Out of the driver’s seat of a retrofitted plumbing truck stepped Sandi West wearing a pair of tan wedges, a pink fit-and-flare dress and a statement necklace.
Last Thursday, the fashionably dressed West had set up shop at the Gray Street Farmers’ Market in downtown Louisville before traveling to Lake Forest later that evening for a house party with one of her regulars.
West started Sandi’s Styles Fashion Boutique about two years ago and a year ago made it her full-time job.
Unlike regular clothing stores, West’s business is on wheels. She travels throughout Jefferson, Henry, Franklin, Oldham and Shelby counties with her mom, Jessie Covington, in the aforementioned plumbing truck, which is now hot pink.
The interior of the truck was retrofitted to include wood floors, a small dressing room, and white shelves and racks for her merchandise, which she otherwise stores in a home office.
About 75 percent of West’s business entails her driving her truck stocked full of dresses, shirts, necklaces, shoes, belts and more to women’s homes for private parties.
“That is the most fun,” she said. “Ladies can have wine and margaritas.”
Similar to a Tupperware or Lia Sophia party, the host gets a reward: a 10 percent cut from all sales.
In addition to attending farmers markets and festivals, West gets invites to set up outside offices. Recently, Sandi’s Styles parked at steakhouse chain Texas Roadhouse’s headquarters off Dutchmans Lane.
Everything in West’s truck is less than $50.
“I wanted it to be affordable,” she said, noting that many of her customers are working moms who can’t afford to spend a lot on clothes for themselves and don’t always have the time to get to the store. “That seems to be my best customer.”
If she doesn’t have any place in particular to be, West said she will pop-up somewhere. In Louisville, her go-to spot is near the corner of Fifth and Market streets.
West recalled one customer who stopped by the truck after realizing she’d forgotten to bring an additional outfit for a business event the same evening. The woman told West she’d been walking down the street bemoaning the fact that there were no quality stores downtown when she saw Sandi’s Styles.
The truck has been a great investment, West said, because it has a low overhead and advertises itself as she drives around.
“It sparks the interest,” she said, when people notice the hot pink truck.
West declined to say what her revenues are but said she is working hard to reach the $1 million mark.
Her current focus is improving her website and making it more search engine optimization (SEO) friendly. With more eyes on her website, West hopes she can work smarter rather than harder and expand enough to need a small warehouse space to store her merchandise.
“That is my big goal.”