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Fashion trucks give new meaning to “street style”

April 3, 2014 5:54 pm by: Category: FASHION, Street Style Leave a comment A+ / A-

The term “street style” has a new meaning these days as trendy clothing trucks are hitting the streets of major cities, selling everything from designer vintage to low-priced trendy clothing. These boutiques on wheels are following the lead of food trucks, which have exploded over the past several years and are now just as common to see in the city as a trendy side-walk café.

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What’s driving the trend? For starters, many women looking to start their own boutiques can’t afford the overhead of a brick and mortar shop. A clothing truck gives them high visibility, especially in heavily trafficked tourist areas, while offering the lower operating costs and flexible hours of an online shop. (Many of the trucks also sell their goods through online portals, like Etsy.) Stacey Steffe, Mobile Retail Association co-founder and president, says a clothing truck just makes more financial sense for entrepreneurs just starting out in the crowded retail world. The owners typically start with a gently used shipping truck or bus and spend an average of $20,000 renovating the interior, adding cozy design elements, heating, lighting, a changing room and more. Recurring expenses include items like insurance, gas and vendor licensing, but that’s low compared to the costs associated with keeping a traditional store-front up to date (starting with a lease).
These trucks are now popping up all across the U.S. and even in Canada. Steffe co-founded the L.A.-based Le Fashion Truck in 2011, when the trend was still fairly new, but now similar trucks can be found in cities like Washington D.C. (Street Boutique) and Philadelphia (Smak Parlour Fashion Truck). Their goods typically appeal to fashion-savvy women aged 20 to 40, but the styles can vary wildly by truck: some focus on boho-chic goods like maxi dresses and gemstone jewelry, while others carry vintage designer goods from the likes of Jimmy Choo.

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Almost all are focused on grabbing customers with affordable pricing and fast turnover: with such little shelf space, the selection is on constant rotation and the supply is limited. This helps drive sales with customers who want unique pieces or something that ten of their friends won’t also buy from the local shopping mall. Fans can track the trucks via social media to find out when and where they’ll set up next. Some truck owners even book private shopping parties for shoppers who want the boutique experience without the cost of renting out a brick and mortar store. Overall this mix of trendy, limited and affordable has helped boost the number of fashion trucks in operation to about 400 nationwide, and Steffe thinks that number could double by the end of 2014.
The trucks aren’t without their limitations. Some cities flat-out forbid this type of business, grouping mobile businesses together under laws dating back to the 1950s that prohibit peddling or street vendors. There’s also the weather to consider: the trucks fare better in warmer parts of the country, and many slow down their business runs in the winter, when not as many people are out strolling on the streets. However, Steffe thinks these limitations won’t hinder the fashion truck business in the least. “The pop-up mentality is here to stay, especially in a struggling economy,” she says. “It’s the new way of doing retail.”

The term “street style” has a new meaning these days as trendy clothing trucks are hitting the streets of major cities, selling everything from designer vintage to low-priced trendy clothing. These boutiques on wheels are following the lead of food trucks, which have exploded over the past several years and are now just as common to see in the city as a trendy sidewalk café.

What’s driving the trend? For starters, many women looking to start their own boutiques can’t afford the overhead of a brick and mortar shop. A clothing truck gives them high visibility, especially in heavily trafficked tourist areas, while offering the lower operating costs and flexible hours of an online shop. (Many of the trucks also sell their goods through online portals, like Etsy.) Stacey Steffe, Mobile Retail Association co-founder and president, says a clothing truck just makes more financial sense for entrepreneurs just starting out in the crowded retail world. The owners typically start with a gently used shipping truck or bus and spend an average of $20,000 renovating the interior, adding cozy design elements, heating, lighting, a changing room and more. Recurring expenses include items like insurance, gas and vendor licensing, but that’s low compared to the costs associated with keeping a traditional storefront up to date (starting with a lease).

These trucks are now popping up all across the U.S. and even in Canada. Steffe co-founded the L.A.-based Le Fashion Truck in 2011, when the trend was still fairly new, but now similar trucks can be found in cities like Washington D.C. (Street Boutique) and Philadelphia (Smak Parlour Fashion Truck). Their goods typically appeal to fashion-savvy women aged 20 to 40, but the styles can vary wildly by truck: some focus on boho-chic goods like maxi dresses and gemstone jewelry, while others carry vintage designer goods from the likes of Jimmy Choo.

Almost all are focused on grabbing customers with affordable pricing and fast turnover: with such little shelf space, the selection is on constant rotation and the supply is limited. This helps drive sales with customers who want unique pieces or something that ten of their friends won’t also buy from the local shopping mall. Fans can track the trucks via social media to find out when and where they’ll set up next. Some truck owners even book private shopping parties for shoppers who want the boutique experience without the cost of renting out a brick and mortar store. Overall this mix of trendy, limited and affordable has helped boost the number of fashion trucks in operation to about 400 nationwide, and Steffe thinks that number could double by the end of 2014.

The trucks aren’t without their limitations. Some cities flat-out forbid this type of business, grouping mobile businesses together under laws dating back to the 1950s that prohibit peddling or street vendors. There’s also the weather to consider: the trucks fare better in warmer parts of the country, and many slow down their business runs in the winter, when not as many people are out strolling on the streets. However, Steffe thinks these limitations won’t hinder the fashion truck business in the least. “The pop-up mentality is here to stay, especially in a struggling economy,” she says. “It’s the new way of doing retail.”

Fashion trucks give new meaning to “street style” Reviewed by on . The term “street style” has a new meaning these days as trendy clothing trucks are hitting the streets of major cities, selling everything from designer vintage The term “street style” has a new meaning these days as trendy clothing trucks are hitting the streets of major cities, selling everything from designer vintage Rating: 0

About The Los Angeles Fashion-Chris Meloni

Chris is a professional writer, who regularly writes for fashion industry. In his leisure time, he often makes beautiful hair bows and accessories for her lovely daughter. Through her articles, he inspires people to try out making different creative hair bow wholesale with ribbons.

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