The Closet Trading Company: Celebrating femininity.



Launched in 2003 by CEO & Founder Johanna ZlenkoThe Closet Trading Company (TCTC) is a premier high-end resale and consignment destination offering a carefully chosen & thoughtfully organized collection of elite brands and designers. 

“Every woman deserves the pleasure of looking and feeling her best in high-quality fashion,” declares Johanna.

TCTC provides excellent value for quality designer fashion and superb service, in a beautiful, welcoming boutique environment. With a sound knowledge of fabrics and its quality, TCTC sells gently pre-loved contemporary designer clothing, shoes, and accessories, for women. It specializes in the latest, on-trend styles from designer and premium brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Rag & Bone, Lululemon, Vince, Gucci, Hermes, Reformation, Chloe, and many more. “We select only the best of the best from our consignors. We know that there are those who have a negative preconception of resale clothing, and we win them over by only accepting products that are in like-new condition, with no damage or noticeable signs of wear. Our consignors may include celebrities and influencers, but our services are perfect for every stylish woman looking to rotate her designer wardrobe,” shares Johanna. Being that resale is an inherently sustainable business model, TCTC is not only offering quality branded clothes at affordable rates but is also contributing by cutting down on waste drastically. “There’s something about seeing a customer try on a really luxurious outfit for the first time and just lighting up because she knows she looks like a million bucks, and she doesn’t have to break the bank to bring the outfit home,” says Johanna. “I love everything about the resale industry. Making premium fashion affordable and accessible is so fulfilling. Plus, being able to provide customers with a way to look their best while also spending consciously and ethically is a win-win.”

“Every woman deserves the pleasure of looking and feeling her best in high-quality fashion.”

Turning adversity into opportunity

Having grown up in San Francisco, Johanna herself has been a supporter of quality vintage & resale clothing. Having enjoyed shopping at vintage and resale stores Johanna understands the value of quality fabric. It all started when Johanna, in pursuing her education, moved to Santa Barbara in 2003. It did not take her long to notice that there were not many resale shopping options. To support herself while in college, Johanna started working at a newly-opened vintage boutique named The Closet. However, a few months into the store opening, the original owner relocated and Zlenko was faced with the prospect of being out of a job as the store was going to close. However, after a discussion with her family, Zlenko decided to buy The Closet and re-launched it as The Closet Trading Co.. Within a span of sixteen years, Johanna has transformed her part time job into a franchise of high-end resale shops. “At the time, there were limited options for contemporary resale shopping on the Central Coast, and with its large college-age population, Santa Barbara seemed like a perfect location. Over the years the community embraced the concept, and we expanded, outgrowing our original storefront twice in the years since. We slowly grew the brand regionally, adding corporate stores across Southern California,” shares Johanna. Committed to making itself a dominant national brand in the resale domain, The Closet Trading Co. then started franchising in 2019. “Our first franchise location is opening next month in Plantation, Florida, in the Fort Lauderdale area, and we look forward to announcing more new stores shortly!” cheers Johanna.

Johanna Zlenko, CEO & Founder Johanna Zlenko, The Closet Trading Company (TCTC),
Johanna Zlenko, CEO & Founder Johanna Zlenko, The Closet Trading Company (TCTC),

“There’s something about seeing a customer try on a really luxurious outfit for the first time and just lighting up because she knows she looks like a million bucks, and she doesn’t have to break the bank to bring the outfit home.”

How does the TCTC franchise system work?

n the market for about 17 years, TCTC has gone through the ups and downs of the mainstream business world. Having been there and done that, TCTC understands the financial & reputational risks and the frustrations conventional business can bring. The way to success does not necessarily have to pass through a lot of turbulence. Contrary to the belief that business is not everyone’s cup of tea, TCTC offers franchises to motivated individuals with  a will to begin their entrepreneurial journey. With minimal risk and increased chances of success, below mentioned are a few benefits the TCTC franchise offers:

Consignment basis – TCTC works primarily on consignment, which means franchisees pay for their inventory after they sell it. Consignment creates a cash flow benefit that is a game-changer for their franchisees. And they are not stuck carrying the cost of unsold inventory.

No competition– TCTC stores do not compete amongst each other as retail stores do. Each store has a unique inventory of stocks and is located at a distance of only 10 miles from each other. This enables the exchange of stocks when any store runs out of certain products. Rather than working against each other, TCTC stores work with and for each other.

Recession resilient business- Based on a recession resilient business model, TCTC has continued to grow even in economic slowdowns. When times are lean, people tend to be more open to selling some of their luxury goods and more women open to the idea of resale shopping. This is a win-win situation for customers and TCTC with a loss to none.

Startup InventoryTo support its franchises, TCTC provides them with the tools, training, and advice they need to curate the majority of their starting inventory. To ensure a sufficiently-stocked grand opening, TCTC even provides inventory from its existing stock. This not only saves the franchises time but also prevents them from going empty pockets for months paying rent, payroll, and other expenses.

The ideal franchisee

One does not need to be an expert in business to be chosen as a TCTC franchisee. The criteria are simple, transparent, and doable. The franchise needs to be a motivated, friendly, self-driven, ambitious, and ethical individual. Along with an entrepreneurial and sales-oriented mindset, they must have a willingness for cooperation and communication. As the TCTC business survives and thrives on sales, they must have the ability to generate growth through business and marketing activities. Last but not the least, the franchise partner should be open to embrace, relate, and contribute to the sentiment of the brand. “We are looking for compassionate, adventurous, passionate, and curious entrepreneurs with strong leadership skills,” emphasizes Johanna.

Known for its post-training support, TCTC has a predefined plan ready for its franchises. The post-training period is the phase where the franchise needs to practically implement what he or she learned during the training. This phase can bring fear, confusion, and a lot of anxiety. Having gone through the painful phase of trial and error, TCTC has a system in place to ensure that the franchisee takes off well on their entrepreneurial journey. Hence after the initial training is completed, the franchisee receives access to a suite of proprietary tools and resources that, in addition to support from HQ, help to confidently navigate business ownership.  The franchisee gains access to their signature ricing software, which enables the franchisee to price inventory accurately and consistently, even if he or she has no previous fashion or retail experience. The franchise also receives authentication support and assistance with marketing planning and collateral. Along with assistance with e-commerce infrastructure, the franchise also receives assistance with goal-setting, budgeting, and more. TCTC understands that doing all of this on your own can be quite frustrating and has a dedicated team to handle it all. “Our executive team is a group of customer-focused and forward-thinking individuals who are passionate about The Closet Trading Co., and are committed to helping our franchisees succeed,” shares Johanna.

Having set on a mission to grow and transform into a national brand, TCTC sees itself as a network of 100 locations in the coming five years. With a plan ready and a stage set, TCTC is just the right launch-pad for every ambitious, self-driven, and aspiring entrepreneur who wishes to sky rocket to success.


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