Fashion on Wheels as Boutiques Shun Storefronts

PHOTO: The Nomad fashion truck parks on NYC streets selling bohemian-style clothing for under $100. Courtesy of Jessie Goldenberg
The Nomad fashion truck parks on NYC streets selling bohemian-style clothing for under $100.

Traveling businesses are on the move as truck entrepreneurs expand beyond food service to lines once only offered in storefronts.

Strolling down 21st St. and 5th Ave. in New York City, you might stumble upon Nomad, one of the 500 fashion boutiques on wheels today, according to Lia Lee, founder of FashionTruckFinder.com. “This business is relatively new and expanding every day,” she says.

Before hitting the road, Nomad truck owner Jessie Goldenberg, 26, began her journey as an NYU student, majoring in film.

After a stint working at a small boutique in Brooklyn, the former TV production worker and Westchester native quit her job to move on to bigger things. “When I was working in the boutique, that’s when I knew I wanted to own my own business,” Goldenberg told ABC News.

But with little credit and student loans, the idea of owning her own store seemed nearly impossible to Goldenberg.

“I learned how expensive the rent was and one day, I was watching a 'Today Show' spot on up-and-coming fashion trucks,” she said. “After seeing that, I felt that this new idea was much more in my reach.”

Goldenberg says that it cost under $100,000 to get her business running, as opposed to renting a storefront in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which would’ve cost $6,000 to $15,000 per month, not including overhead, she says.

Goldenberg raised $5,000 on a crowd-funding site, and pooled money from close friends and family who were willing to contribute to her dream that launched in May 2012.

“My biggest challenge was raising the money, and after financing the truck I had to learn to deal with all the mechanical stuff that came with it,” she said. “I never thought about things like running electricity and buying a generator before this.”

PHOTO: Nomad fashion truck owner Jessie Goldenberg is open for business daily. Courtesy of Jessie Goldenberg
Nomad fashion truck owner Jessie Goldenberg is open for business daily.

Despite initial challenges, Goldenberg hit the road in April of 2013 and business has been booming ever since. “It varies, but we can get anywhere from 50 to 250 people a day,” she says. “When there’s a street fair that we’re involved in, we get a lot more customers, just as many as any successful boutique.”

Goldenberg has plans to gain greater presence in ecommerce through online sales on her site, thenomadtruck.com.

For now, the boutique-on-wheels owner is soaking it all in. “Seeing how excited people get when they come on board, it’s my favorite thing,” she says. “Interacting with people from all over the city is something that’s very special to me.”

Nomad’s inventory includes bohemian, Californian-chic styles all for under $100. The truck’s location is posted daily on their website.