Make rooms, food trucks: mobile fashion shops have hit the streets.


Make rooms, food trucks: mobile fashion shops have hit the streets.

Lia Lee’s business could easily be mistaken for a large, light pink vehicle for a food truck that specializes in sugary foods. But it’s completely different.

Owner Lia Lee sells trendy clothes and accessories in Washington, d.c., outside the truck she calls a street boutique. Wherever she parked and opened the door, the store was open.

Street boutiques represent a new type of business springing up across the country. Over the past few years, hundreds of women and some men – from fashion students to want to open their own long-term retail store workers, trucks in the United States has been issued to each regional sales of clothing.

The shops mimic the food truck boom, but there are no tacos or hot dogs. Think of them as rolling boutiques.

She offers jewelry, handbags, scarves, sweaters and other clothing, as well as shoes of size 10. With such a small space to use, Lee regularly changes her stock, but right now, skinny jeans cost $35, a kimono is $40, and a pair of strapless bracelets are $12 each.

The best part of owning a mobile retail store, says Lia Lee, is that everything – open time, location and inventory – is flexible.

“It’s like a little shop – we have departments and everything,” li said.

Every “department” in the truck is packed. The shoe department is just a shelf, and the dashboard becomes a storage space for unused human models and a pile of hangers.

Li’s “shop” is small, but it seems to be in her favor. With a few steps, she can stay close to her clients. Although the space is small, the interior of the truck is comfortable. It’s like a shop where people get used to shopping.

But if you’re standing on the sidewalk outside, you don’t know what a truck is. Li’s back door was opened by a mannequin, she said, so people didn’t think she would sell the cake.

Washington resident stacy frazier stopped at Arlington, va., on a recent afternoon stroll. Fraser stopped and walked in curiously.

“Oh my god, when I lived there, it was bigger than my New York apartment,” Fraser said. “I’m a big fan!

Two years ago, li’s financial adviser told her that li didn’t have enough money to open a traditional physical store. She told lee she had three options.

“A, get creative B, wait until you have the money to do this or C, if you really want to work here, you just need to find A job in retail,” Lee recalls.

Li chose the first option, and for her, opening a mobile retail store was a smart economic move. The business plan for her original store would cost about $80,000 to $105,000, but she bought a used truck and converted it into a price of just $20,000.

Christina Bui climbs the steps of a street boutique. Lia Lee’s owners provide jewelry, handbags, scarves, clothes and shoes, and often replace her inventory.

James clark/NPR.

“It’s great, and I’m honored to be profitable in the first three months of the opening,” Lee said.

In addition to running her truck, lee updates her website catalog, This is an international directory with hundreds of listings, and Lee says she adds about 20 to 30 trucks a month. She said she launched the site in December because she was often asked, “how can I find you?”

Lee sends a message telling her when she will find her own truck in a particular area. Once she stops and is set up, she will post the tweet again with her exact location.

Finding a good place isn’t easy, she says: cities and counties have zoning laws about where retail trucks can park.

Lee created the DC fashion truck association earlier this year, arguing for changes to the rules, such as increasing the number of permitted locations and extending the time the trucks are open.

Li’s parallel parking lot is also very skilled. As a part-time mechanic, it also comes from this field.

Now, a year after hitting the street, lee says the most important part of owning a mobile boutique is that everything is flexible.

‘the store is where you go and close when you want,’ she says. She just closed the pink door and pulled it out of her parking space, and she finished it.