Women is...: Angela McLean Psycho Sister

Angela McLean Psycho Sister

who she is: Angela McLean, owner of Psycho Sisters Consignment Boutique

claim to fame: In 1993, she opened a boutique for funky, fashionable second-hand clothing. Since then, McLean has franchised five Psycho Sisters in the metro area and opened three more herself or with partners. She is now looking to launch stores throughout the Southeast and to develop a Psycho Sisters fashion label.

her routine: At work, McLean cranks up the music, changes outfits several times a day and socializes with customers. "What could be better than a job where you shop all day, have all the friends in the world, set your own hours and make money?"

on becoming her own boss: A stint at an advertising agency convinced McLean that the corporate world was not for her. "I realized I would rather wait tables and go to the beach every day than do that. Freedom was more important to me than anything."

setting up shop: McLean inaugurated her first store, Clothing Collection, in Tallahassee, Fla., with 20 boxes of clothing culled from garage sales. She charged $1,500 worth of advertising materials and passed out flyers in nightclubs and restaurants and on street corners. When she opened, on a Friday, she didn't have the money to pay rent. "I wrote the landlord a check and asked him to hold it until Monday. Then we opened, and I held my breath."

McLean sat cross-legged on the floor with a shoe box until she could afford a register, and customers tried on clothes in the bathroom. But, by the end of the first week, she had made enough to pay rent and her credit card bill.

the payoff: Each of her stores averages about $12,000 a month in sales. For franchises, McLean gets a one-time payment of $10,000 to $25,000. But the rewards have been more personal than financial. And, she says, she has time off for other things she loves. "I've been backpacking in 20 countries over the last three years."

on franchises: "These women have become like my wives," says McLean of her partners. McLean has had to learn to "let go of control," and allow each owner survive or fail on her own.

on making it in the rag trade: "It took courage to break loose from what everybody was telling me to do."