A Rolling Boutique: Waves of Attire

Owner of Waves of Attire: Katie Skala with Sister Jessica Skala

Katie (front) and Jessica Skala

We have seen food trucks chock-full of food including ice cream, hotdog/hamburger trucks…and there are even gourmet food trucks. But the latest addition to the vendors-on-mobile squad has arrived: fashion trucks! Instead of serving lobster rolls and garlic fries, these businesses are hawking full-blown boutique fashion shops on wheels. They are the latest business trend, springing up on U.S. streets – with eye-catching graphics and colors, and attractive names painted on their mobile. With lower overheads and more flexibility, they are the closest thing to a brick-and-mortar store. Fashion trucks are so trendy that they’ve even appear at Coachella Music Festivals, private parties, city fairs like OC/LA Fair, and many more.

Waves of Attire - fashion truck

Meet fashion entrepreneurs Katie Skala and her sister Jessica, owners of the fashion truck named Waves of Attire. Waves of Attire, based in Lakewood, California, is one of the hottest boutiques on wheels in Southern California. It was founded in 2014, with a specialty in women’s bohemian-chic clothing. The hip rolling boutique has been featured in LA Times and other fashion blogs. I had the chance to visit their truck and meet the Skala’s at one of the events in Costa Mesa. I was impressed with their reasonable prices (nothing in the truck costs more than $50), quality beach clothing, and the eye-catching decorations.

Accessories - Waves of Attire

In spite of their hectic rolling schedule, these hardworking entrepreneurs were able to answer my questions about their business:

Ruchel: How did you get started with Waves of Attire? When did your business start rolling out? Can you give us the background of why you named your business Waves of Attire?
Waves of Attire: Waves of Attire officially launched in October 2014. The truck was bought in June, so the whole summer was spent building out the interior. “Shelly”, as we appropriately named her, was originally a Bimbo bread truck so she came with all of the bread rails still inside. We named our business Waves of Attire as sort of a fun play on words (“attire” like “a tire” because we are mobile and driving), while still giving away the type of environment feeling we want to convey (“waves” for the beachy look).

Ruchel:  How did you finance your business and what was the process like?
Waves of Attire: Thankfully we did not have to finance our business to get it on the road and running.

Ruchel: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Waves of Attire: It’s still pretty thrilling when a customer comes into the truck and says she saw us online and just had to come see us in person. I also still get excited and love seeing our repeat customers aka “wavesbabes.” When I was creating the vibe and feeling of the truck, it was important to me that we created a comfortable and friendly “just chilling with my girlfriends” environment. The thought being that the customer chooses to come back – not only to shop, but to hang out with us, catch up, and visit; because they now feel a part of our journey, and they are in our “wavesbabes” family.

Katie Skala owner of Waves of Attire

Ruchel: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Waves of Attire: We fail all the time! It’s part of the entrepreneur world! If you’re not failing when you’re growing a business, especially a new one with no bullet point road to success, then something is wrong. It’s not supposed to be easy, and I think that’s part of the reward; when things go great, you know how hard you worked to get there! I will say, we also choose to laugh a lot! It’s how we get through the failures and find the energy to wake up the next day and try again.

Ruchel: The retail truck business is so new, what are the rules and regulations that allow you to operate.
Waves of Attire: We must have all the legal licenses like any other functioning business, except for the fact we require more insurance since we are mobile.

Shoppers inside Waves of Attire truck

Shoppers inside Waves of Attire truck

Ruchel: The concept of mobile boutiques is not growing in popularity as rapidly as food trucks did. What are your thoughts on this?
Waves of Attire: Unfortunately, that is true, the mobile boutique industry is growing a lot slower than I think most of us had expected. Even though new trucks pop up all the time across the states, I think they quickly realize what a difficult niche it can be pretty soon into it. The biggest issue being that in order to be open for business you need somewhere to park, which seems simple yet in actuality extremely complicated, and its still considered a new idea to a lot businesses and events that are hesitant.

Ruchel: How do you promote Waves of Attire? Do you do a lot of social media?
Waves of Attire: We use Instagram, mainly, and Facebook to market and promote our business daily, posting about 2-3 posts a day. We post about new inventory arrivals as well as the locations we’ll be parked at the coming week.

Follow Waves of Attire on Social Media

Ruchel: Where do WOA usually sell?
Waves of Attire: Waves of Attire stops at farmers markets, college campuses, festivals, fundraisers, salons, and “girls night in” house private parties.

Ruchel: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Waves of Attire: Entrepreneurs ultimately have the ability to fail or succeed all at their own hands, which can be a substantial amount of pressure. Most entrepreneurs don’t have a lot of money since the money they do have goes into building their dream. The schedule can be flexible and is a huge plus, but you lose the stability that a solid paycheck brings. There are definitely positives to each side as well as negatives.

Ruchel: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Waves of Attire:
1. Stay positive! It can be so hard some days!
2. Let the good days outweigh the bad! Truth is, especially in the beginning you feel like you can be working towards nothing all the time, and then you have an amazing day and it refreshes you to keep going!
3. Listen to your gut! Your gut is what got you here to start your own business, it wasn’t easy but something in you told you to do it. Stay true to your entrepreneurial spirit and always follow your gut instinct.

Ruchel: What is your ultimate goal for Waves of Attire?
Waves of Attire: I know we would love to grow Waves of Attire into the ultimate girls night experience. When you just want a fun night in with your friends, drinking wine, gossiping, and why not add some fun shopping in too, because who doesn’t love to shop with their best friends!! We really strive to be the first Orange County fashion truck women think of when they want convenience mobile shopping.

Ruchel Freibrun and Katie Skala

Ruchel Freibrun, popbuff blogger and Katie Skala

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Comments

  1. Wow! Love this article. I had never heard of a fashion truck. I’m going to find one!

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