Warm, Shadeless, and Growth-Friendly: the Rarest Climate in Fashion
“We use this so no one can wear the same thing,” Ina said. “If they don’t check the page, they’re in trouble.”
It was a full five months before Senior Prom in Palo Alto, California, and my friend Ina was showing me a Facebook page created to prevent a fashion nightmare: the possibility of someone showing up to Prom in her exact same outfit. Ina had selected a trumpet-shaped marine green dress and was in the process of uploading a picture of it to the group page. Staking claim in this way would keep her look original and might even allow her to corner the market on the sultry mermaid vibe in formal wear, at least for one night.
A few months before this, I found myself in a seasonal educator training for a major fitness brand. A Black Friday spent away from a retail sales floor is, in my book, no Black Friday at all, and I was eager to clock in some extra holiday hours despite having two demanding jobs already. My mind wandered a bit as the training manager went through the usual discussion of discount policy, but snapped back into attention when I heard the words “don’t shop there.” We were being instructed to use our employee discount only at our own store, and not to give any business to the neighboring location of the same company, which to everyone’s knowledge was currently doing incredible volume and “totally killing it.”
The emphasis on competition in both of these instances, even to the point of purposely restricting or thwarting peers, is pretty prevalent in the world of fashion. With so much of the discussion in apparel centering on outdoing the rest, it’s no wonder that worst-dressed lists, Twitter accounts devoted to bad fashion, and trend watches predicting fashion failure have so much currency. In any given year, the forecast for fashion includes throwing a lot of shade around, and it’s well-known that achieving actual growth in this industry is rare, even at the very top. In fact, for most major design labels, surviving the first ten years in business is a known rarity, and the milestone is seen as just the beginning of real work.
Enter Nancy Kline.
An East Coast native with more than three decades of experience in the retail clothing industry, Kline’s path tells a different story from the cold and competitive narrative of most prosperous fashion tales. Nancy had worked for a successful clothing company for 32 years when she decided to venture into fashion franchising and open an Uptown Cheapskate resale store. Intimately familiar with the popular upscale brands carried at Uptown Cheapskate, Kline liked the concept of bringing those major brands to people at lower costs, allowing more consumers in her community to afford higher-end labels. Over the course of a few years, Nancy went from opening one franchise location to running four top-performing stores in Maryland, spanning both the Uptown Cheapskate concept and its children’s goods sister-store, Kid to Kid. Interestingly, Kline didn’t achieve her success through tactics of ousting competition or hampering the growth of others. Kline’s business model has instead been rooted in collaboration, mentoring and shared success. Knowing that she could push her stores’ prosperity by expanding to multiple locations, Nancy selected her daughter, Emily Schramm, and close friend, LeAnna Bush, as solid business partners. Together, the team of three toggled between roles of store manager, assistant manager, and district manager, training their staff and optimizing the processes as they became experts in resale store management. With each new store opening, they took on a greater measure of responsibility and found particular enjoyment in selecting which functions of the business they would personally head up.
“With running these stores together, we were able to decide which departments we wanted to lead,” Nancy reflects. “I had never done marketing, and I wanted to buy product and focus on the books. Emily took the lead in styling and making sure we were in tune with our customer’s needs. I don’t mind doing a lot of the things she doesn’t do, and vice versa. We work really well as a team.”
The growth fostered by allowing a partner to thrive in their unique skillset is further reflected in Kline’s impact on the neighborhoods surrounding her stores. “We are committed to giving back to the community,” Kline observes. “To see the number of employees we have brought in means a great deal to us. We now employ 60 people between our stores. All of our current store managers started as part-time fashion consultants. We help them grow in their own roles as we have in ours.”
At this season of her career, Nancy Kline finds particular enjoyment in letting others shine. In addition to regularly sharing her strategies and tips with franchisees at other Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid locations, she has relinquished some responsibility at her own stores.
“What’s happening naturally, is that I’m ready to back off,” Kline notes. “Emily and LeAnna don’t want me to back off, but they become more of the vocal and verbal ones, and take more of a lead as time goes on. That’s how it should be. I didn’t want to be the front of the house. I’ve done that. It’s about making room for someone to grow and lead in the way you want to.”
Within the cutthroat and sometimes merciless world of fashion and retail, Kline has carved out a warmer and more nurturing way of conducting business that inspires. While I might not have been able to use my employee discount at the competitor store last holiday season, I think I’ll ask Ina if she has any interest in changing the vision of her Facebook group. Prom is still a month away, and perhaps instead of keeping other mermaids out of the water, she can help them find their fashion sea legs.
About Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid
Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid are national franchises that buy and sell gently used children’s goods and adult clothing in an upscale environment. With over 160 locations throughout the U.S., each Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid store provides a convenient place where families are financially and emotionally rewarded as they recycle their best items. Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid are registered trademarks of BaseCamp Franchising located in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information about Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid, call 801-359-0071 or visit www.basecampfranchising.com.
UPTOWN CHEAPSKATE AND KID TO KID STORE GRAND OPENING IN ELKO, NEVADA
ELKO RECEIVES TWO NEW FASHION EXCHANGE SPECIALTY STORES.
ELKO, NV — (March 30, 2017) — Elko residents Stacy and Chris Fuchs are eager to provide their new Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid store with the community of Elko on Thursday, April 6th at 4:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to come check out the new stores, get great deals on fashion apparel, and enter to win prizes.
“We’re excited to offer this store to a community we’re highly involved in,” said Stacy Fuchs, Elko resident and store owner. “My parents raised us here in Elko and love that we’re now raising our own families here. Both our stores, Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid provide a service to families and individuals who might not be able to afford full retail price for quality items.”
Leading up to the event, Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid Elko will be doing a “five days of prizes” event on their Facebook pages: Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid starting April 1st. On April 6th, Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid, located 2072 Idaho St. in Elko will have their grand opening celebration starting at 4pm.
The celebration will feature face painting, live music with DJ chip stone and delicious treats. Come early, the first 30 customers to each store will receive a VIP Swag Bag full of goodies and freebies from local businesses. The grand opening party will have free tacos and fiiz drinks all weekend long Thursday through Saturday. Customers who RSVP on their Facebook event page for either: Kid to Kid or Uptown Cheapskate are entered to win $50 for them and a friend.
Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid Elko has been stocking up, buying the best gently used fashion apparel from local residents. At the grand opening, the store’s selection will be revealed and customers will be able to shop new and like-new apparel for up to 70 percent off retail prices. After the grand opening, the store will continue to pay cash for gently used fashion brands or offer 20 percent or even more in store credit.
For more information about the new Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid Elko store’s upcoming grand opening event, visit their Facebook event pages: Uptown Cheapskate or Kid to Kid or visit the store websites: Uptowncheapskate.com/Elko and Kidtokid.com/Elko. For Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid franchise information, visit the Franchise Opportunity page.
About Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid
Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid are national franchises that buy and sell gently used children’s goods and adult clothing in an upscale environment. With over 160 locations throughout the U.S., each Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid store provides a convenient place where families are financially and emotionally rewarded as they recycle their best items. Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid are registered trademarks of BaseCamp Franchising located in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information about Uptown Cheapskate and Kid to Kid, call 801-359-0071 or visit www.basecampfranchising.com
SALT LAKE CITY, UT— (March 28, 2017)
With today’s economy challenging the profits of many small business owners and retail shops, BaseCamp Franchising rewards its franchisees for innovative ideas. At the BaseCamp Annual Meeting held recently in Salt Lake City, Andy and Margie Gelernter were presented with the Innovation Award. This achievement celebrates the contribution that franchisees make to bettering the system.
“With the rising costs of labor and rent, small business owners need to constantly look for ways to improve processes and decrease costs,” explains BaseCamp founder Shauna Sloan. “That’s one reason why innovation from the folks who are in their stores every day is such an important benefit of being in a franchise company.”
The Gelernters are multi-unit and multi-concept franchisees with BaseCamp, and are constantly looking for ways to improve their Georgia-based stores.
Margie Gelernter observes, “I’m always thinking of different ways to make people’s jobs a little easier and to reach the masses. Overwhelmingly, communication is key. When we opened our second store, we realized we weren’t going to be able to be in both locations all the time, so we knew we needed to have strong communication with our team and with our customers.”
BaseCamp Franchising is the parent company of Kid to Kid and Uptown Cheapskate, sister companies focused on recycling gently used kids’ items and young adult fashions.
“Our company values state that we are better together, we are innovative, and we are fair,” explains Sloan. “When Andy and Margie Gelernter came to me with an idea to automate the physical inventory process and save money, it was carefully considered.”
After discussing it with the technical team, BaseCamp made the decision to incorporate the idea and reprogram its inventory management system, allowing each franchisee to save thousands of dollars annually. This represents significant benefit to the franchise because those savings can benefit all 150+ stores at both Kid to Kid and Uptown Cheapskate.
“Though I’m always thinking ahead, I don’t consider myself entrepreneurial at all,” notes Gelernter. “I thought about opening a resale store on my own before finding Kid to Kid, but choosing a franchise was the best decision we ever made. I have found that the structure and the system enable us and I feel that my voice is heard. We’ve made sure our own store is an environment where people feel like they can contribute.”
Uptown Cheapskate in Boardman, Ohio was recently awarded Grand Opening of the Year at the company’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City. The store’s kickoff event incorporated food truck fare, mystery gift card giveaways, the presence of local radio personalities and a strong local turnout.
“The response was overwhelming and amazing,” says franchisee Trish Couche. “We had a line all the way down the plaza and around the corner. It was probably 50 feet long.”
Couche attributes her success in large part to support from her team and from Basecamp Franchising, the parent company of Uptown Cheapskate, and its sister store Kid to Kid.
“We had a lot of help and guidance to start this store off with a bang,” Couche states.
Basecamp Franchising itself has been family-owned and operated since 1994, and Couche has identified her own family’s involvement in the Boardman location as the most rewarding aspect of the Grand Opening.
“I have been so fulfilled seeing my husband and my daughter grow in their roles. Pete is my co-franchisee and is at the store every day, and Taylor is the store manager. I’m really the backup!”
Couche explains that the Uptown Cheapskate store holds an important place in the Boardman community, providing a way for fashion-forward people in a small town to access upscale clothing labels at affordable prices.
“When we get designer bags, they really fly out the door!” Couche says. “I think that in our area, it’s a little bit unique because there isn’t a lot here. So if there’s something new, people want to check it out and they love shopping here.”