Two fashion-loving friends launch a mobile footwear boutique.
by Catherine Ruth Kelly
Food truck, flower truck, juice truck … shoe truck? That’s right, ladies. Charlotte now has a mobile women’s shoe store.
Elston is the brainchild of former boutique owner Laryn Adams and her friend, Stephanie Reynolds. The name is a combination of Adams’ bygone SouthPark area boutique, chezElle, and Reynolds’ maiden name, Stanton. The truck is the fusion of their love of style and, in their opinion, a shortage of shoe shopping options in Charlotte.
“We felt there was a need for forward-thinking lines of high-quality shoes with a moderate price point,” Reynolds says. “We wanted to offer something fresh and different with an emphasis on individuality.” Coclico, United Nude, Veja and Zadig & Voltaire are a few of the brands Elston carries.
Adams and Reynolds had been wanting to start an unconventional retail business for some time. They are both married with children, so maintaining a work/life balance was key. One day over lunch, they put the shoe-truck plan in gear.
“We wanted the flexibility of a mobile boutique, so our first priority was finding the truck and the perfect firm to upfit it,” Adams explains. “Once that was secured in Colorado, we went to task on buying inventory.”
While Adams has nearly 15 years of retail buying experience, the shoe market was new to both her and Reynolds.
“We muddled through markets in several cities,” Adams says, “but we had the most luck in New York.”
Stocked with shoes and a variety of accessories and jewelry, Elston set up a temporary shop in Park Road Shopping Center last spring while they eagerly awaited the arrival of their truck. It finally rolled into town in August, and Elston has been making appearances throughout Charlotte ever since.
“We’ve had a great response from businesses inviting us to pop up in their parking lots,” Reynolds says, “and charities have asked us to make appearances at their fundraisers, which has been a great way for us to give back and support the community.”
Adams and Reynolds have been pleased with the response to Elston so far and are buckled up and ready for the shoe-truck ride.
“Our focus is finding cool and different things to help our customers express their style,” Reynolds explains, “and we always manage to have fun along the way.”
If the shoe fits, keep on truckin’. SP