Many Angelenos have gotten crafty with entrepreneurial efforts over the past few years: converting homes into rentable space, cars into transportation-for-hire and closet castoffs into hot items to sell in online shops. Tossing curated goods into a transformed truck, bus or trailer has emerged as a viable alternative to starting a traditional retail business. The upside: a rent-free shop (aside from car insurance) that allows owners the freedom of going to wherever the buyers are.
Though the caravan of mobile boutiques seems to have thinned from its peak popularity, a few wanderlusty businesswomen’s shops-on-wheels have risen above the rest, whether for offering mint-condition vintage, affordable trend-driven fashions or locally sourced handmade goods. The Instagrammable, remodeled vehicles don’t hurt, either.
Susan Forrest-Reynolds and Lucia Reynolds, the mother-daughter duo behind this extensively revamped 1992 Blue Bird school bus, don’t boast a retail background. No matter—the stock of modern, often locally made wares (Donni Charm neckerchiefs, Sophie Monet handcrafted wood jewelry, Monserat De Lucca leather bags and Maison Louis Marie fragrances, to name a few) is all the proof you need to trust the pair's taste. BTLA typically pops up all over Los Angeles, from Pasadena to the Pacific Palisades, from Thursday through Sunday. Expect to find the bus stopped in front of farmers’ markets and flea markets as well as foot-traffic-heavy spots like Sunset Junction or Main Street in Santa Monica—in short, wherever the stylish set is.
Jamie Lee initially intended to become a teacher, but after a trip to Korea—during which she was awestruck by the country’s incredible stock of Japanese vintage clothes—she discovered a new passion and began forging a different path. With her 1970 Airstream Safari, the vintage curator travels to the Rose Bowl Flea Market and the Melrose Trading Post with a selection of clothing and accessories that spans the 20th century, with a focus on fashions from the Edwardian period through the 1940s (think pin tucks, pleats and beadwork). Blossom’s beautifully decorated interior boasts artfully worn antique furniture, dried-flower gardens and potted plants, but fashion insiders flock to the trailer for vintage threads with a modern feel and natural fabrics like straw bags, linen blouses and Indian-print wrap skirts.
When lifelong friends Erin Johnson Merrick and Rhiannon Sandoval set out to share their love of fashion in the form of a retail experience, it was by way of pop- ups. Just a couple of years later, in early 2016, the two invested in and overhauled a truck with the goal of hitting the road to bring affordable trend-driven pieces to women all over Southern California. Based in Santa Clarita, their pastel floral mobile boutique regularly hits foodie festivals like Downtown L.A.’s Smorgasburg and flea markets across the region, but it’s also available for private events. Shoppers can expect to find plenty of breezy boho staples like floral rompers, off-the- shoulder tops, lacy bralettes and Western- inspired faux leather bags.