Franchise News

With Secondhand Shopping on the Rise, The Closet Trading Co. Looks to Expand with Newly Launched Franchise Opportunity

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – As the line between new and used apparel blurs for consumers, a powerful transformation in the retail space is unfolding and one retailer – The Closet Trading Co. – is leading the charge and looking to dominate the secondhand market with its newly launched franchise program.

Touted as Southern California’s premiere resale and consignment destination, The Closet Trading Co. currently has four boutiques open and operating throughout Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties, and is targeting various parts of the West Coast and Southwest for expansion. Company plans call for having as many as 20 boutiques in development by the end of the year.

The ambitious expansion plans shouldn’t surprise anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the secondhand clothing market. According to research from retail analytics firm GlobalData, 56 million women bought secondhand products in 2018, an increase of 12 million new secondhand shoppers from the year prior. And they’re not done yet: 51% of resale shoppers plan to spend even more on thrift in the next five years.

“People are turning to secondhand clothing, not just out of financial necessity, but out of choice,” said The Closet Trading Co. CEO Johanna Zlenko, noting that people who find high-quality products for much less will choose used. “This presents a huge opportunity for us to tap into a growing number of consumers who prefer to buy stylish clothes for a fraction of the cost. We’re excited to offer this opportunity to new shoppers and franchise partners across the country.”

The Closet Trading Co. first launched in 2003 when Zlenko was just 18 years old. While working on her undergraduate degree at The University of California, Santa Barbara, she started the search for a part-time job and was soon after hired by the aspiring owners of a small vintage clothing boutique, The Closet. Months after working with the owners to create the interior and build inventory, the owners were forced to relocate, and suddenly Zlenko was out of a job. After discussing her options with her family, Zlenko decided to buy The Closet and its inventory and re-launched it as The Closet Trading Co.

Sixteen years later, the high-end resale and consignment store specializes in contemporary to luxury designer clothing, shoes and accessories for women. A staff of buyers in each location looks through the items as they come in and, based on firm guidelines, including brand, date of production, condition, and style, they determine whether or not an item will sell. Items are consigned, paid for in cash or traded for in-store credit. “Our rule of thumb is that if we don’t think the item will sell in three days, we don’t take it,” said Zlenko.

While the boutiques have a lot of mainstream brands like Lululemon, Free People and Rag & Bone, they also have an extensive selection of luxury pieces like Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and more. Items can be purchased for about 70% off retail prices.

“Our goal is to create a uniquely enjoyable experience for our customers and offer a selection of high-quality pieces that fit seamlessly into a modern wardrobe,” said Zlenko. “With an everchanging selection, shopping at one of our boutiques can be habit-forming. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

As for the company’s average customer? Zlenko says they like to focus more on their customers’ lifestyle rather than age. “Our customer can recognize a good deal, and when she’s looking for an item, she’s looking for the best value. She knows trends and fashion and wants something cool, but maybe a little different,” she added.

To augment the company’s growth, The Closet Trading Co. is seeking single- and multi-unit franchise partners looking to get in on the ground level with an industry disrupter that is fun for both customers and owners. Area development opportunities are also available. Including a franchise fee of $40,000, the estimated initial investment range to open a franchise with The Closet Trading Co. is $146,400 to $425,300 for a single unit.

For more information about The Closet Trading Co. franchise opportunity, visit

About The Closet Trading Co.

Founded in 2003 and franchising since 2019, The Closet Trading Co. is a high-end resale and consignment store franchise that specializes in contemporary to luxury designer clothing, shoes and accessories for women. Today, there are four boutiques open and operating throughout Southern California. For more information, visit

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