Name: Mona Malhotra
Kids: Kuran, 21, Karina, 18 and Krish, 16
Business: The Millionaires Closet
New Jersey Family: Tell us about your business and what makes it unique?
Mona Malhotra: The Millionaires Closet is a mom-owned online small business run from my home. While I do not have a brick or mortar storefront, I do invite local people referred to me to come by and try on specific items they are seeking. I work with my consignors to help them retire some of their ‘lightly used’ or ‘new with tags’ luxe items so that they can get maximum cash payout and use the proceeds to purchase current season items. I list these valuable and previously loved items online on various sales platforms giving buyers the opportunity to get highly coveted items at a price they can afford. Thus, it is win-win for all parties involved. I also work with clients to help them style their newly bought treasures into their current wardrobe. The Millionaires Closet is unique because everything is personalized to my clients’ needs including white glove pickup at front door, helping clean their closet and streamline their wardrobe. I also work with my consignors to get the prices they desire on their valuable items.
NJF: When did you launch the business, and what was your biggest inspiration to launch it?
MM: The Millionaires Closet launched in 2012. I align the need for luxury resale with younger affluent generations desire for sustainability. I had been a stay-at-home mom while my children were younger. Now that they are older, I have brought my early career experiences in the fashion industry as a buyer and merchandiser with my need to be mentally and artistically engaged. A home-run consignment business was the perfect blend of a fun hobby and a fulfilling small business. Sustainable fashion and luxury designer labels are something that is on the cusp of the millennials minds. This was the perfect storm for me to launch my company and offer wardrobe advisory services based on the individual needs of my consignors and clients. Luxury resale represents a $24 billion market today. I am a small, small part of it. It’s humbling.
NJF: In this unprecedented time of COVID-19, small businesses are being hit hard. How has this affected your business?
MM: These indeed are unprecedented times and uncharted territory for all of us. Luxuries during times like these are the first things to take a back seat. When people are uncertain of their financial stability due to economy, job loss and closures they stop shopping for items that aren’t essential. My business is no different as you may find an amazing deal but people are questioning if they really need it. That said, I would welcome the opportunity to be a pass through reseller of essentials that do make up our current need. I invite anyone who has the skills to stitch face masks to consign with m at no additional markup and purely as a pass through cost, plus any cost of shipping. I would be happy to lend my platform to get such PPEs to those in need on the frontlines.
NJF: How have you pivoted your business to adapt to this stressful and uncertain time?
MM: Within my own business, I am using the time to streamline my inventory, go over pricing online to make items more appealing to those who want to buy them. I am also using this crisis to spend more time with my family and making connections with distant friends who often are relegated to a holiday greeting when life is too busy for all of us. As for the pivot, I have succeeded in finding local stores that carry masks, for example, and connecting them directly with those who are in need. I do not gain from these transactions or have any affiliations with the sellers, but the resources of contact, research and platforms are all the same and helps buyers and sellers get together.
NJF: How are you and your business giving back through this period?
MM: Rather than posting about items I have to sell, I am sharing with the community upbeat things that are going on: good samaritans, how huge luxury brands are helping the world and sharing local donation pool information and posting where people can get essential items like masks and PPE.
NJF: What will be the first thing you do as a business when this is behind us?
MM: Foremost, thank all the frontline people. I have to find a way to do so, but ideas I have been toying with are perhaps a discount for those with a medical ID. When this is behind us, I will also refocus and try and grow my Instagram platform so that I can use that as a source of finding people who are interested in consigning with me as well as purchasing from me; grow my following @tmcloset by inviting people to share and repost my Instagram Stories which generally carry my store. I work with my consignors at their convenience, meeting them to and go over their inventory or simply picking up items at the doorstep. Often people prefer to mail the items to me with a prepaid label. I streamline the process so that everyone involved is comfortable and moving at their own pace. COVID-19 places a halt on much of these sorts of activities and when we all get to the other side of this, I am hopeful my business will pick up again and those that are or have been happy with my efforts and services will help promote me back to the swing of things.
NJF: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever gotten that you want to share with others?
MM: If it’s not your passion, then it’s not your business, but simply a series of transactions.