Kelsey Kleinhen loves clothes, and like a lot of us, she realized she had too many tops, jeans, and jackets that she didn’t even wear anymore. We’re not talking ratty, save-it-for-when-you-go-camping stuff, we’re talking super cute Abercrombie or Hollister clothes in amazing condition that she’s just tired of.
There were times when she joked that she could open her own store with all the awesome clothes in her out-of-circulation pile. And then, finally, just over two months ago, she made the joke a reality and opened Kelsey’s Kloset, her very own resale clothing boutique in North Laurel, Maryland.
We were blown away by her business success–she’s only 19!–and were psyched when she said she’d chat with us and let us in on a few of her secrets. Ever dreamed of opening your own store? Listen up to what Kelsey’s got to say!
Gurl: What inspired you to open your own boutique?
Kelsey: Well, my mom, my two sisters, and I all had so many great clothes that we couldn’t stand to throw out, and then I started thinking that more people out there must have similar things they want to get rid of. An upscale resale shop seemed like a win-win for everybody. If you’re selling, you get some money back for great stuff you owned; and if you’re buying from the shop, you’re getting something you might not be able to afford otherwise at a great deal.
Gurl: What kind of stuff do you sell in your shop?
Kelsey: Amazing stuff! People sell me their Coach bags all the time–real ones, not fake! Juicy Couture, True Religion jeans, Hollister. You name it. And it’s all in great condition. If it’s ripped or stained, we won’t have it in our shop.
Gurl: Running a business seems like a lot of work. How did you figure it all out?
Kelsey: There are these great computer programs you can buy (I got mine at an office supply shop!) that walk you through all the steps and spell out all the costs you’re going to have. It was complicated and took me some time, but I did it, and when I was 18, I was able to bring a solid business plan to my dad and ask for his help.
Gurl: Have you always been so ambitious?
Kelsey: I guess so–I mean, I graduated high school when I was 16 and then waitressed, nannied, and worked at a hair salon to make the money to start my own business. It’s been a ton of work, but I’m so proud of all of it.
Gurl: What’s your favorite thing about running Kelsey’s Kloset?
Kelsey: I just love seeing people’s smiles when they get a great deal. I mean, I can remember when I was in junior high and high school, and how I wanted certain things when I’d be shopping with my mom, but I knew we couldn’t afford them. My shop gives families a way to have things that they otherwise couldn’t have, at prices they can afford. In this economy, I think that’s an amazing thing.
Have you ever dreamed of opening your own store? What would you call it? Tell us in the comments!