On the Road — Traveling Vintage Shops Bring the Fashion to You

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Independent shop owners redefine the meaning of a storefront by adding wheels to their merchandise. Photo: Haberdashvintage.com

Independent shop owners redefine the meaning of a storefront by adding wheels to their merchandise. Photo: Haberdashvintage.com

Across the country, independent businesses are mobilizing. Much like the food truck craze, store owners are leaving their traditional brick and mortar storefronts and taking their vintage on the road.

The majority of vintage shop owners already rack up milage on sourcing trips. Traveling to small town thrift shops and picking through endless garage sales, these scavengers are no strangers to traveling for their business. Their dedicated hours behind the wheel and good eye for discovering hidden gems is part of the experience and price of buying at a vintage shop. But now vintage shops are further closing the gap by taking their curated inventory to the city streets and discovering new audiences along the way. We chatted with three mobile shop owners to find out where they’re headed next and what adventures they’re having mile after mile!

Haberdash Vintage in Boston, Massachusetts

Amy "Punky" Chase of Haberdash Vintage has founded America's first mobile vintage shop.

Amy “Punky” Chase of Haberdash Vintage has founded Americas first mobile vintage shop.

It was her love of eclectic, vintage and unique finds that led Amy Chase to open her mobile boutique, Haberdash Vintage, four years ago. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, you can find the Haberdash Vintage trailer parked at outdoor markets, festivals or playing host at private shopping events.

Hi Amy! What are some of your favorite vintage pieces that you sell in Haberdash?
I’m loving all things hippy and boho this spring! The long flowing dresses of the 1970’s are my go-to!

Why did you choose a vintage trailer as opposed to a brick and mortar?
I currently have two trucks and a brick and mortar, but when I started my business in 2009, I was looking for something unique and fun that would help me stand out!

What are some stops you’ll be making in the near future?
We will be at SoWa Open Market and Start on the Street this season! As well as some pop up events at Crompton Collective.

To learn more about Haberdash Vintage’s whereabouts, follow them on Twitter

The Fashion Mobile in Stillwater, Minnesota

This bright teal truck is most definitely a show-stopper.

This bright teal truck is most definitely a show-stopper.

David and Teresa Grimm of Stillwater, Minnesota, used to have a traditional storefront called Doozie Chic Boutique a few of years back. Unable to maintain the store, they ultimately had to close the shop, but didn’t give up on the dream. The Grimms’ refocused their attention on a traveling shop, The Fashion Mobile, that gave them flexibility to move around their town.

Hi David and Teresa! What type of fashions do you feature in your store?
We carry locally made women’s clothes. Everything from dresses and blouses to purses, jewelry and other accessories.

What’s your favorite thing about being a mobile shop?
Mobile retail is really taking off because of the flexibility and affordability it offers. You can set your own hours and not have to be open all the time. The costs to operate a mobile store is way less than a traditional storefront. And getting to other cities and areas that you normally couldn’t reach with a fixed location helps get the word out about your shop.

What are some stops you’ll be making in the near future?
We’ll be appearing at a lot of city festivals, events and maybe even some farmers markets. Grand Old Day in St. Paul is a huge event that we’ll be going to. We’re working with the city of St. Paul to get a spot in the downtown food truck alley. Also, the private home party season for us is starting up again so we’ll be all over the Twin Cities doing those.

The Fashion Mobile features hard to find, local sellers in their mobile truck.

The Fashion Mobile features hard to find, local sellers in their mobile truck.

Catch up with Fashion Mobile when they’re on the go, follow them on Twitter.

The Kippy Ding Ding in Seattle, Washington

Amanda and Allison of the Kippy Ding Ding love their mobile lass.

Amanda Linton and Allison Norris of The Kippy Ding Ding love their mobile lass.

Allison and Amanda are two west coast girls with a passion for vintage fashion. The duo channeled their love for clothes and talents in picking out stunning retro finds into their truck, which they’ve affectionately named The Kippy Ding Ding; Kippy for short. Located in Seattle, Washington, their goal is to bring their love of vintage to all the shoppers they encounter.

Hi Allison and Amanda! What do you look for when you search for vintage pieces to stock?
We sell quality hand-picked vintage clothing and accessories, but we also make a point to stay on trend with all the current styles. This spring Kippy will be stocked full of ultra-chic bermuda shorts and culottes, modern florals, bold stripes and polka dots, fun dresses, twirly skirts, loads of sunglasses, bright clutches and lots of statement jewelry.

Does your shop only make stops in the Seattle area or do you ever venture out?
Currently we stay in King County, scooting around the most happening neighborhoods. This spring and summer we will have a regular rotation of locations with spots in Ballard, Fremont, Queen Anne and Capitol Hill and hopefully downtown.

Why did you choose ‘The Kippy’ as opposed to a brick and mortar?
The mobility aspect is really fun and also a great way to explore the wonderfully diverse neighborhoods of Seattle. A brick and mortar storefront has definitely been a long time dream, but for us, choosing to open a mobile boutique was the most cost effective way for us to keep our overhead costs low and jump into launching a new business.

The Kippy is a haven for vintage shopping enthusiasts.

The Kippy is a haven for vintage shopping enthusiasts.

Keep up with The Kippy Ding Ding on Twitter.

 
  • Businesses like these just show that they’re innovative and fresh-thinking! What fantastic mobile shops listed here and I bet it’s so much fun to be able to move your shop wherever you want it to go. I imagine the biggest challenge though is keeping your customers up-to-date with where they can find you. I once tried to track down the Lodekka clothing bus in Portland, Oregon with absolutely no luck. It wasn’t until 5 months later that I randomly stumbled across it.

  • Ashley Schwartz

    No, thank you for enjoying it!
    I’m really glad you liked it. :D

  • Guest

    Thank you so much for that article!