How Big Is the Industry?
Just Between Friends serves an evergreen demographic of families with young children, all of whom spend an enormous amount of money on their children
Americans spend an enormous amount of money on clothing their children! However, because of the tremendous size of the market, and with so many people contributing to its value, it is hard to pin down the exact dollar amount. This isn’t for lack of trying either: Institutions like universities, publications of all kinds, think tanks, and the retail industry itself consistently and continually issue studies analyzing just how much money parents are spending on their children.
What we do know for certain is that clothing and equipping children can be expensive. According to a recent “Childrenswear in the US” report by euromonitor.com, children’s wear is now a $31.6 billion industry in the United States. During back-to-school season alone, American parents with children in kindergarten through 12th grade will spend almost $25 billion, with the biggest chunk of that amount spent on clothing (“Parents, Brace Yourselves: This Is How Much You’ll Spend on Back-to-School Shopping,” www.time.com/money). The Time.com article goes on to state that besides electronics, clothing accounts “for more than $400 of the average family’s back-to-school outlay” — and that amount just accounts for one period of the year!
Our growth reflects the size of the industry and what families want most: a little help from Just Between Friends
What started as a one-day sale grossing $2,000 in Shannon Wilburn’s (CEO and co-founder of Just Between Friends) living room in Tulsa has become a nationally recognized brand. Just Between Friends has 153 franchisees in 30 states, who host hundreds of events in the United States, as well as one city in Canada. We’re proud to report that in 2016, system-wide sales totaled $29.1 million.
Our growth is a result of several factors. Just Between Friends serves families who have children from infancy to middle school—so our customers are likely to stay with us for several years. According to thredUP, a leading online shop that sells lightly used women and children’s clothing, 86% of parents would dress their children in secondhand clothing, and half of millennial parents believe that buying secondhand clothing is an eco-friendly way to shop. Being that millennials make up our core demographic, Just Between Friends is on the cutting edge of how and why people are going to shop for children’s clothing and equipment going forward.
“We are looking for people who want to give back,” Shannon says of the qualities that make for successful Just Between Friends franchise owners. “We are looking for families who care about their community. This is a business—yes—we want our franchise owners to treat it like a business, and we want them to make money. But that’s not the first and foremost thing that should be important to them. We want our owners to really feel passionate about their communities. I tell applicants that if they can’t scream from the rooftops that they are a Just Between Friends owner they better find someone who can do that for them. We want our franchisees to be proud to own a Just Between Friends and not be nervous about sharing that with their community—to tell them why they need to come to a sales event and how they will save 50%-90% off items they will find at the event.”
You control how large your Just Between Friends franchise becomes
The Just Between Friends franchise model offers uniquely flexible options to suit the lives of our franchisees, and it is as flexible and as scalable as our franchisees would like. This model suits the lifestyles of young parents or grandparents who desire a supplemental income, and it also is perfect for business people who want to make Just Between Friends a full-time career. We only require that our franchisees host a minimum of two sales events annually per territory.
Compared with other franchise systems, our initial investment is minimal and will vary depending on whether you’re buying one or more territories. The ongoing costs are also low, as the events run by our franchisees are staffed by team members, some of whom are consignors who earn more money on their items for sale by working the events. Some of our franchise owners use employees to staff their sales events, while other owners use a blend of consignors and employees. The main investment the franchisees have to make is in renting a venue large enough to serve their communities’ sale population.
“When my wife and I first visited a Just Between Friends sales event, we had an epiphany,” says Kris Kimmell, owner of a Just Between Friends franchise in the Houston metropolitan area of Texas. “We walked around the sale and saw how organized it was and how many people were there. We thought, ‘We can do this.’ It really was love at first sight.”