From new clothing to vintage clothing to jewelry to shoes, fashion trucks are very popular in big cities and on college campuses.
The changing face of American retail, which has seen the predicted demise of the mega-mall and the creation of pop-up stores to fill retail space, has transitioned once again.
Now, the stores are coming directly to you, in the form of fashion trucks.
Simply put, fashion trucks are in most cases 8-foot high storage trucks converted into mini-stores that are driven to metropolitan locations or college campuses and then opened for business. Existing within similar regulations that exist for food trucks, fashion trucks are a new way for entrepreneurs and small business owners to get their goods to the shopper rather than waiting for the shopper to get to them.
And fashion trucks, while seemingly a new fad in shopping, are plentiful.
FashionTruckFinder.com is a Washington, D.C.-based website which has hundreds of fashion trucks listed in 14 different regions, including Hawaii and international sites. Each listing includes where the truck operates, the kinds of clothes it offers, and in some cases a website that allows the shopper to find the truck.
It also lists Fashion Truck events in which truck operators can learn how best to optimize their revenues, how to deal with city regulations, and how to repair their truck when necessary.
Lia Lee operates the FashionTruckFinders.com website, and she also created the DC Fashion Truck Association to do battle with city regulators over parking regulations and zoning laws.
In an interview with National Public Radio, Lee explained that she first considered opening a pop-up store in a vacant retail space but that the initial cost would start at $80,000. Instead, she bought a truck, converted it into a store, and started her business for approximately $20,000.
“It’s been really amazing, and I have been blessed to be able to be profitable within the first three months of opening,’’ Lee said.
Fashion truck operators are required to be licensed or own permits in most communities. They are best-served by being active on social media so shoppers can be updated on Twitter or Facebook as to their daily location.
David and Teresa Grim of Stillwater, Minn., created The Fashion Mobile (thefashionmobile.com) after being forced to close their brick-and-mortar store on Main Street in Stillwater due to the cost of operating such a business. A magazine article turned Teresa onto the idea of creating a fashion truck, and now they take their wares to the consumer rather than waiting for the consumer to find them.
A look at their website’s front page lists the 20 steps they had to take to create their new shop, and they offer a tutorial to others on how to start a fashion truck. Based on the website, it was a less expensive way to do what they had been doing, and still wanted to do, as clothing store owners.
“We are super excited to get this adventure going and see how it goes,’’ David writes on the website. “Who knows, maybe we’ll have the Fashion Mobile vehicles all over the country.”
If they do, it appears they will have competition.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.