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Innovation & Job News

Mobile consignment boutique gears up in greater DC area

Runway Wheels, a mobile consignment boutique, is making a go of it in the District. Founded by Allyson Shaffier, the startup has been holding pop-up events since the launch of its website in July. Shaffier is planning a tour of D.C. college campuses this spring.
"I noticed the food truck trend and the mobile boutique trend," explains Shaffier, of her decision to start Runway Wheels. "Others are doing this in Los Angeles, South Florida, Atlanta and Arlington. They're all boutiques. I'm going for simple consignment."

At Runway Wheels, consigners will sell their goods upfront for 30 percent of what they will be sold for. "We pay upfront," Shaffier says. "Then people can shop immediately at our truck."
Like food trucks, mobile clothing boutiques have been gaining momentum as a business model because the overhead of truck ownership is significantly less than that of a brick-and-mortar store. StyleRide, Street Boutique and Curbside Fashion Truck all serve the greater D.C. area's mobile style needs.
Shaffier believes she has found a niche with college students and consignment. "Millennials are demanding convenience," Shaffier says. "And, in college, there is so much social pressure to be fashionable." Runway Wheels can help, she says, by bringing consignment to students on campuses, and by giving college students an affordable way to be stylish. "People are taking out enormous loans [for college], and that money isn't always going where it should be," she says. "This is sustainable."
In addition to pop-up events, consigners can sell their wares to Runway online. "D.C. bloggers have been wonderful customers for us," Shaffier says.
Right now, the only thing missing is the actual truck. Shaffier was granted a small business loan from Kiva for $5,000. She would like to raise another $12,000 in angel investments to acquire a truck and truly make her business run.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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