Apparel and Accessories Going Mobile
Catwalks are hitting the sidewalks. Stacey and Jeanine Romo’s Le Fashion Truck (pictured below) is a mobile fashion boutique in Los Angeles, California offering vintage pieces and Romo’s hand crafted jewelry. Le Fashion Truck is one of many 4-Wheel Fashion Houses rolling out in cities across the country.
Inspired by the food truck phenomenon, fashion trucks are very similar to ‘pop-up stores’ used to promote artists and designers at special events. Madewell, apparel retailer, recently retrofitted an AirStream into a mobile blue-jean boutique and traveled the country promoting their denim product line.
The NylonTV video below shows three different fashion trucks at New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs; Colette, a Parisian Boutique; and Kitsuné, a Parisian record label.
The fashion truck business model appears very advantageous for start-ups and small business for several reasons:
- Reduced overhead: Removes brick & mortar start-up costs and expenses
- Lower risk: Reduced liability exposure of long-term commercial leases
- Location: Businesses can pin-point high traffic areas on a day-to-day basis and set up shop in the best location everyday
- Integrated advertising: The truck is a mobile billboard and a tremendous marketing opportunity. A mobile billboard ranges from $500 to $800 per 8 hour day PLUS production costs from $600 to $800 per banner (data from drive by ads).
Every business has risks including the fashion truck trend. Potential risks include:
- Licensing: Business licensing for street vendors vary by municipality
- Vehicle Cost: High cost of purchasing, retrofitting, and maintaining a boutique truck (there are NO ‘hoopty’ fashion trucks)
- Weather: Similar to food trucks, bad weather effects sales
- Security: Keeping your truck secure and limiting exposure to theft both on and OFF the street vending scene
These trucks need to provide desirable products in the right location to the right customer at the perfect price point to elicit an impulse purchase. It sounds soooo simple, right? The eleventy-million retailers forced to close their doors because consumers are not opening their wallets would strongly disagree. Whether it’s on a foundation, on wheels, or in water, IT IS STILL RETAIL.
Acknowledging the retail risks, fashion trucks are a wonderful concept with great potential. I predict we will begin to see more mobile fashion trucks. Market saturation will generate competition for visibility and that’s when the creative fashion wheels will really begin turn! Vendors will begin using unusual decoration and visual clues to garner attention and generate brand buzz. Maybe a mobile beauty product truck has eyelashes (carlashes.com).
OR a fleet of Spanx mobile fitting rooms with bras over the headlights; SPANX TANX!!!
Fashion trucks are a fresh spin on an old concept. As a mobile marketing tool and creative merchandising venue, the trucks are a new platform for vendors to craft a unique and memorable buying experience. SURPRISE US!!!
For more four-wheeling fashion, The Today Show featured this very creative business model in Moving Trend: Fashion Trucks Hit the Streets.