What inspired you to start Style Delivered?
For years I loved sharing beautiful products and helping customers discover fun looks, so I was looking for a way to combine my passion while delivering an innovative way for people to find that perfect gift or necklace for a new outfit. Taking a cue from the booming food truck industry, I envisioned a retail van as a permanent, portable solution that, as a mother, would give me the flexibility of selling without the typical constraints of traditional retail space and hours.
Did you have any retail experience prior to starting Style Delivered?
My first retail experience was in high school, working for a men’s clothing store. I then sold educational toys and presented demonstrations to parents for 10 years, so yes, I would say I had retail experience prior to starting Style Delivered. I am so passionate about what I am doing that it hardly ever feels like work…I just love it and it makes me feel like I am really helping others, which of course, is such a wonderful feeling.
Why did Style Delivered choose a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter?
I had been selling jewelry at craft shows for a while, carrying all my stuff in and out of the different shows weekend after weekend, which was becoming exhausting. After looking at the explosion of food trucks across the U.S., I thought, if they can sell food from a truck, why couldn’t I sell my beautiful accessories from a beautiful mobile van?
Several mobile boutiques were establishing their stores in older vintage vehicles, but I wanted a more upscale store environment. It was also important that the vehicle fit easily in my driveway as well as others’ as I knew part of my business model would be to offer intimate driveway “VANPARTIES” and personal shopping appointments.
What upfit features did you choose to infuse into your Mercedes-Benz Sprinter?
Style Delivered offers a lot of gift shopping and personal service, so we outfitted the Sprinter with custom hardwood floors, comfortable seating, and track lighting. This created a relaxing space for people to come, enjoy a glass of wine, laugh with a friend and shop for a unique gift, and enjoy their experience at the same time. I also wanted a highly dependable vehicle since I would be driving around by myself and knew that the Mercedes-Benz brand could deliver the quality that would make me feel safe.
In designing your custom upfit features, what did you consider?
I was primarily focused on how many people could fit comfortably inside while shopping and how many passengers could travel with me when we wanted to take the Sprinter store on the road but still devote as much space as possible for merchandise shelving. Another concern was how to prevent products from falling off the walls and shelves while traveling and how to display the merchandise so it would still look attractive in a small space. Finally, we considered how to keep the van’s temperature comfortable for shoppers, how to light the products to highlight their features, and how to configure outlets and electricity for checkout.
How many, and what type of, brands do you carry on Style Delivered’s Sprinter?
I carry 36 different artists or artists groups! Most of them are small, independent artisans who create their products using really interesting materials. Some come from nature like nuts and beads, some from everyday materials like zippers and lace, and others from recycled can tops, tire inner tubes, and fish netting. We sell children’s and men’s products, but mostly women’s jewelry and accessories.
Is the boutique open every day? How can customers find where you will be each day?
The boutique can be open every day but I do not have standardized, routine hours. Rather, my customers know they can reach me all the time for personal appointments when they need something or want to host a party. Fans can also find out where I’ll be through the Upcoming Events section on my website (www.shopstyledelivered.com) and Facebook page where I list all the fairs and events where the Style Delivered Boutique is planning to be! We also have a regular weekly “stop” at a shopping center so customers can come by and shop during their lunch break!
How have your customers reacted to the mobile boutique?
They LOVE IT!! People seem to really like the idea of shopping in a mobile store, especially a pretty one. It’s clean, relaxing, and easy. The convenience of having it “come to YOU” offers a wonderful and unique service—its truly VANTASTIC.
How has your Sprinter helped grow your business?
Going mobile helped DOUBLE my business last holiday season…enough said!!
If you could give advice to other growing businesses about going mobile, what would it be?
It’s important to spend a lot of time thinking about what your needs will be before you get into action. Try and anticipate how you will be using your mobile store…what type of stops will you be making, gas mileage, staying in town for local events, or going long distance. How many people will need to access the van at one time? How can you make the van flexible?
What’s in store for the future? More vans? Different product categories?
This is a question I ask myself every day and I am not entirely sure of the answers quite yet. People ask me all the time if I plan to franchise, add more vans, change the style or focus of future vans. Right now I am focusing on my second Holiday Season in the Sprinter, and complementing the mobile business with my new e-commerce platform. I’m excited to see how it all unfolds!