Kid to Kid Franchise Review: Meet Michelle Talley
How a former business owner got back to her roots with a thriving children’s resale clothing franchise
Prior to becoming a Kid to Kid franchise owner, Michelle Talley ran her family’s marketing and printing company — a job she had had since she was 14. After she sold the family business, Talley worked as a sales representative for a data marketing company. After some time, she sought another opportunity that would allow her more of the flexibility she was accustomed to while running her own business. She knew she didn’t want to start from scratch, and at the suggestion of a friend who owned several resale clothing stores, began to research children’s resale clothing franchises.
Enter Kid to Kid. Our 27-year-old brand buys and sells the best things that kids outgrow, attracting consumers from all economic levels, because most parents would love the opportunity to save money on clothing their kids. A Kid to Kid franchise also checks all boxes for millennial parents who are not only the most eco-conscious demographic ever, but also think that buying secondhand clothing is as normal as shopping new.
Talley found this to be true after opening her store in Tonawanda, New York, a suburb on the outskirts of Buffalo, New York. Nearly four years after opening her store, Talley has not only won Store of the Year, but also is on track to being a million-dollar store.
Here’s her story.
Why did you choose Kid to Kid? Did you look at any other concepts?
Talley: I did look at other concepts. I checked out a couple of our competitors and was either brushed off or told they were not opening any more stores in the territory I sought. After that, I went online and researched children’s resale clothing franchises and that’s how I found Kid to Kid. I wasn’t familiar with the brand and, at the time, there was only one location in Rochester, New York. I went to visit the store and it was beautiful. It really stood out to me because when you walk into our competitor’s store they have cheap fixtures and wire racks. I felt that Kid to Kid was an entirely different experience because it looks as if you’re walking into a boutique rather than a thrift store. After researching the brand and visiting the store, I was sold.
How was your initial training? Did you feel you were given the tools you needed to succeed?
Talley: Yes. There was a three-week training in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Kid to Kid headquarters. Basecamp exceeded my expectations with the training. It’s designed to help you master the Kid to Kid business model and teaches you everything about running your store, including how to use your POS system, implementing marketing strategies, and how to buy, sell and manage inventory using our software, and more.
How does corporate support you in your business today?
Talley: Before you leave the initial training, you are assigned a support representative. You can schedule a weekly or monthly call, or whatever fits your needs. My rep sponsors 30 stores and she makes time for me, often the same day I reach out, to ensure I’m getting what I need. As a franchise owner, you have to be willing to reach out, no matter what you need, because the support is always there to help you.
Additionally, we have an online portal that we log into to access whatever we need. This includes training modules for new employees, or you can even view up-to-the-minute sales information about your store. You also can reach out to corporate or your peers for help, advice, or counsel if you hit a rough patch.
What skills do you need to succeed as a Kid to Kid resale franchise owner?
Talley: You have to have a good work ethic. When your store opens, you’ll be in the trenches working and learning everything you can, so you’ll need to be hands-on as well. I worked 10 to 12 hour days every day for a year and a half, so it’s very labor-intensive. Having good business acumen and a positive attitude is beneficial as well, because there will be some days where it seems hard. However, you have to keep working hard and tapping the support that corporate provides. As long as you do that, you will thrive.
What are your hopes for the future?
Talley: I’m going into my fourth year and I’m on track to be a million-dollar store. In the Kid to Kid world, a million-dollar store is rare. So, I think, there’s only about six stores right now out of 95 that are hitting that mark. We’re on track to hit that milestone this year, and I only want my sales to get bigger and better from there. Additionally, I want my customer base to grow and for my store to be a household name.
What are you most proud of?
Talley: I’m proud of our social media reach because we have a huge online presence, which is pretty cool. I’m also proud of our store’s growth. In the beginning, I remember asking a top-store franchisee how do I get to their volume. They told me to work hard, basically keep doing what I’m doing, because it will come. It took some time and work, but it definitely came. Additionally, two years ago we won Store of the Year, and that is certainly something I’m proud of.
Why is now a good time to invest in a Kid to Kid?
Talley: That’s easy. Resale is not only a recession-proof business, but it’s also become pretty cool. Although a lot of brick-and-mortar stores are closing fast, people love resale now. They do not want to go to the Salvation Army or the thrift store. They want chic, brightly-lit, organized stores where they can buy nice things at an affordable price. Kid to Kid resale franchise checks all of those boxes.