If you are an entrepreneur looking to launch a retail business, but don’t have a tremendous amount of start-up capital to get it started, then a mobile boutique may be right for you. As we know, mobile businesses have been around for quite a while. Just think of the people who sold Tupper Ware, the women you see selling Mary Kay, the vendors you see at festivals, or the food trucks you see all over town. Also known as fashion trucks, mobile boutiques are popping up across the country. Popular in Los Angeles and New York, mobile boutiques are like food trucks but instead of selling food, they are selling clothing and accessories. Here are some reasons why I am starting a mobile boutique and why you should too.
Like a lot of entrepreneurs starting out, it can be very difficult to leave your full-time job for a business venture that you are not even certain will make money. With a mobile boutique, you can have the shop on wheels work around your schedule. Having a stable income, even if it’s a little bit, definitely makes one feel a more at ease. In pursuing a venture like this, you could work part-time and open your boutique on the off days or if you work full-time during week days, you can open during weekends. If neither of these options work for you, you can always look into doing private events and parties in the evenings. The flexibility of the mobile boutiques are endless and should definitely be considered as a plus when making the decision to start one.
Low overhead costs
A traditional clothing boutique run out of a brick and mortar shop can have a lot of overhead. Once you take into account the rent, utilities, and other start-up essentials it can get quite expensive. Retail leases, in prime locations, can easily run $2,500 – $4,000 a month depending on where you live and for an entrepreneur just starting out this may not be practical. With a mobile boutique, you basically pay a one-time cost for your storefront and for the money you would pay in 9 months’ rent, you could have bought your boutique on wheels and be progressing towards a profit. Emily McCrary, owner of The Mobile Vintage Shop emphasizes the luxury of being mobile when she states “I own my trailer, I can go wherever I want, and my rent doesn’t increase.”
Gives the business a creative edge
Mobile boutiques are created out of former delivery trucks, RV’s, trailers, and buses. Most of these boutiques are covered with a customized, eye-catching vehicle wrap or paint job to entice customers and then once customers step inside they are not disappointed. Mobile shop owners not only create an appealing outside, but they also renovate these vehicles to look like actual shops on the inside. Owners create the ambiance by putting in flooring, lighting, shelving, sales counters and even fitting rooms, thus giving customers a very unique shopping experience. According to the Los Angeles Times, David Wolfe, creative director of the New York trend forecasting firm the Doneger Group, supports the unique appeal of fashion trucks by saying “Shoppers are exhausted by the traditional venues, the whole world is ‘over-retailed’ to beat the band. It’s not like the merchandise is any different, but the setting is unexpected, funky, weird and young.”
You can pick your location
In addition to being flexible with time, mobile boutiques are also flexible with location. Instead of waiting for the customer to come to you, you can just go to the customer. By having flexibility in location, you have the freedom to change your location if it’s not working out and resist having to be confined to one place. Plus by having the ability to visit multiple locations you build a broader clientele and following. This is important because if you do ever decide to open a brick and mortar shop in the future, you will already have customers that patronize your business.
So, with the flexibility, low overhead, the creative edge and open location a mobile boutique provides, you could get your mobile boutique off the ground and rolling in no time!
Nadia Phillips is an aspiring entrepreneur and is currently enrolled as a student in the Masters of Entrepreneurship program at Western Carolina University. She has 5 years of retail experience and is working towards launching her mobile boutique by March 2015.