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Shauna Sloan: Growing Kid to Kid from Concept to 100 Stores
By: By Tom Haraldsen
April 10, 2014
Shauna Sloan, along with her husband, Brent, is the founder of Kid to Kid. From its one-store beginning in 1992, Kid to Kid has grown into a franchise of 100 stores, with the 100th location opening last December in Frisco, Texas.
Plato said “necessity is the mother of invention.” That sounds like a pretty accurate way to describe how this all got started.
It fits. I got involved as a retail shopper and loved finding treasures for my kids. It didn’t make any sense for me to pay top price when I could get slightly used items for fractions on the dollar. With six children, we knew that was important.
Weren’t there already resale shops out there when you started Kid to Kid?
There wasn’t a retailer, let alone a franchise, that was applying business principles to the resale industry. With Brent’s background in business and law, plus in shopping center management, and me being both a mother and bargain shopper, the idea of Kid to Kid was born.
Did you plan on growing the concept?
Our goal was to open two stores within that first year, and we made it. We opened our first store the day after Thanksgiving in 1992 (Black Friday) and the second on the day before Thanksgiving in 1993. We knew that to be successful, we needed to operate differently than other stores. We were the first resale company to develop a computerized appraisal system, which helps our franchisees in knowing how to price and pay for incoming items. That has been a big key to our business model.
What were the biggest challenges as your business grew?
Well at first, of course, there were other copy-cat challengers who have come and gone. But overall, it’s been government regulation. …
Several years ago, laws were passed regarding what you can and can’t sell in the resale industry. Thrift stores can’t sell some types of toys and baby goods because of liability issues, so most of those items are destroyed when they’re donated to a thrift store. At Kid to Kid, we have a recall lookout system with our appraisal program. It tells us of manufacturers’ recalls in advance, so we don’t buy those products. We’ve always carefully screened items for safety, and we make sure our store owners’ buyers are highly trained to watch out for unsafe items, which isn’t always the case with thrift stores. We have model numbers, brands and product types linked to our system.
You have 23 stores in Portugal. How did you expand into that country?
There was a couple who learned of our concept online and contacted us. So we’ve partnered with them as master licensees, and the stores have really taken off in Portugal. A year ago, Kid to Kid was the second-most recognized brand in that country. We’re now working on a development plan for Spain.
Has the company’s success and growth surprised you?
That was our plan 20 years ago—profitability, manageability and franchise success of our stores. It took us a bit longer to get to 100 stores than we thought. Last year, Kid to Kid sold over 8 million items and found homes for over 10 million other items we couldn’t buy. Our customers’ families received over $12 million for items that they were going to toss, and we estimate we’ve saved shoppers more than $72 million over what they would have paid for new items. The business model just makes sense. That’s why we began in the first place.