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From Store Manager to Style Encore® Franchisee

Rachel Barnett's spent her entire career with a Winmark® brand, starting with when she began at one of the very first Plato's Closet® franchises in Evansville, IN in 2000 as a college student. She had no idea that in less than 15 years, she would be the proud owner of her own resale franchise.

As time went on, Rachel became more and more invested in Plato's Closet. She changed her major from social work and counseling to organizational leadership and climbed the management ladder. She networked at conferences with the Winmark corporate team and was able to learn more about owning an apparel franchise.

By the time 2014 rolled around, Style Encore® had debuted, and Rachel was all-in and ready to embark on her next Winmark adventure.

An Opportunity to Franchise from Ground Zero with Style Encore

Rachel spent years observing Plato's Closet's innovative ideas and accomplishments. When she started her Style Encore franchise in Evansville, IN, she was bursting with excitement to incorporate ideas of her own. "I'd seen such success with Plato's Closet, and I knew Style Encore would see the same success," Rachel explained. "I also love to be at ground zero and be a part of something new. There's so much opportunity to create, implement and share new ideas."

Style Encore interior

Getting involved with Style Encore early on meant that Rachel felt free to experiment and try new things with her business while also getting feedback and sharing with her fellow franchisees.

Resale Franchises are Only Getting More Popular

Resale franchises have been getting increasingly popular. When Rachel started with Plato’s Closet in 2000, consumers and business owners alike may have been more skeptical, but resale has since entered the retail mainstream with no signs of slowing down.

Many sources at this point have reported on the steeply increasing popularity of resale and thrifting in recent years. The global market is projected to hit $77 billion by 2025. Apparel franchises are reaping the benefits of fashion trends on TikTok and Instagram. Resale is a way for consumers to help combat traditional retail's negative impact on the environment. Style Encore can capitalize on these trends — something Rachel was able to see from early on in her partnership with Winmark.

Style Encore interior clothing and shoe racks

Rachel's passion for running a resale franchise is matched by her desire to help others. She wants to make a difference in the lives of those surrounding her.

Franchisees are the Number One Employee

Having worked with Winmark resale franchises since the beginning of her career, Rachel was under no illusions that owning a franchise would be a set it and forget it business. "When you're the owner of a franchise, you're the number one employee," Rachel said.

Not only are franchisees the face of their business, but franchisees need to play a part in the daily operations of the store and the higher-level decision-making, planning and organizing that comes with business ownership. This process has also helped Rachel form close bonds with her team members.

"You need to share the glory," she explained, "that way you can share the bad times too."

Rachel's Style Encore store has seen success no matter the economic climate. This past year her store hit $1 million in sales, which she attributes to the strength of her store’s tight-knit team. Now more than ever, franchisees stand to gain the most success when they take care of their team members at all levels — from cashiers to managers and beyond.

Rachel looks for people who she could see as managers, no matter what position she’s hiring for. Winmark's collaborative spirit is what drew Rachel to franchising in the first place, and she hopes to inspire the same ambitions at her resale franchise.

Staying the Course

After the past year's success, Rachel is looking forward to maintaining her retail franchise's upward trajectory. "If anything, we'd like to expand (our) current location and make it larger. So that'll be something we do before another location."

While her Style Encore franchise is enjoying victory over the past year's hardships, and she's excited about the future, she knows right now it's essential to be judicious if she wants to sustain her business.

"We don't want to over-extend. It's important to focus on current success," Rachel said. "That's what my goal is."

Want to jump into a rapidly growing industry? Today's the perfect time to learn more about Winmark's resale franchises.