Creating a Mobile Boutique Out of a 6x10 Cargo Trailer

Sharlene Plescia
by Sharlene Plescia
I have an Etsy store where I sell hand illustrated shoes and clothing. I decided that when I retired in 2012, I was going to take my business mobile. I purchased a 6x10 cargo trailer. My husband and I transformed the inside to a boutique environment that I am VERY proud of! The final result was better than I could have dreamed! I plan to take Struttin' Your Stuff Boutique on the road starting in July (after the ever anticipated cataract surgery happens). On the road again!
My husband checking out the interior of the trailer the day I picked it up.
The trailer has plywood walls and painted plywood flooring. The doors and concession window are plastic so that will be another challenge to figure out what kind of paint to use.
Here I am with coffee in hand of course, taping off the walls which took longer than anything. Doesn't it always?
First coat of paint applied. The interior is going to be white and red. I chose white walls because it will make the interior appear roomier. I chose red accents because that was my Mom's favorite color.
Yes, we painted the door red, which was my plan. However, we used the wrong paint and it started chipping without being touched. Lucky for us, it pretty much peeled right off with a few light blasts from the heat gun. Back to the hardware store for a paint meant for plastic!
I learned how to lay tile for the first time ever. (My husband's first time too). But, thanks to his guidance, we got it spot on as far as the tiles matching up in 99.9 percent of the floor.
This is my Audrey print that I purchased at a yard sale for $10! I bought it originally to resell at my vending venues, however, when I put it up in the trailer, it was a perfect fit.
Next came wall grids and storage furniture. My intent here was to have storage areas while at the same time, having a showroom at vending venues when the rear double doors and the concession window were open. My husband put together some IKEA storage cabinets for me and installed them. I also wanted a nice place to sit and work with portable table and chairs when I stop to rest overnight or to hang out with my friends and customers at different sites.
I found a PERFECT chair to match my handmade black lace valance and drapes that frame Audrey. Just for an experiment, I placed two dress forms dressed in elegant dresses on each side of Audrey to see how it would look. Small plastic trays below the dresses will hold matching hand illustrated shoes.
I looked everywhere for a red curtain and hangers to put up so my customers could try on clothing. All I could find was a lipstick red cloth shower curtain and vintage looking hangers with matching beads on them. It was a perfect fit!
The final result was more than I could imagine and I am so happy! Of course I had to go out and spend more money for decor. I purchased lipstick red bath rugs because that color is so hard to find in regular area rugs but they were perfect, lending a soft feel (literally) to the interior. The rugs serve a dual purpose to protect the tiles from getting scuffed up. The storage boxes were not checkered but they are lightweight and add a little extra to the trailer which needs to be kept as lightweight as possible for towing.
Last step in the mobile boutique process was exterior graphics on my car and trailer. Signs in 1 Day in Citrus Heights did a fantastic job and although the process took a few days between submitting my design, targeting some changes in the design to fit and maximize the Mobile Boutique wording, the actual application on the vehicles took only two days.
Well, there is a next step and that is to go out and sell product in addition to getting myself back into shape so I can keep up with the pace!
And the process is completed. Ready to go on the road! My dream is finally a reality!!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 4 questions
  • Erika Ritchey Erika Ritchey on Jul 23, 2016
    How do you keep the clothing from moving when transporting ?
  • RoxVee RoxVee on Dec 27, 2016
    Classy yet sassy, nice. I do have a question: Horse trailers and many cargo trailers have unfinished ceilings....What did you do to prevent condensation? Here's my retirement project in Nebraska.
  • Renee lang Renee lang on May 16, 2017

    What kind per permits do you need and how do you classify your business? Are you a mobile fashion truck., mobile boutique, pop-up shop, when speaking with entities about permits and regulations? I too just got a cargo trailer and am having a hard time working with cities on how to license and permit my business. so I can actually start vending. My business is near Chicago and I am being told that because its not a box truck it cannot be classified as a fashion truck and that we are more of a pop-up shop. thank you - Renee - Discover Melange

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4 of 152 comments
  • Giselle Giselle on Sep 05, 2017

    Your shop is stunning! I love how you styled it! I have only ever seen painted shoes Europe and I loved them. I will have to explore your site. Good luck with your business!

    • See 1 previous
    • Giselle Giselle on Sep 05, 2017
      I'm sure whatever path you take will be an adventure! Good luck!
  • Meaghan Stanglin Meaghan Stanglin on Jun 03, 2019

    I love the way your trailer turned out! I am about to start doing shows this month, and the venue requires 70% of the product inside the trailer. I am so excited about decking out my trailer!