Mobile trucks can be for more than just food. Catherine Shadeed is bringing a new type of truck to the streets of Columbus with The Boutique Truck. It’s a mobile store that carries unique, fun and trendy boutique-style items with an affordable price tag.
Shadeed says she’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit. From cleaning to babysitting, she constantly had little businesses growing up, complete with hand-crafted business cards. With time, she started working in retail, eventually working her way up to being a store manager. After exploring other avenues post-college, she came back to fashion with a position in corporate retail. About a year ago, Shadeed thought it might be time to open her own storefront.
At first, research yielded some discouraging results. Storefronts were extremely expensive.
“I saw the fashion trucks out west and realized it was the perfect solution,” Shadeed said. The truck provided a lower-cost way way to still start her own store, but also offered flexibility to take it out on nights and weekends and maintain her current position. She describes the process as almost surreal, with every step being a learning process. Thoughts have ranged from, “wow, I own a business” to where can I get the oil changed on my truck?
The Boutique Truck can be spotted at festivals, like the Moonlight Market and upcoming Columbus Food Truck and Cart Festival, as well as other events around town. The truck is also available for private events and parties, and will be hosting as an upcoming party for a sorority at Ohio State.
The women’s fashions found in the truck aren’t the styles one would typically find at the mall. Shadeed focuses on finding trendy, high-quality pieces that one would expect to see in a boutique. The difference is the price tag. She describes the typical boutique experience as finding that awesome piece you’ve never seen before then looking at the price tag and realizing it’s $300. In the truck, a similar shirt would run about $30, making high-fashion more accessible. Several customers have even commented on the exceptional quality of the pieces.
Columbus obviously loves their food trucks, so Shadeed was confident that residents could embrace another kind of truck. She describes how open and receptive Columbus is to new concepts and how the city is an early-adopter as trends move across the country from the coasts. And Columbus has been receptive.
“One out of every two people that walk in the truck say what a cute, great idea,” she says.