In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Denver boutique 0wners have been faced with many obstacles, as well as changes that have not been easy to cope with — even for a local and already adaptive mobile boutique. Electric Dream Boutique is a mobile clothing and accessory store on wheels that is based out of a millennial pink “fashion truck,” affectionately referred to as Beatrice by owner Adrienne Scott-Trask and customers alike. Beatrice can be found daily, in various locations around Denver, such as popular brunch spots like Snooze and Four Friends Kitchen. You might even find this fashion truck in your local suburbs, as Scott-Trask and Beatrice are known to stroll through neighborhoods now that COVID-19 has changed our lives and businesses. These convenient locations are always announced on Instagram to help plan your day of shopping.
In an interview with 303 Magazine, Scott-Trask shared how her business has been affected during the pandemic and what changes she made to accommodate her customers.
303 Magazine: Describe roadblocks that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to your business. What are the most difficult parts of owning a fashion boutique during this time?
Adrienne Scott-Trask: I think the most difficult part was honestly trying to figure out where to be with the truck. We do have a really good following in Denver, which I am really grateful for, but for the most part, it is just finding out the new spots. Not going downtown anymore because downtown was a ghost town, and finding the suburb area that people were still busy enough that it brought us enough foot traffic to survive. That was definitely the hardest and most challenging part was finding where to be again. It felt like I was starting my business from scratch.
Then I found that people aren’t traveling as much, and a lot of our business is tourism especially in the locations that we park. I found that not having those tourists in town made a huge difference in terms of our sales. The last thing I can think of was restaurants being at half capacity really actually affected us, everyone just thinks this directly is restaurant-related, but it really affected our business as well. Most of the spots that we stop at are all brunch spots, or busy restaurants, or bars and so just having the half capacity thing also affects how many people are coming into the truck as well. In December when restaurants shut down their indoor dining that was a killer for us big time. It was supposed to be our busiest season with Christmas and whatnot, and we did a couple of events that were awesome but for the most part, our business was really slow in December.
303: With shutdown and limited capacity would you say having a mobile boutique has been beneficial during the pandemic?
AT: I think it definitely gave us an advantage, I was super lucky that overhead is not as high as most boutiques. The other thing is that being mobile, we can see where people are going and kind of adapt accordingly which was really nice. I think honestly just the fact that we weren’t in an enclosed space, especially in the summer months when everyone was outside and walking around, I think people felt safer on the truck. Because usually there is one or two people on there at a time. That factor alone and the fact that all of the doors are open and there is air going through it, kind of flushing everything out. I think that people just felt safer in that environment and that set up in terms of shopping instead of going to the mall. I think there are a lot of advantages and there were many days I thought I was super lucky to be doing what I am doing in this situation.
303: Did the pandemic limit the number of pieces you purchased for your boutique?
AT: Yes, 100%, most of our fancy, nicer, cute outfits that we usually carry and that we are known for we just had to switch completely. 75% of our inventory is all just comfy loungewear now and easy stuff. Then, in terms of how much we were buying this year I had to run our business completely different, everything was a lot more lean. I wasn’t buying as great of quantity, it was like, we will get six of those and six of those, opposed to the 12, 18, 24 that we usually buy, everything was just really lean this year.
303:How have you coped with the roadblocks of the pandemic? Do you offer online shopping?
AT: Our website was kind of non-existent in the beginning of the shutdown, we were in the midst of rebuilding everything so it kicked my butt in terms of getting everything on the website again. We had already started even without the website, doing try on parties so that people could order directly from Instagram, that’s what we switched over to when everything shut down. We would have weekly or biweekly try on parties; we would do sale stuff and then we would do regular stuff so people could order.
303: If the COVID-19 restrictions continue how will you cope with them? Would you change anything you are doing currently?
AT: If the COVID restrictions continue it may hurt our business even more in 2021. In 2020 people kept shopping because they were optimistic and shopping for when things get back to normal. We are now at a point where people have just accepted they have nowhere to go and nowhere to be so everyone’s living in comfy stay-at-home clothes. From our experience, people are shopping a lot less right now. We will keep showing up with new, cute stuff and keep promoting our business and what we do. We remain hopeful that eventually the tides will change and people will start shopping again and when they do, we will be ready for them with the cutest clothing possible! As for right now, we just keep trying new locations in hopes that we find areas that we can park the truck that will keep us busy and allow us to survive these challenging times. Right now we’re just experimenting with a little bit of everything to try and survive and see what works!
Customers can shop all Electric Dream clothing and locate the truck on the website.
All photos courtesy of Electric Dream Boutique.