Chelsea Hills had a dream. The mother of four works full time at Mule Creek State Prison, but for years she wanted to open a clothing boutique. Her husband saw that she was itching to launch her side hustle, and early this year he asked her, “Why don’t you do a mobile boutique?” A few months later, Hanger Management Mobile Boutique is a big hit at venues and events throughout the county.
Hills was excited to start her new venture, and she started by looking for a suitable truck. She found an old step truck on Facebook Marketplace and bought it in February. Her husband and father, both contractors, went right to work on remodeling the truck. Hills launched Hanger Management in April and had her first opening event on Mother’s Day weekend.
Hanger Management is based out of Hills’ home in Sutter Creek and appears at parties, events, and private venues throughout the county. “My clientele is women, obviously,” Hills said. “I carry women’s clothing and accessories, and I try to cater to every age group and every size.” She added that though her target age is 30 to 50 years old, she has clients in their 20s and older than 50.
Learning as She Goes
Hills currently sources her clothing and accessories from online retail sites. “I’ve only been able to shop online right now,” she said, “but I hope to be going to some clothing markets in Dallas and L.A. soon.” She’s already partial to some brands including Kancan jeans, but otherwise, she doesn’t offer a specific brand yet. “This is a totally new learning experience for me, and I’ve been learning a lot,” Hills added.
That education also includes what quality and price point her buyers expect. “In Amador County, there’s not a lot of places to buy affordable clothing that’s cute, and people go to Folsom a lot to shop for good prices,” she explained. “So, I’m trying to keep it at a lower price point, and I try to keep everything under $50 in the truck.” Her best-selling items are printed shirts followed closely by rompers.
Hills’ customers have given her mobile boutique rave reviews. “Everyone loves it and the concept,” she said. “They think it’s great to have the outdoor shopping experience with COVID-19 having affected a lot of businesses.” She noted that people don’t expect to come to a winery and see a clothing truck. “It’s been really fun to offer a unique shopping experience,” she said.
Hills runs the main business, and her husband helps by going to all the events with her and driving the truck. “I haven’t even attempted to drive it yet because it’s a big diesel truck,” she laughed, “but that day will come.”
Events have been Hills’ focus so far, including at wineries, concerts, and two private parties. Wineries have been her primary venue; Hanger Management was at Di Arie Vineyard and winery this past weekend and has another winery event scheduled for the end of August. “I really enjoy doing the wineries, because I feel like drinking wine and shopping go hand in hand,” Hills said.
She added that she’s grown considerably since she started her business. “At my first event, I was really nervous, and I didn’t know what to expect,” she noted. “Now that I’ve done a few, it comes really easily and it’s really fun and exciting.”
Now that the business is established, Hills has plans for future growth. “Short term, I’m just going with the flow,” she said, “but I’ve learned that people really want to shop online as well, so I’m looking to start an online store that’s coming soon.”
In the longer term, Hills not only wants to keep the truck to offer private shopping experiences but also establish her own brick-and-mortar boutique for people to visit. “I feel the crowds that come in here make it a destination place. I think it’s a great place and I just love the atmosphere here.”
For now, you can stay apprised about Hanger Management events and products on its Facebook profile page and her Instagram profile (hangermanagementboutique). “We post our events and our upcoming locations there all the time,” she said, “and look forward to an online store coming soon.”
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