By Angelica Anderson
Throughout history, fashion has evolved with the times — so has the business of fashion. For most of history, customers came to retailers in their brick-and-mortar stores, perhaps attracted by ads in traditional media. Today, however, new media and technologies have made it simpler than ever for brands to reach customers, often creating intense competition to see which company would get there first.
Faced with both the high cost of running a store and the competition of e-commerce, some fashion retailers found a third way.
Warby Parker, based in New York City, has been selling eyewear over the Internet since 2010 when they realized they needed to find a way to separate their brand from all the online clutter. Warby Parker decided to take their company’s product out on the streets, to their customers. The result? A big yellow school bus on tour called the “Class Trip,” stopping in nine locations across the Unites States from New York City to Los Angeles, with a stop in Dallas.
E-commerce has revolutionized the retail industry. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2011 to 2012, e-commerce sales increased by 15.2, while retail sales – in brick-and-mortar stores — increased by only 4 percent.
Social media sites are continue to make it easier to click and buy. Sites like Net-a-porter, Shopbop and Zappos offer a wide selection of clothing and accessories with easy shipping and returns, while Gilt Group, Ruelala and Ideali offer the biggest bang for your buck. Even Twitter has recently partnered with American Express to create Amex Sync, which offers customers m-commerce (mobile commerce) options through @replies and #hashtags.
With all this clutter, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for customers is crucial. Warby Parker’s school bus serves as a “virtual showroom” where customers can try out the stylish, affordable eyewear. Warby Parker says the Class Trip brings “our showroom experience to life.”
Warby Parker’s school bus made its home in Dallas off of Henderson and Knox, providing the same affordable eyewear as their online store. While they were only in Dallas for two weeks, they were able to make an impact on the community.
A group of local friends and business partners also saw a mobile showroom as the perfect cross between a brick-and-mortar store and an online retailer. Charlotte Jones Anderson, Jennifer Clark, Alyson Griffith, Capa Mooty and Wendy Poston created LuxeLiner, a mobile clothing boutique, out of an old FedEx truck to literally take fashion to the streets.
With a big collection of basic pieces – graphic tee’s, tanks, and boxy shirts – and jewelry, the LuxeLiner has won loyal followers in Dallas. As a result, the friends have not advertised, but relied heavily on word-of-mouth advertising and social media to get their name out.
“I want women to feel like they are shopping in their best friend’s closet,” says Mooty. “I am proud of everything we buy to sell in this truck. I won’t put anything in here I am not willing to wear myself.”
To track LuxeLIner’s whereabouts visit their Facebook page or follow them on
Warby Parker has arrived at their final destination in Los Angeles and will have their showroom set-up around the city until March 24.