Fashion enthusiast opens Maryland’s first Clothes Mentor
Stacy M. Brown | 7/28/2017, 6 a.m.
Suzanne Delica says she has always had a passion for fashion. As a young girl, she even crafted outfits for her Barbie dolls out of unique socks and ribbon.
Now, at 29, Delica will open what she says is Maryland’s first Clothes Mentor in Columbia, called Cachet Mode LLC, which does business as Clothes Mentor. She is helping local women re-purpose their gently used clothing in exchange for a whole new wardrobe or cash on the spot.
The grand opening is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 8865 Stanford Boulevard in suite 125 in Columbia, Maryland.
“I had the classic [Barbie] dolls and I absolutely loved dressing them up for every scene in my Barbie adventure,” Delica said. “My mom would eventually teach me how to sew so that I could complete my looks with a touch of professionalism. Reflecting on this time makes my life choices come full circle, now … the entrepreneurial spirit was also undeniable, considering my family’s merchant roots and my parents being self-employed. It was only natural that my next life venture would be to start a fashion business— two of my favorite topics.”
Mostly, Delica says she acquired her entrepreneurial spirit from her father, a Haitian immigrant who opened his first business in America more than 40 years ago. She opened her first business in 2007, an online women’s clothing boutique she promoted with fashion shows at her university, when she was 19.
Upon graduating from college with an engineering degree, she took a job as an electrical engineer for a nuclear technology company where she hoped to eventually move into a marketing role. When that didn’t pan out, she started looking for business opportunities in franchising. When she learned about Clothes Mentor, she says she knew she found her next business.
“It was a Cinderella fit. Their business was exactly what I was good at, and what I enjoyed,” Delica said. “I get to help local women make money by cleaning out their closets and fill their wardrobes with high fashion items at a fraction of the retail price.”
Delica noted that she grew up in an environment where individuals are exhorted to choose a career path and stick to it. She said she struggled with competing interests.
“I recall my science fair projects in middle and high school teetering between the mysteries of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and my fascination with electricity and electromagnetic energy,” she said. “Yet, most of my afternoons were spent dancing at home for hours in front of the television or radio.”
Delica said one reason for her interest in Clothes Mentor was that resale has become a $17 billion industry and, over the past decade, Clothes Mentor has paid local women more than $180 million for their gently used items. She said Clothes Mentor of Columbia makes it easy for customers to donate their unwanted clothing to local charities.
“During my initial call with NTY (the organization that franchises Clothes Mentor stores), a senior executive made the comment, ‘all the stars have aligned for an opportunity such as this.’ It just made sense,” Delica said. “Clothes Mentor's concept, my personal aspirations, the timing, my professional background, my life vision and even the location we chose— all made it come together. Franchising with a leading brand like Clothes Mentor seemed like a smart and a lucrative decision.”