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How Misfortune Led to Inspiration for these Children’s Resale Franchise Owners

There are few instances where the phrase “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade” rings truer than it did for Once Upon A Child® franchise owners Leigh and Billy Lowe.

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Prior to discovering Once Upon A Child, Billy was working as a consultant for an oil and gas enterprise in Ohio that had been slated to last four years. The project, however, was cut short. He and his wife, Leigh, decided this was an opportunity to start fresh in a new part of the country. The two had originally lived in Houston, Texas for 20 years, but with Billy’s love for the changing seasons, they decided to compromise and move somewhere in the middle: Knoxville, Tennessee.

Finding a Solution to the Challenges of Unemployment

Unfortunately, once they relocated to Tennessee, Billy ran into limited opportunities for consulting in the oil and gas industry and was forced to start up the job hunt. After going through the application process with limited success, he and Leigh realized they had the opportunity of a lifetime.

“Since I was unemployed and had gone through the application process several times, I realized, ‘why not open our own business?’” explained Billy. “It was something we had talked about before.”

As they began to discuss what sort of business opportunity they wanted, one of their two daughters had to write a research paper on a franchise of her choice for her accounting degree and landed on Once Upon A Child. She decided to share her research with her parents, and Billy and Leigh knew it was the perfect fit once they learned more.

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The Beauty of a Unique Business Model

While Billy and Leigh had experienced Once Upon A Child as customers shopping for their five grandchildren, they quickly learned how beneficial being a franchisee of a multi-brand organization such as Winmark could be.

“We realized how high the success rate was, how good the business model was and how much positive feedback there was from other owners,” said Billy. “We did our due diligence and decided to pull the trigger in 2019.”

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Along with their daughter’s research, Billy and Leigh saw the benefits owning a resale retail store – especially once the pandemic hit the United States. The duo recognized that while many families were now on tighter budgets, they still needed to buy clothes for their children that fit within their budgets. While no business model is completely recession-proof, resale retail business models have the ability to withstand the pressures of an economic downturn as well as COVID-19.

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“Everybody needs kids clothes, toys, furniture and equipment and we like the idea that it’s not full price and it’s gently used – we firmly believe there’s a market for it,” explained Billy.

A Symbiotic Relationship with a New Community

Along with the other four resale franchise brands under the Winmark umbrella, Once Upon A Child franchisees can take advantage of a unique business model that works in partnership with community members. Unlike big box retailers, Once Upon A Child franchisees rely on a circular economy cycle – with local consumers acting as both customers and suppliers.

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“It’s a uniqueness I haven’t encountered before, and I love the idea of building that relationship with the customer who will ultimately be selling to you as a supplier,” said Billy.

Billy and Leigh have officially started buying at their Once Upon A Child location to build up their initial inventory and are looking forward to their official grand opening. The duo, along with both of their daughters, are excited to provide a positive, family-oriented experience to every member of the community.

Looking to join a franchise that can withstand the challenges of a tough economic situation while supporting the community? Download our franchise packet today!