By Stacey Altherr
No need to drive to your favorite fashion boutique. It can now come to you.
Fashion trucks have been all the rage in California, and they have finally made their way to Long Island.
These shops on wheels — Lola’s Lookbook for clothes and accessories and Pagio Designs for artist-crafted jewelry — can park at fairs and festivals, or even pull up your driveway.
The women who own these trucks say their entrepreneurial spirit led them to go out on their own, but they couldn’t handle the high cost of retail space or a lengthy lease.
“I wanted my own company, and I wasn’t sure I could do a store,” says Laura Tingwall, 26, of Massapequa Park, who owns Lola’s Lookbook. “It’s kind of a unique niche, and it’s just a different shopping experience.”
Pagio owner Paola Giordano, 37, of Huntington, had a similar notion. Saying it was too hard to commit to retail space or consign her goods to another store, she decided to take her custom-made jewelry on the road in her mobile art gallery and boutique.
“It’s so hard to get into stores,” Giordano says. “They don’t want a lot of inventory to move.”
More traveling shops will be on Long Island roads soon “as people see this is the way to go,” Tingwall says.
INFO 516-993-5660, lolaslookbook.com
NEXT STOPS Sept. 13 and 14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Merrick Fall Festival at the Merrick LIRR Station, Sunrise Highway; 11 a.m. Sept. 28, North Broadway Italian Street Fair, Broadway, North Massapequa
“How cute is this?” a woman exclaims as she ascends the pink steps into the truck and gets her first peek inside. Lola’s Lookbook is at a house party in Babylon. Such parties are a big part of Tingwall’s business. On average, she does 10 to 15 a month, she says.
“It’s an excuse to get together,” says hostess Erica Lassen, 42. “We just saw her a week ago, but she already has new things.”
Customers place their drinks on the vehicle’s bumper as they go inside to look through rows of dresses, T-shirts and skirts. There’s a small dressing room at the front of the truck, but the benefit of the house party is that the women can go inside the home to try on clothes.
The big seller this night is a jeans jacket with knit sleeves, $42, but other clothing jumps off the shelves as well, including newly added beach bags.
Jennifer Conboy, 39, of Babylon calls the idea of shopping at a home party a “perfect girls’ night out.” She buys three items, and says they are priced “just right.”
In addition to house parties, where the hostess receives 10 percent of total sales in store credit and a 15 percent discount, the truck is sometimes parked outside nightclubs or fairs.
INFO 631-559-7103, pagio.biz
NEXT STOP 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Conklin Barn, 2 High St., Huntington
At the recent Kissam House Arts Festival in Huntington, a sandwich board outside a green and gold truck beckons visitors with the words “Long Island’s 1st Mobile Art Gallery.”
Giordano greets the shoppers peering tentatively inside with a friendly “C’mon in!”
Once inside, visitors are struck by the artistically revamped interior of the old Federal Express truck where Giordano showcases her custom-made jewelry in glass display boxes and shelving.
“It’s very clever,” says Oyster Bay resident Alex Sutherland, who buys a turquoise nugget necklace. “She doesn’t have the overhead of rent.”
Other shoppers are delighted by the idea of a store on wheels.
“She can go to where the action is,” says Huntington resident Dolly Weinzimer, who, along with her husband, Mel, are longtime customers of Giordano’s and are at the fair to “perhaps add to the collection.”
As an artist, Giordano is happy to have a place to call her own.
“I always wanted a gallery, so now I have this,” she says.