to see the value of more affordable, sustainable businesses.”
To learn more about Style Encore and other Winmark resale franchise brands, contact us today.