Fashion on the run – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

There’s a new type of mobile shopping now hitting the metro area.

After simmering for years on the West coast, boutiques on wheels are finally being born and bred in Atlanta.

Several years ago, the only fashion truck rolling through Atlanta was from New York based designer Cynthia Rowley who fashioned her Shop On Wheels from an old DHL truck.

The truck came to rest in the parking lot at Phipps Plaza (it also traveled to other locations nationwide where there is no brick and mortar store) and it carried the full range of items in the Cynthia Rowley collection.

Since 2013, Atlanta has welcomed a few mobile boutique businesses of its own.

GG’s Fashion Forward offers upscale shopping in the comfort of local fairs, business parks, food truck parks and client driveways. Most items in the truck are priced under $40. There is also a calendar on the website that lets you know where the truck will be parked next.

Launched in spring 2013,  Heels on Wheels offers thrift store shopping in a bus environment. At this resale version of a boutique on wheels, you can put together an entire outfit for about $20. Owner Lisa Michalski shows off her high style (and store merchandise) on Facebook.

Southern Bohemian Boutique is the newest mobile boutique to hit the metro area, from Marietta-based duo, Sarah Parrott and Angie Jinright.

Southern Bohemian Boutique is a bread truck turned mobile boutique. It is the most recent boutique on wheels to crop up in the metro area. Photo by Amanda Winchester.

Southern Bohemian Boutique is a bread truck turned mobile boutique. It is the most recent boutique on wheels to crop up in the metro area. Photo by Amanda Winchester.

Parrott began her career as a clothing designer, but found it challenging to live and work in Atlanta. “The fashion community is so there, but as a designer, it can be very difficult. I was always in New York and I have kids. My life is here,” Parrott says.

After discovering the growing fashion truck movement on Pinterest, Parrott did some research and found only one other truck in the metro area (one that has since relocated). Her husband thought she was nuts, but Parrott thought the idea for a mobile boutique was brilliant.

“It took me a couple of months to find this truck and I coerced my college roommate to jump in on the action, ” Parrott says. Jinright had owned a clothing store in Duluth for six years, and also thought the idea could work.

Four months later, they had built out a former bread truck that they purchased in Greenville. They did most of the renovation work themselves and hired professionals for electrical wiring and air conditioning.

When they first started, they began showing up at festivals as many other mobile fashion trucks do, but Parrott soon found that it made more sense to go directly to people who wanted to shop — not eat, stroll and listen to music.

So they began doing home parties where a host would pay $25 to book the truck and invite a bunch of friends over to shop. The host gets the booking fee back in the purchase of clothing as well as free clothing as an incentive, Parrott says. Most items on the truck are under $100.

 

The interior of Southern Bohemian boutique, a four- month-old moblie boutique in the Atlanta area. Photo by Amanda Winchester.

The interior of Southern Bohemian boutique, a four- month-old mobile boutique in the Atlanta area. Photo by Amanda Winchester.

Soon a new market opened up. Moms who wanted to shop for something special while their kids were napping were calling Parrott to bring her boutique to their front door. Sometimes a neighbor or two would swing by and a one-hour shopping party would take place.

Parrott quickly adapted, and if anyone within 10 miles of her home sends a text message and asks her to come by with the boutique, she will be there.

“You don’t have to have a party for us to come to your house,” she says.

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