Those of us that live in cities in the United States have had front row seats to food truck phenomenon. During the luncheon hours it’s easy to find any number of vans and trucks selling tacos, Thai noodles, falafel, BBQ, and of course ice cream—last week there was even a van parked in front of Forbes New York HQ selling doughnuts.
But trucks patrolling the streets of American cities are not only slinging hash, they’re hocking fashion. These unique entrepreneurs are taking a proactive approach to making sidewalk shoppers look good.
These days a number of cities boast vans and trucks that sell clothing and accessories. Around Chicago, on-street fashionistas may run into Fashion In Motion, a mobile shopping boutique run by Gina Crater-Lilja. “When you come home from work, a lot of women don’t have time to shop,” Crater Lilja told The Daily Herald. “So to fill that need for women who love the opportunity to get stylish clothes from a boutique, and do it on a lunch break, we decided to do this.”
In Boston, one entrepreneur that’s made a business put of a boutique on wheels is Emily Benson. Following her college graduation, a love of fashion mixed with inspiration from New York City’s food truck culture and Benson decided to move back to her native Boston to set up her own business. Her fashion truck – which she appropriately calls The Fashion Truck – first hit the streets in June of 2011.
All apparel and accessories Benson sells are under $100, according to her site, and she has begun offering a monthly class on how to make a profit as a “mobile retail business.”
In Pittsburg, Cailey Breneman decided to go mobile due to her boredom with malls and shops. Last month she kicked off her new business – a van full of apparel and accessories called Roadie – in the city’s Strip District. Breneman offers vintage and contemporary clothing plus accessories. When her vehicle is parked she lays out the clothing on racks so people can browse.
New York City’s Harlem neighborhood is also getting on the mobile boutique trend. Fashion entrepreneur Nneka Green-Ingram has laid claim to a spot on 125th Street and Lenox Avenue to park her Celebrities Mobile Boutique. Every item Green Ingram sells is between $5 and $30 and she also offers $40 makeovers.
Former owner of Soho’s The Garment Room, Tiffany Nicole McCrary has set up a mobile outpost in the latest of many hip Brooklyn neighborhoods to rollerskate its way into the spotlight. In Bushwick, across from the now legendary Roberta’s Pizza restaurant, the $10 or less Mobile Vintage Shop has been hocking vintage garb, receiving attention from local newspapers in the process.