A few years ago food trucks were the thing and a rash of motorized eateries burst onto the scene. While a few still survive today, many seemed to have fizzled out. Now a new mobile business may be on the rise in Detroit.
By day, Deidra Hogue is a corporate financial analyst for an automotive supplier. But during her spare time she runs a mobile boutique. She got the idea after reading an article about Sloane Street Style in the Detroit Free Press. After endeavoring as a local fashion blogger and a personal shopper and stylist, the natural progression seemed to be to open a retail truck of her own, and in July the Traveling Pants Co. made its debut.
"I had started a fashion blog, but it wasn't serving me and I was bored," says Hogue. "Detroit isn't the market for hiring a personal shopper or a stylist."
But for those who board Hogue's retro-fit FedEx truck, she is something of a personal stylist. She hand selects each item carried inside the Traveling Pants Co. and is mindful of her customers' needs while also making sure to support other businesses owned by local women. Of the 200 items stocked on her truck, around 30 percent are from local designers and artists like Trish's Garage and Sydney James.
Hogue carries on-trend dresses, skirts, and tops in sizes small through 3X, plus handbags and jewelry. While some are sourced from close to home, others come from as far away as Australia. Items range from $20 to $100 and Hogue makes sure to keep price points reasonable.
"It's a new way to shop and a lot of people either assume that I make everything on the truck or that it's resale, so I want to make sure there's no sticker shock," she says. "I can keep my prices low because I don't have the overhead of an actual store."
But just because her store is mobile doesn't mean she doesn't have all the amenities of a brick and mortar location.
"People are amazed that I have a fitting room," she says. The 10-foot-by-16-foot truck also has a full-size mirror, and Hogue is constantly adding details to make it more inviting. Of course the brightly colored mobile boutique is eye-catching as is.
Hogue parks her truck at Eastern Market during the summer months through the end of the Christmas shopping season, but come January she'll only be available for private events until the weather warms up again. The truck's last public appearance of the year will be at the Urban Apothecary on Saturday, Dec. 19. The pop-up shopping event is being held at Exhalation Integrative Wellness at 18930 Greenfield Rd., Detroit.
During the winter months the truck is available for bridal parties, birthdays, and any event that serves a maximum of 10 ladies.