Chelsea Sloan was in Alaska taking a break from school when she began emailing her older brother Scott about a business idea she had had for a while. Upon her return to Utah, the siblings created a business plan for a used fashion franchise and prepared to launch Uptown Cheapskate. In 2009, with Chelsea still a full-time student at the University of Utah, the Sloans opened their first outlet in Salt Lake City. The franchise buys and sells slightly used name brand clothing and accessories for less. During its first year, Uptown Cheapskate did well enough to rank among the top student businesses in Utah Student 25, an entrepreneurship competition organized by Brigham Young University professor John Richards. Today, there are 15 Uptown Cheapskate locations in 12 states across the country, with more slated to open soon.
When asked what sets them apart from competitors such as Plato’s Closet, Scott says it’s their proprietary IMAP inventory management software. The program, which took eight months to develop, can identify over 4,000 brands and provide price recommendations. According to Scott, “No one else has anything like it.”
Uptown Cheapskate targets 18- to 25-year-old young adults who like designer clothes but can’t afford to shop at high-end stores. The franchise attracts a broader demographic, however, with customers’ age ranging from 15 to 45 years old. At Uptown Cheapskate, shoppers can find tops that start at $4.99, jeans that start at $7.99, shoes that start at $6.99, and “everything else you can think of from $5.99.”
Running a business with one’s sibling isn’t always easy; the Sloans admit that there are times when they don’t get along with each other. But they’re both on the same page when it comes to the direction of their company. “We share a common view of where our stores need to be,” says Chelsea.