Carissa Strickland is the owner of M2 Boutique Clothier in Columbia, SC and she has been in business for 2 years. In addition to owning the fashion truck, Carissa worked as an agent at State Farm, so she has a bit of inside knowledge on the insurance game. During this interview she focuses on the pros and cons of using Shoptiques as a e-commerce website platform.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL FIND OUT ABOUT:
- M2 Boutique has contemporary clothing for women and young girls.
- Before the truck, she used to own a brick & mortar store.
- She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Finance. Plus she has had several years managerial experience at several retail establishments.
- When she owned the brick & mortar store in Atlanta, she started to become frustrated because the market / area became saturated with the same types of boutiques all in close proximity to each other.
- The market in Columbia, South Carolina is slightly different than in Atlanta because fashion has not always been as popular. She had a harder time trying to reach her customers, which prompted the idea for the fashion truck.
- She purchased her truck in 2011.
- Her truck search took about 3-4 months. And luckily, one day she found the truck a block away from the State Farm office that she was working at that time.
- The cost for her truck was $4500.
- She quit her corporate job becuase she felt like as an entrepreneur she would have more control over her personal life + her work life.
- She officially closed her brick & mortar store in January 2016. She felt that in order for her to give her fashion truck a fair go, she had to let go of the storefront.
- She use to sell insurance for 5 1/2 years working at State Farm.
- Because the fashion truck concept is so new, most insurance companies (including State Farm, don’t consider insuring a fashion truck a risk that they are willing to take). They will insure the vehicle itself in case you get into an accident. BUT, they will not insure the business b/c the customers actually come on the truck.
- When she did her research on trying to insure her fashion truck, she looked into companies that insured Party Buses b/c the customers are actually on the vehicles.
- When obtaining insurance, review your policies and make sure the insurance provider + underwriters know that customers will be stepping onto the truck to shop.
- Make sure to have a feasible opening date / launch time for your mobile boutique. If you think it might only take 3 months…then double that time, just in case.
- In the future, she plans go back and redo some of the design aspects in the interior of the truck. She especially wants to focus on anything that will make the truck look bigger.
- In South Carolina, the truck ordinances don’t allow you to just park on the streets and start selling, so she mostly participated in events.
- Running the fashion truck is about commitment. You have to put in all of the work to get paid. You can’t be afraid.
- She also offers a service called “Prom Concierge” to help moms find dresses for their daughters.
- She uses Shoptiques as a e-commerce website platform and POS system.
- Shoptiques is great a s far as getting you exposure, but she feels that from a logistics side for smaller businesses they have a lot of things that need to be worked out.
- The “Return Policy” – In her opinion is not suitable for small businesses.
- Shoptiques makes it extremely difficult for small businesses to drop ship / maintain those drop ship relationships.
- It takes them 2-3 days to approve an item that you post for sale.
- The turnaround time to get your money from a sale is extremely long.
- They have really strict image / photo guidelines, which may prevent you from using images from your vendors. They do offer to take product photos for you BUT the requirement is that you must have at least a minimum quantity of 20. However as a small business, most people don’t carry 20 pieces of the same item.
- She plans to transition away from Shoptiques this year.
Sugar Lips (wholesale clothing brand)
The 5th Wave (book)
Panera Bread (app)
Website Platforms / E-commerce sites:
ASK FFT (Leave us a voice-recorded question and we will answer it on the next episode)
FIND M2 BOUTIQUE CLOTHIER:
Website: M2 Boutique Clothier
Facebook: M2 Boutique Clothier
Pinterest: M2 Boutique
ENJOY MORE EPISODES