Kid to Kid Franchisee, Michelle Talley, Shares Her Story on the Kid to Kid Franchise Podcast
Store of the Year and multi-unit owner reflects on success and what attracted her to our children’s resale clothing brand
Kid to Kid, the iconic children’s resale clothing franchise, is a business that provides a beautiful shopping experience for young families looking to save money on clothing for their kids. This makes Kid to Kid franchise owners meaningful members of their community – and no one knows this better than Michelle Talley, owner of two Kid to Kid locations in Buffalo, New York.
Michelle won Store of the Year in 2020, and after six years in business, recently scaled up into multi-unit ownership when she opened her second store during the middle of the pandemic. She was able to take advantage of the great real estate opportunities in her market and could see the bright future of Kid to Kid, children’s resale clothing franchise, as the economy normalizes and people start shopping in person once more.
In this conversation, Michelle opens up about why she franchised with Kid to Kid, why she felt ready to open a second location, her goals for the future, and much, much more.
Check out the full conversation here.
Tell us what you were doing before you became a Kid to Kid franchise owner.
I was in something totally different. I owned our family printing business that my dad started in 1969 and did sales and marketing for that business. I did that for about six or seven years and then I sold it and went to work for a data marketing company. So, I’ve always been in sales, but I’ve been on the marketing and communications side as well.
I had a friend who owned a bunch of teenage clothing resale businesses, say “you know, you ought to open up a kid’s store.” I researched it and found Kid to Kid. I got lucky. Wow, I got lucky.
What was it about Kid to Kid, children’s resale clothing business, that made you want to join the team?
I started researching children’s resale stores. There are two big players, Once Upon a Child and Kid to Kid, and I called them both. Once Upon a Child wasn’t warm or receptive. When I talked to Kid to Kid, they were wonderful. Dave Martell (Director of Franchise Development with Kid to Kid) answered every question I had, he followed up with me and really gave me everything I needed to know. Then I flew out to Utah to spend the day with them.
This would have been almost six years ago. It didn’t take me long once we decided. I gave my notice on a Friday, and Sunday I was on a plane to Utah to spend a month with Kid to Kid, children’s resale clothing franchise.
And so the adventure began right there.
Yeah, it’s quite an adventure, too, because there are some owners with retail in their background. I did not. I was blind. I really didn’t know retail except for just going shopping myself and it was very eye-opening. But, I got all the tools from Kid to Kid. So, I had a lot of great training and a great support system behind me.
What was the new franchisee experience like of going through training and going to your grand opening and getting established in business?
Kid to Kid provides excellent training. Whatever you need, they have. Because when you are blind and you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ve got a bunch of people and a bunch of different support reps that will help you every step of the way.
This is very much a hands-on business, wouldn’t you say?
Oh, yeah. Every part of it. It’s a different kind of business. You’re dealing with people’s items that are very important to them. These are their children’s things that hold special meaning and they don’t want to give them up. When they do give them up, they expect more money than they’re actually worth, so you have to know how to handle people. You’ve got to have the right customer attitudes to deal with these moms and dads.
It’s clear that all that hard work paid off because you very soon after became a multi-unit owner and now you own two children’s resale clothing business stores.
We’ve been in business for six years. So this past year, we opened our second store, right smack in the middle of this pandemic. Rent was cheap because there were a lot of empty buildings and the banks were friendly. We were thriving before COVID so we knew we’d thrive after, we just had a good attitude about it. And we did it. So there’s a lot of reasons. I don’t want to take all this credit, because some of it’s just luck, the area and having the right people work for you. So, this second store is bigger. It’s a beautiful store and it’s so much easier the second time around. You know what you’re doing.
That’s an amazing journey for a business owner, to become the Store of the Year in your second year of business and to watch your business grow enough that you could feel confident opening a second location in the middle of a pandemic.
We’re really fortunate. I’ve got some nice people working for me, too, and I can’t say that enough. We are in a good area, a blue-collar area in Buffalo. People love a deal and love to shop resale. That’s the key, getting those moms that really get it and want to sell you their great stuff. Then you’ve got the other moms who can’t afford the great stuff and they’re going to sell and buy wonderful things for their children at a great price. It benefits everybody, it really does.
It’s one of the things Kid to Kid really delivers to families, this idea that you can go to a beautiful store and there’s no shame associated with shopping. Everything is organized, it’s high fashion, it’s in season. And it’s name brands and they’re saving hundreds of dollars on clothing for their kids. So this is a really great service you’re providing.
It really is. Kid to Kid has beautiful stores. The racks are pretty, the floors are pretty, everything looks like a kid’s boutique. It doesn’t look like a thrift store. If you’ve been in our children’s resale clothing store, you’re amazed when you walk in because you can’t believe it’s resale. We also have new boutique items. I had a mom’s night out event where we opened up after hours and had wine and cupcakes for moms and a big sale to say thank you for Mother’s Day. People kept saying, “thank you for being here, you don’t know what you’ve done for my family.” You’ve got foster mothers that take care of a lot of kids and big families and they thank us for coming to the area. So, not only is it thriving financially, you feel like you’re doing some good in the community.
What are your hopes for your children’s resale clothing business going forward?
There are a couple of things, but we’re all in business to make money, right? I want each store to be a million-dollar store. And then I want to continue to maintain my role in the community that I’m a positive force. We do good for the community because we donate a lot of clothing and items to charities all over Western New York. That’s been a really good thing for our business so I want to continue to maintain that. As an employer I want all my employees to feel like “wow, I worked with them all through my college years and was taken care of and it’s the best place to work.” I want everybody to feel like coming to my store is the best part of their day.