By Jill Moon The Telegraph, Alton, Ill.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Andrea Abbott and her cousin, Stephanie Bond are rolling out their own mobile Fashion boutique called the "Fashion Lane Truck." The company sports the tagline "We Bring The Fashion To You." From shirts and shoes to dresses and purses, these stylish women are on trend.
A girls' trip to Mexico helped solidify a partnership for a fashion-on-the-go mobile boutique.
"Sitting in the pool, I was telling my cousin about the Fashion Lane truck that I would love to buy," entrepreneur Andrea Abbott recalled. "She lives in Dallas, Texas, and had never heard of such a thing. We talked about it all weekend long and together we knew this was something we had to do."
The Fashion Lane will hold its public debut from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Gift Box, 300 E. Broadway, in Alton.
Abbott, no stranger to innovative approaches to retail, owned the Gift Box in Alton. She planned to be a more-at-home mom, but when she hosted the Fashion Lanewith its former owner at the Gift Box three years ago, she already wished she had the Fashion Lane then.
"I had the Fashion Lane truck come to the Gift Box three years ago to do an open house for me," she said. "I totally fell in love with the truck and the idea."
The owner was soon to give birth to her fourth daughter and she chatted with Abbott about how she would keep the "truck" in business. Fast forward to about two weeks ago, and Abbott saw that the truck was for sale.
"I mentioned that if she ever wanted to sell, to let me know," Abbott recalled. "One day, I opened Facebook and there it was, the previous owner had posted on her Facebook page that she was quitting and selling the truck. I contacted her immediately."
Now, Abbott, of Alton, along with her cousin, Stephanie Bond, of Dallas, with whom she talked about the truck while in Mexico, own the mobile boutique that sports the tagline "We Bring The Fashion To You."
"Stephanie and I are partners and we are so excited for this new adventure," Abbott said.
Abbott travels with the Fashion Lane doing trunk shows, home parties, festivals and corporate lunch hours -- like the popular food truck concept. But Abbott will travel wherever she is asked. She has a show booked in Nashville, Tennessee, about which she admits a little case of nerves.
"It's a long drive in a truck," she said with a laugh.
She intends to do shows one day a week and possibly two nights per week.
"As busy as we can get, we are ready," she said.
Previously used as a FedEx truck, its had a makeover. The former owner built out the interior into a boutique setting.
"Since I've bought it, I've taken down wallpaper and I'm changing a few things to make it ours," Abbott said about her and Bond's new business.
"It's fabulous," Abbott said. "We will be carrying the latest trends -- from shirts, shoes, dresses, purses to lots of jewelry."
Not only is Abbott back in the retail business, but also she is going to start making jewelry again -- as she did for the Gift Box -- to be exclusive in the truck.
She and Bond also will go to Dallas' fashion mart a few times a year, though Bond will primarily handle the "numbers" aspect of the business, while Abbott will do most of the buying and selling.
"She will have a lot to do with the behind the scenes and making sure I don't buy too much -- so hard to do," Abbott said.
Abbott researched "shopping" around for awhile now, to see what is popular and what people are buying.
Her challenge is buying for a small space, especially when she is used to filling an 1,800-square-foot store with the Gift Box, which she sold three years ago. Yet, she has a large finished basement to store the Fashion Lane's boutique inventory, making it easy to rotate and change out the truck's merchandise for more exclusivity at trunk shows.
"The clothes in the truck will change on a regular basis," she explained. "You will rarely see that super-cute shirt twice. But, you will see another fabulous shirt the next time you visit. We will keep it fresh and exciting for every visit."
The pair of cousins also will use the truck as a vehicle for fundraising.
"We can visit schools or companies or even someone's home," Abbott said. "We are very excited to help raise money for the community, eager to give back."
They also are adding incentive for home party hosts -- free clothes.
Email [email protected], call Abbott at 618-580-7333 or visit the Fashion Lane's Facebook page for more information or to arrange a home party.
"I am so glad to be back -- I feel like 'me' again," Abbott confessed. "And, I am so excited as a retailer to see all of my friends that I have missed."