I opened my mobile boutique, Tin Lizzy, in 2014 as a way to achieve my dream of opening my own retail shop with limited start-up funds. Tin Lizzy is a 1997 Grumman Step Van given a new life as a boutique-on-wheels.
Tin Lizzy travels the Mid-Atlantic region attending outdoor festivals and markets, operating street-side as permitted, and offering a home party service. We specialize in fair trade and sustainably sourced women's apparel, accessories, and gifts.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I earned my first sales via my Shopify shop. About a week before I started operating my truck, I launched my online shop which was a great way to get family and friends involved in what I was doing and generate excitement about my new business. Because my business is mobile and my location is constantly changing, my customers love that they have a way to purchase my products when my truck is in another location.
All of the products that I sell in Tin Lizzy are fair trade or sustainably sourced so I hope to be a trusted retailer for shoppers looking to use their purchasing power to create positive change for marginalized artisans around the world.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
The back-end of my business consists of me, working from home or out of my truck. My boyfriend and I remodelled the entire interior of my truck ourselves to look like a traditional brick and mortar boutique- metal framing, walls, bamboo floor.
When I am not driving my truck to different events or physically selling out of it, I work from home to generate website sales, line up future events, make merchandising displays, and buy new merchandise for the shop. I am so happy with my online shop and I have gotten many compliments on it's ease of use. I am lucky enough to have a talented family member take all of my website photos which makes a one woman operation look like a professional business!
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Just go for it! I am a twenty five year old business owner and feel so much pride when I think about all I have accomplished in the past six months. As a brand new business, I have no idea what the future will hold for Tin Lizzy but I know that I will never regret having the courage to follow my dreams. So many people tell me they wish they could work for themselves. When there are so many wonderful resources to help new business owners (Shopify being one), I can't help but encourage everyone to give it a try!