Let me just say, I’m a huge fan of Clothes Mentor (located in West Chester & Springfield). There’s been a lot of chatter surrounding the name ever since the stores opened 3+ years ago. And, I’ve done my research to offer you an insider look at the brand… Here are the three reasons why you’ll see me shopping at CM: 1. I can shop for looks I love at unbelievable prices. 2. Because I can get paid when I clean out my closet and sell to them (am I dreaming?). 3. And, because resale shopping/selling means I am taking care of our Mother Earth.
Yes, I admit that I love the fact that I can find stylish clothing for an affordable price. Like the great, early-fall, NEW-WITH-TAGS sweater from White House Black Market. The Clothes Mentor Springfield location just had a pair on Facebook with original tags–priced at $84 and a Clothes Mentor price of $18! Back to school shopping put a huge dent in my budget so Clothes Mentor has been my saving grace.
And, I also love the fact that I can clean out my closet to “trade in” what I don’t wear any longer. Clothes Mentor is a resale store so they are always searching for fresh merchandise to buy from customers—including me!
I interviewed Chris Barnett, the owner of the West Chester and Springfield, PA locations, to find out how we, as busy moms, can maximize our payout when it comes to resale, while staying stylish at the same time. Chris, who has owned and operated these franchise locations since 2012, exclaims “everyone has something in their closet that they no longer use but we would love to buy!” She continues, “whether it is jewelry or a pair of shoes that just doesn’t fit right. Whether it is a winter coat you no longer wear or a designer bag that just isn’t your style. Everyone has something in their closet they could bring to the store to sell. The beauty of the model is that there is something for every customer and something we would love to buy from every woman.”
Me: Okay, I hear you –every woman has something to sell to Clothes Mentor. But what do we need to do to get the best offer possible?
Chris: Great question because we do want to maintain the very best inventory and we do want to make an offer to every customer that sells to us! Here are my top 3 tips to prep your items for selling to us—
1. Make sure the clothes are in current style. We focus on current fashions and the latest fashion trends—what’s in the malls right now. Often, customers bring in items that are many years old and, while they may be in great shape or a classic look, we are able to make offers only on fashions less than 2 years old.
2. Make sure the clothes are in very good to excellent condition. Think about if you were shopping in the store and whether you would buy the item right now, in its present condition. Often, customers will understand the phrase “too well loved” when we have to pass on an item because it may be super stylish but the pilling on the sweater or the pulls in the lace or the slight staining around the collar are reasons we wouldn’t be able to make a cash offer.
3. Make sure the clothes are freshly laundered. Items we buy go straight to the sales floor so we work hard to make sure that we only buy clothes that customers want to try on and want to take home. Cigarette smoke smells, musty smells and pet hair on items are all reasons we cannot make an offer. Two frequent things we find are that a person puts items in a car with a smoker—just know that clothes and handbags grab that smell–or a person leaves their items at home and a pet thinks it looks like a comfy bed. We worry about our customer so we pass on items that could trigger allergies.
Me: Now, once I have my items ready, what happens next? What’s the best time of year for people to trade-in their clothes?
Chris: Hooray! So you just need to bring in your items to Clothes Mentor in a box, bag or basket—not on clothing hangers, please. In Springfield and West Chester, we buy 7 days a week. We buy all day, every day and don’t forget that we buy all seasons, too.
Me: Any good stories of customers selling to you recently?
Chris: Of course! We always have great buying days and we post our most favorite new items on our Facebook pages. We buy around 300 new items each day. We’ve recently purchased a large number of designer shoes in West Chester—many pairs of Christian Louboutins that sell for more than $400 but we are selling them for under $100. We also just bought several Michael Kors bags in Springfield from a “collector”. She had a cross-body bag, several totes and a metallic satchel. She put nearly $300 in her pocket since we pay the customer 50% of the floor price on designer bags!
Me: 50% for designer bags?
Chris: That’s right. The payout is generally 30-40% of the sales floor price for clothing and accessories. All pricing is computer generated—no haggling or negotiating, which is something I never enjoy. For designer bags, my stores offer customers a payout of 50% of the sales floor price: premium pricing for premium bags.
Chris: Absolutely. We want to be a one-stop shop for the fashionable women in town! We buy shoes, jewelry, designer bags and wallets. We buy coats, jackets, scarves and belts. Oh, and don’t forget specialty lines like athletic wear and maternity. They can be so expensive in the retail stores so we love to buy current styles in excellent condition for moms-to-be and our workout warriors! We buy all women’s sizes, including petites, talls and, unlike most typical consignment stores, we love plus size items and are always requesting larger sizes from our customers.
Me: Sounds great! So why do you love what you do?
Chris: Aside from the fact that the customers have become my friends and my family, I believe in what we do at Clothes Mentor. I have a beautiful daughter that learns everyday about women taking care of women at our store. What a beautiful message. We cheer each other on when we get a great deal. We help everyone leave the store feeling beautiful and strong. By reselling your items, we make them more affordable for the next person and we are doing one more thing to help Mother Earth through the eco-friendliness of recycling. What’s not to love about all of that goodness?
And there you have it, Philly Burb Mom readers, the truth behind the successful Clothes Mentor stores in our area. Maybe you sold to them or tried to sell to Clothes Mentor in the past and they couldn’t make an offer. My advice? Try again! Use these tips to put some extra cash in your pocket this fall—the stores are super popular and they are always looking to buy, so why not clean out those closets?
Disclaimer: I’m so pleased to be a sponsored business partner with Clothes Mentor. All opinions are my own!