First Fashion Truck Fest and GreenStreet, now the fashion truck community is making its mark on the brick and mortar world with a little help from one of Houston's largest shopping centers.
Fashion truck leaders Urban Izzy, Shoe Bar, Park Boutique, and Height of Vintage have teamed up to create Fashion Truck Collection, a new boutique and cooperative created in partnership with CityCentre Houston. The one of kind boutique opened its doors this weekend and its owners hope to bring a new option to the mobile retail landscape.
"CityCentre approached us with a possible partnership and it was an offer we could not refuse," said Fashion Truck Collection co-founder and Height of Vintage Fashion Truck owner Vanessa Mala. "Most of didn't want to take on the burden of running a store, which is why we chose fashion trucks. This allows us to have a storefront but the pressure of a brick and mortar isn't on one person."
The financial costs and overall risk of opening a stationary store is a huge deterrent for those fashionistas with retail dreams, which is why fashion trucks have gained in popularity. But, Fashion Truck Collection may have found a way to have the best of both worlds, a hybrid model where collaboration is the key.
"The cooperative brick and mortar is such a clever idea," said Stacey Steffe, Co-Founder and President of the American Mobile Retailers Association. "It's a cost-effective way to get into a brick and mortar, an exciting spin on retail ... I would imagine that this will be replicated in other cities if proven successful in Houston.
(Side note: Go Houston for setting a new trend!)
Midway, owners of CityCentre, recognized the potential of fashion trucks earlier this year with their GreenStreet project. The program's success is what prompted the creation of this new alliance.
"This set-up allows for The Fashion Truck Collection to capture a potentially new audience," said Midway marketing team member and CityCentre representative Catherine Sdao by email. "We have been working with the Fashion Trucks at our downtown project, GreenStreet. Due to the success, we together saw the opportunity to bring them to CityCentre. It's a great experience for CityCentre patrons, something very unique."
Midway views this as not just an win for CityCentre, but also as a stepping stone. Said Sdao, "We plan to host the Collection for as long as possible, but we also hope this creates opportunities for them in other locations."
As part of the agreement, the boutique will be in residence through February 2015. All parties seemed interested in forging a long term commitment, but this six month test period will determine next steps.
The execs of Fashion Truck Collections say they are firmly in a wait-and-see mindset for now, but are cooking up future plans. "If after the six months, we see it as success, we will stay. We hope to have more trucks participate in the future. Maybe even host trunk shows and carry more local artists," said Mala. "It's just another adventure."