It’s been a while, I know. I’m sorry. I’ve had a trying month, but it’s nothing a little materialism hasn’t been able to fix. Sometimes I think I’m kidding, but I’m really not sure. Not going to try too hard to figure that out.
Anyway, luckily for all of us, there’s a trend that will now allow us to part with our money a little more easily. If you live in a city that’s been thoroughly infiltrated by fleets of food trucks (the best invention ever, maybe), you’re probably in luck.
Clothing trucks have been quietly making the rounds for a bit, and I’m lucky enough to know a real live person who owns one. I reached out to my friend Gechi, who I’ve known since high school, after seeing that she’d started her own business here in the DC/VA area. I was, and still am, super impressed by her moxie, and I wanted to hear how she got started.
I met up with her on a Saturday in Courthouse, where her truck was parked for the day. At first I was skeptical about the potential for a quality shopping experience in the back of a vehicle, but I kind of felt like I was stepping into a large walk-in closet.
I pressed Gechi about the origins of her idea, because to me it seemed kind of mind-blowing. She’s always been super fashionable, so it’s no wonder she’d want to own her own store. She told me that she got the idea to buy a truck when she worked a charity event for her old employer, a consignment shop in Arlington called New to You. The store rented a truck for the event, and brought their merchandise straight to the venue. It was a huge success. After nearly three years working in retail, she quit to pursue the truck idea full-time.
Within weeks she’d bought her own vehicle and hired a crew to gut the interior and put in wood floors and track lighting. As for the stuff, she chooses each item herself from brands she’s grown to like, contacting the manufacturers directly. These relationships can be tough to form, especially for a new, small business, but she says the most challenging logistical piece is acquiring the permits to park at street fairs, open-air markets, etc. Her schedule is constantly evolving based upon which events she can get permits for. She updates Facebook and Twitter to let her followers know where she’ll be and when, usually a few days beforehand.
The stuff was great, and reasonably priced for a lunchtime splurge. I’m pretty easy to tempt, though, and I guess that’s the hook here– portable boutiques can theoretically show up wherever there are people with wallets who like clothes.
Unfortunately for us DC/VA residents, Gechi and Colorful Life will be moving on to Philadelphia to serve my alma mater(s). She and her mobile boutique will definitely be missed, and DC just got a little less fashionable (shocking!!!!). You can still find other trucks in the area, though, and she’s promised to fill us in on who to look out for. Stay tuned.