As Shauna Sloan worked to raise four kids while living in Ohio, she frequently took advantage of thrift stores and resale shops to help keep the family’s budget in check. However, Sloan says, she found the shopping experience in those types of retailers left a lot to be desired and got her husband on board to consider a better type of resale shopping experience. With a slew of ideas as to how they could improve upon the children’s resale model, Brent and Shauna opened their first store in Utah in 1992. Today, Kid to Kid has more than 100 franchised locations across the country, and Sloan says the company’s success lies in its ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace and adapt quickly to whatever the market conditions bring.
The difference between Kid to Kid and other children’s resale concepts is apparent as soon as a customer walks into one of its stores, according to Sloan. Whereas typical resale stores cut corners on presentation, Kid to Kid stores are almost indistinguishable from a retailer that specializes in brand-new children’s clothing.
“We’re so different from your typical resale store,” Sloan says. “We invest in high-quality fixturing, bright colors and clean displays, and light the stores like a specialty boutique.” All of this adds up to create a shopping environment where customers can feel comfortable and confident that the items they find there are of the highest possible quality. Sloan says the company also ensures that it has a better selection of clothing by paying cash to customers for their items and adhering to rigorous quality standards.
From outward appearances, Kid to Kid is different from other children’s resale concepts, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that sets it apart, as well. Sloan says the company’s commitment to creating the most advanced resale process in the industry is another significant advantage it has over its competitors. “It really comes down to our technology,” she says.
Kid to Kid utilizes a sophisticated buying program, characterized by the first-ever software platform designed specifically for the resale industry. Through this system, buyers at Kid to Kid locations can enter in items they purchase from customers and find the fairest market price for each item based on a system-wide database. Through this system, Kid to Kid has a complete picture of every item in its stores, and it is able to pay cash to customers who are turning in clothes, making the process very attractive for customers who want to sell clothing their kids have outgrown. Sloan says this ensures Kid to Kid features a wider and more complete selection of items than a typical resale store, and those items are better organized to make the shopping experience easier for customers. “That’s really the big difference,” she says.
One of the biggest challenges faced by Kid to Kid today is that children’s retailers and children’s clothing manufacturers overestimated the demand in 2016, resulting in a glut of product in the marketplace. As a result, Kid to Kid adjusted its prices in order to remain competitive with retailers having clearance sales.
“One result of this market glut of product is that we’re paying customers a little bit less for their items than in previous years because we have to charge a little bit less,” Sloan says. Despite these challenges, however, Sloan says Kid to Kid’s technological edge gives it immediate flexibility in pricing and payment, helping individual franchise owners maintain gross margins of nearly 70 percent on their goods.
A trend that Sloan sees working in the company’s favor in the near future is the rising popularity of children’s resale clothing both online and in stores. Through a combination of economic and cultural factors, families are becoming less brand-conscious and more budget-minded, and resale shops fit those trends perfectly. Sloan says Kid to Kid is experiencing same-store sales growth almost across the board, and the company is actively looking for franchisees to help the company continue to grow. With the advantages Kid to Kid has in the resale industry and the rising popularity of resale in general, Sloan says the company could see another 100 to 200 locations open up within the next several years.