Fashion trucks — mobile boutiques that sell trendy fashion products from the backs of trucks — have taken over more American city streets in recent years. These trucks started on the West Coast but have since moved eastward to other municipalities. Fashionistas may see even more of these retailers in 2015.
Fashion trucks in Detroit started in the spring of 2014, when boutiques stopped at art fairs, festivals, farmers markets and private parties. This type of mobile seller contains the latest fashion trends in dresses, shoes, handbags and jewelry. Some of these stores sell children's clothes, consignment fashions, second-hand selections and bridal fashions. Mobile fashion retail outlets travel to people's homes for fashion parties, create spontaneous fashion shows on a street, and bring unique products to annual events.
Some fashion trucks have racks of clothes on hangers to one side with display shelves on the opposite side. Toward the front of the truck sit one or two dressing rooms with curtains or doors for privacy. To save space, some items, such as handbags, purses and makeup kits, are placed above racks of hangers. Drawers below the display cases store more accessories. Truck interiors are well-lit so that customers can see what they look like, and truck interiors must be tall enough to let people stand comfortably with plenty of head room. Other vehicles have windows to let in natural light.
Three fashion trucks are scheduled to make stops in the Detroit area during warmer months of 2015. Sloan Street Style hit the streets in 2014, and Katherine Campau's truck returns for 2015. Instead of a brick-and-mortar store, Campau found a more affordable option with a truck. Madison Boutique started online, but customers wanted a tangible shopping choice in order to see clothing before buying it. Nikki Mattison's pink truck used to be a flower delivery truck, and a year after her truck opened, she created a storefront. Angelic Soaps & Gifts sells homemade soaps by Dieshawn Holmes. Holmes' truck carries more than 200 bars of soap at a time, along with lip balms, lotions, jewelry and accessories.
Fashion trends continue to become more mobile and more high-tech. Couture shops connect with customers using social media, Skype and smartphone apps. Customers can view inventory and schedules with mobile alerts, Facebook updates and Twitter posts. Bluetooth-based security systems can help store and truck owners prevent theft during busy times. Fashion trucks represent one more way to bring products directly to the consumer.
A dedicated website called FashionTruckFinder.com lets potential customers find fashion trucks by region, product and events. Some trucks sell clothes from top designers, while others focus on threads made by independent local designers. Some trucks are converted campers or old recreational vehicles, while others are former passenger vans with seats removed.
Fashion trucks represent one new way retailers have adapted to what customers want. These retailers combine small, mobile stores with online inventories to deliver products to people who love convenience.
Photo courtesy of Chris Martin at Flickr.com