By Cate Jensen
Over the past few years – many businesses have gone mobile. Like many things in this fast-paced decade, customers prefer to buy things on the move and this sentiment rings true for the residents of Northern Virginia. How many of us have visited a food truck on Friday to get that amazing new dish we heard about via social media or by a friend’s reference? Well that concept has slowly been making its way into fashion and retail.
While the concept of mobile retail might sound strange at first – it isn’t a brand new idea, just newer to our area. If you visit www.findafashiontruck.com, you’ll discover there is almost one in every state and quite a few based locally.
All of the following trucks will be at a new event, Fall Fashion Truck Event, which will be held the first Friday of every month until December at The Village at Shirlington in Arlington, Virginia, the next one being held November 7 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Street Boutique Fashion Truck
The Atmosphere: As owner, Lia Lee, would phrase it, Street Boutique Fashion Truck is “stylish apparel with a west coast flair.” The trendiest of the fashion trucks, The Street Boutique Fashion Truck was recently named one of the “Top Seven Fashion Trucks in the U.S.” by SheKnows.com. Busting with apparel and accessories from wall to wall, the illuminated fashion sign on the wall really says it all. Not to mention Lee built the truck herself in around six months.
The Owner: Lia Lee is no stranger to the mobile fashion business. Like many other owners of fashion trucks – she originally had constructed a business plan for a brick and mortar boutique but after realizing the cost, she changed her mind and hasn’t looked back since.
With experience in marketing, you can find the Street Boutique Fashion Truck on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Pinterest – Lee is the most social media savvy of the group and perhaps most well known having been featured in The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Business Insider and more.
She organized Fashion Yards, a get together of fashion trucks from around the area in The Yards Park located in Washington, D.C., the first one held in June and the next one in October.
What customers can expect: “I focus a lot on the buying portion,” says Lee traveling to the major markets in New York City, Los Angeles, Vegas, Dallas and Atlanta. Lee describes her business like this, “Popular boutique brands at affordable prices. I look for styles that are on trend – not exactly what you would always see on the east coast. I want our apparel and jewelry to be different but stylish.”
Fashion Yards at The Yards Park in Washington, D.C. on Sunday October 26 from 1-5 p.m.
The Thread Truck
The Atmosphere: Marveling in a clean and happy aesthetic, The Thread Truck is a crowd-pleaser. With lots of space for the customers to roam and even a dressing room made out of drywall within this old Maryland Transit Bus – you are sure to feel automatically at home.
The Owner: Brooke Jordan, owner, previously held a position as an Account Executive at Hot 99.5 for seven years, as well as doing digital advertising for several other companies, before entering the mobile retail market She met her business partner, Stacey Kane, during college, who has since moved Texas. With The Thread Truck based out of the quirky Del Ray Neighborhood in Alexandria – Jordan puts all she has into her business, in-between her current nine-to-five job and walking her half- Boston terrier half- French bulldog, Milania.
What customers can expect: “Nothing over $75,” says Jordan. Going along with the simplistic decor, the attitude of the The Thread Truck seems to be minimalism. Straightforward fashion for the straightforward customer, “looking for cute and easy outfits,” states Jordan. Inventory is ordered once and then not again, so if you are one of those shoppers that has to sit and think on a purchase – it may be gone before you can nab it, especially with the amount of places The Thread Truck goes, from a Thursday evening in bustling Del Ray to a Clarendon Truck Rally.
Fashion Yards, The Yards Park, Washington, D.C., Sunday October 26 1- 5p.m.
The Atmosphere: While Laura Layton initially had wanted to open a retail store after a bit of inspiration during traveling and the help of another fashion truck owner in California, Tin Lizzy was born. Described as “the Anthropologie of fashion trucks,” the truck has a cozy feel with a navy, white and sea foam green color palette. “All fixtures are made from recycled materials,” says Layton. With a boutique feel, a customer is sure to spend a few hours roaming around looking at new inventory that is coming in weekly.
The Owner: Layton, who originally worked for the Fair Trade Commission, moved from Delaware to Annapolis where she and her business are now based. Since Tin Lizzy’s inception in April, Layton has aspired to use her rare background to bring customer’s free trade and local sourced products as much as possible.
What customers can expect: As the tagline of the store states Tin Lizzy is, “for the thoughtful shopper.” One can expect to find unique items in this store. Don’t expect to see something twice, and while the truck has a rack or two of color clothing – a customer will find the truck exploding with accessories.
Future events in the area:
Fashion Yards, The Yards Park, Washington, D.C. on Sunday October 26 1- 5 p.m.