While enjoying an evening at the Clearfork Food Park or having a drink at a local pub, you might see people climbing into the back of a giant off-white florally decorated delivery truck.
On a closer look, you’ll see that the truck with the words “a wandering boutique” painted on the sides, is exactly what it says to be – a traveling boutique complete with a dressing room.
The Soulful Gypsy is a boutique truck owned by Fort Worth native, Amber Paschal. The fashion guru parks the 1980s model Mrs. Baird’s Bread truck, “Merle” as she calls it, in parks, on streets and at events around the Fort Worth area to welcomes shoppers to climb aboard the truck and shop.
“There’s magic to it,” customer Sarah Sampson said. “You have to stumble upon it. You can’t just go to a brick and mortar place. You have to almost find it like a treasure.”
The Soulful Gypsy boutique truck is the first of its kind to open its sliding door to Fort Worth locals. Paschal opened Merle Sept. 12, but she didn’t begin her fashion business with the truck.
Paschal is a former hair dresser and educator. Her husband, who worked in the oil and gas industry, had to move across the country for his job. After they came back home for work again, Paschal said she needed a creative outlet, but knew it needed to be one that did not involve “digging roots in the ground,” she said.
“The online shop was a way for me to be creative, make a little bit of money and also be a stay at home mom,” Paschal said.
The “wandering boutique” came about when Paschal wanted to expand, but knew her husband may move around a lot for work.
“The fashion truck was my brick and mortar shop and it could go with us wherever we needed it to if we were to move again,” Paschal said.
Fashion trucks began popping up around the U.S about six years ago, according to an article by Business Insider. However, it wasn’t until around 2013 that the trend started to explode following the footsteps of food trucks. Paschal said her inspirations were trucks like Nomad, out of New York City, and Nomadic, out of Austin.
Starting her online business was easy, she said. She just had to purchase the clothing and the website. Opening the truck, on the other hand, was much more difficult. In total, the truck with all of its repairs and paint job costed about $20,000. Learning how to drive a manual 1980s delivery truck without power steering was also a challenge for her.
“It really is a gypsy life,” Paschal said. “A lot of things go into running a truck just like a food truck and a lot can go wrong. And I don’t think there’s any way to really learn all that jazz without living it. I have really learned to go with the flow and to just keep on truckin’ since opening.”
She said she fills up on gas before every event, which adds up to about $175 a month.
Many factors can affect the boutique’s kind of night such as weather and time. She also has to know how many people will be attending the event in order to now how much stock she needs to keep in her truck.
“Each gig is different, and so preparation is crucial for success,” Paschal said. “Much like any other kind of event.”
That preparation is something that Paschal said she believes is worth it.
“I love a free bohemian look, although I’m kind of all over the place and truly believe that fashion is such an art and self-expression,” Paschal said. “When I’m searching for these clothes, I’m all about searching for my soul and what I really want to wear and being true to myself, no matter what it looks like.”