How to start a Fashion Truck

The Fashion MobileI get a lot of emails asking me how to start a fashion truck. Looking back, it happened so fast that I really didn’t think about it too much. We just found a truck, built out the inside, bought some inventory and launched it as fast as we could.

We figured things out on the fly too. Insurance, payment processing, bank accounts, forming a LLC, social media accounts, websites, finding events to go, marketing, painting the truck, interior design of the truck, graphics, building steps, scheduling home parties and a couple of other dozen things.

Here’s the thing though: everyone seems to worry about two main things: insurance and permits and licenses. To be honest, I didn’t have any problems getting business insurance. And the permits and licenses required vary so much from city to city and place to place that we just dealt with them as they came up.

Business Liability, Contents and Vehicle Insurance

So for our business we have two different types of insurance. Actually three types of insurance. Our company is a LLC (formed online through So our LLC has business liability insurance. This is for someone who gets injured or hurt while shopping with us. And it protects other businesses that have you come to their place when you do a show there. Usually they have you add them to the additional insured section and then they are covered.

Then we have contents insurance. This is a separate insurance policy that covers our merchandise against damage, fire and theft (i think theft – please don’t steal anything from me people). These policies are usually very inexpensive and just give you a piece of mind in a worse case scenario. Ours is actually rolled into our business liability policy so we only have to pay one policy for both coverages.

Finally we have vehicle insurance for the actual truck. This is a commercial auto policy and like regular car insurance. It covers us if we are in an accident or if something damages the truck. Here’s a tip: for the extra expense get towing coverage on your policy. If your truck breaks down (and it will it’s just a matter of when!) getting it towed will be expensive. Better to get it covered in your insurance and hope that you never have to use it!

Permits and Licenses

Permits and licenses seem to hang people up the most. And because of the newness of mobile boutiques the rules and information about them are spotty at best. Mainly the agencies that would grant you a permit or license have no idea how to classify you so they can’t give you a permit.

Here’s the thing though, you only need a permit if you plan on parking in a public downtown area/city limits and you aren’t part of a scheduled event. Because when there is a scheduled event/festival the main permit has already been granted and you will fall under a blanket permit and therefore be covered. Also, if you do private parties at peoples homes or on private property you don’t need a permit (as far as I know – I used the don’t ask don’t tell method in these situations).

One thing that you don’t want to do is start parking in downtown areas without a permit or license. You’ll probably get told to move on or possibly get fined for operating without one. Then you get on the cops or authorities radar and that could make things tough for you. Don’t make it hard on yourself. If you want to go to a downtown area then call the licensing office first and check to see if you can. If you can’t then you could chance it (not recommended) or you can do what I did and get an ordinance passed by the city council.

In the city of St. Paul there was no ordinance on books that would allow someone to sell merchandise from a vehicle in the downtown area. So I met with the business development council a couple of times and brought my truck down there for them to see it. Surprisingly, they loved the idea and invited me back to help them answer questions so that they could draft an ordinance. They did and it passed the City Council vote 5-0! The whole process took about 8 months or so but it really wasn’t that bad. I haven’t tried to do this in Minneapolis yet but I do plan on trying to find out if they are open to it.

The overall point of all this is to say don’t let things like insurance and permits or licenses slow you down. You’ll learn as you go and find our things as you go. Get the truck up and running as fast as possible and get customers as soon as possible and blow them away with your great products and service. Get out there to festivals and events and schedule some home parties or private shopping parties. Don’t get stuck before you get started. Go as fast as you can and make it happen.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Stina January 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Thank you for your inspiration and recommendations! I am planning to get a truck and set up my clothing shop after losing my retail shop I realized it is better to not be tied down to one place! I look forward to sharing my journey with other entrepreneurs like yourselves. Stina


Teresa admin January 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Good luck to you!


Rhonda April 2, 2014 at 3:09 am

Where should I go to get a loan to start my own mobile retail truck. This is so “me” and not sure how to get started with the financial part

Thank you your time




Samantha Nicolette April 30, 2014 at 6:36 pm

This was very to the point and informative! Thank you for sharing.


Brenda June 7, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Thanks so much for sharing your insights. I had been looking for a mobile solution to selling my items and have been researching starting a truck. It’s the perfect solution and I’m so ready to get started. In particular, I love your advice to “go as fast as you can.” 🙂


Tameca June 14, 2014 at 6:11 am

Thanks for sharing. A lot of sites are charging for this! This was very helpful.


Dianne Dorman June 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm

When you guys go to a festival or craft show do you pay the promoter or just park in the parking lot?


Ruth July 7, 2014 at 5:12 am

I had this idea for a long time I just didnt think it would do well. But now that I’m older and see that it would be crazy not to I would like to say thank you for sharing your story. I dont have much money to start out with to start my fashion mobile but at start is a start.


Elke October 14, 2014 at 3:58 am

Hello! I found your website awhile ago and I was just going through my bookmarks and found you so wanted to say hi! I actually am just finishing up my gypsy junQue bus! I bought an old school bus and my boyfriend and I gutted it! It’s going to be ready to roll the first part of November! Check out my Facebook when you have a moment 🙂


Elke October 14, 2014 at 3:59 am

You can check it out here!


Lady M November 27, 2014 at 4:53 am

I would like to commend you in your entrepreneurial endeavor. I think it’s just awesome. I started my own jewelry business about 5 years ago. I’m a street vendor. My lifetime friend (now lives in Pennsylvania), and I (now live in NYC) are planing to start our own mobile boutique somewhere in Florida. Our children are all grown. . We are ready for the next chapter in our lives. We are not waiting for anyone to write it for us either. I believe that “we control our own destiny”. It’s people like you that think out of the box that inspire people like us. We would appreciate any tips you could share with us with our endeavor. Best wishes to you and all your future endeavors. Thanks. and GOD bless!!!


HeritageDeignersThrift244KG December 21, 2014 at 2:49 am

Third time reading your story. Funny eough I have been rebuilding up my Clothing Accessories & Jewelry Business in a similar way. Thank you again for sharing sharing your positive story.

I’m an immigrate and I have always owned Clothing Stores/Art Craft Gallery Stores, at least in different Countries where I have lived before Understandablly, one always has to constantly keep sustaining own dreams without letting outside issues imped you.

Regards Namwiinga M’Bzu


Judith White March 14, 2015 at 8:15 pm

This article was very informative & helpful. Thanks for the tips


Twyla Winsor March 25, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Thanks for information. I’m so excited on getting my fashion truck started.


Shannon Holland April 5, 2015 at 4:37 am

Hi, my name is Shannon Holland. I have been going through a long crazy divorce and have been a stay at home mom for 12 years. I’ve lost lost all my connections, plus I was just diagnosed with MS. I saw one of these trucks in LA. I thought to myself I would love to do that. I love fashion and I enjoy helping people look their best for whatever occasion they’re shopping for. I’d love to pick your brain and ask for as much help as you can pass along. Thanks in advance .

Shannon Holland


Kat April 20, 2015 at 8:33 am

I was hoping you could help me out with the make and model of the vehicle you use for your fashion truck? I really want to get one and cant seem to find the same style anywhere.

Thank you for your help



Tatiana May 1, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Hi, congrats and your awesome super cute fashion truck!!

How much would you say it cost to have your fashion truck happen?


Rebecca June 26, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Hi David and Teresa!

Just curious if you’ve made any advances with the Minneapolis City Council regarding the mobile fashion trucks? Thanks!


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