Kathy Bosley’s vision for her business started when she was 12.
Now, Mrs. Bosley is bringing her vision to Tyler Clothes Mentor, a national franchise that does just that – buys gently worn or new name brand clothes and resells them for a fraction of their retail price.
Mrs. Bosley, 43, grew up in Houston with her mother and has lived in Tyler for 20 years. Her husband, Lane Bosley, 42, grew up in Kilgore, is a landman and former professional bull rider. They have been married for 17 years and have three children, Kagan, 11, Kallie, 9, and Kyndall, 5.
Mrs. Bosley said she decided to open a business and looked into recycled clothes when she found out about the Clothes Mentor franchise. On Dec. 9, she visited its headquarters in Minnesota and thought “Tyler would love to have this,” she said.
While there, Mrs. Bosley shopped at a Clothes Mentor, buying a $300 Talbots suit for $45. “I was giddy,” she said. Customers can find an entire outfit, including shoes, which would be comparable to $500, for only $100, she added.
Mrs. Bosley opened the store off of Old Jacksonville Highway on Nov. 1 to buy merchandise and will open the store to sell her items in mid-December.
Clothes Mentor is looking to buy clothes that have come out within the past two years. “Style is important,” she said, adding that Clothes Mentor customers look for an “upscale resale look … for a low cost.”
Clothes Mentor will also resell purses, such as Coach, Dooney & Burke, Louis Vuitton, Tori Burch and Vera Bradley, as well as shoes, jewelry and other accessories.
Mrs. Bosley will charge buying customers one-third of the cost they paid for the item and give one-third of the cut to selling customers. For example, if an item cost $90, Mrs. Bosley will pay $10 for it and resell it for $30. For designer purses, she will pay 50 percent of what she resells it for.
Bosley said Tuesday that they bought 1,300 pieces of merchandise in the first four days they were open to buy.
Mrs. Bosley said that when planning her business, she knew she wanted to open in a location near FRESH by Brookshire’s. Her 3,500-square-foot store is located directly behind FRESH, sharing a building with Great Clips.
Mrs. Bosley’s is the first Clothes Mentor in the East Texas area, and she said she would love to eventually open another location in Lindale or Longview, although that would take a couple of years.
Mrs. Bosley said working at All Saints, she has had many supportive mothers bring in clothing for her store, starting last year. One woman brought in so much merchandise, Mrs. Bosley paid her $500, she added.
Mrs. Bosley will continue to teach full-time, while Stacey Brown manages the store. She will have about 10 to 15 employees, she added.
“I really feel the need to teach,” she said, adding that the store is a side business to help pay for their children’s college and for she and her husband’s retirement.
In 2001, Lynn and Dennis Blum, of Columbus, Ohio, created the Clothes Mentor concept and opened their first store locally. Over the years, they opened several similar stores in the area. In 2006, a Minneapolis family purchased the national franchise rights to Clothes Mentor, created Clothes Mentor LLC, and in 2007, reached out to prospective franchise owners and began the national Clothes Mentor network. There are about 80 Clothes Mentor stores in 24 states, with expectations of several hundred stores nationwide, Richard Brill, of Midwest Public Relations, said in a prepared statement. There are eight stores in Dallas/Fort Worth and three in San Antonio.
In May, Julii and Ryan Baack opened a Plato’s Closet in Tyler. Much like Clothes Mentor, Plato’s Closet buys teen and young adults apparel and accessories and resells them at 70 percent off of retail. Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor are not associated with each other.