There is a fully operational purple truck roaming the streets of New York City.
Inside you will find clothes, jewelry, cell phone accessories and a dressing room.
This fully stocked closet on wheels is none other than Le Suite Boutique — “the urban chic mobile boutique of NYC.”
Founders Iran Ortiz and Mareana Torres are longtime friends who leaped into business together after Ortiz voiced the idea.
“We went to lunch one day and I told Mareana ‘have I ever told you about my idea?’ and she was like ‘no’ – it was just random,” Ortiz explained. “I told her that I always wanted to open up a store but now I’m thinking about opening it up on a truck. They do it in L.A. a lot and I haven’t seen it done in New York yet. She was like ‘let’s do it.’”
Both ladies had known each other through work, initially meeting at a Yonkers lounge and reconnecting at Dyckman bar in Washington Heights – a popular location where the ladies often park up.
Popular in Los Angeles, Ortiz and Torres bring the trend of mobile boutiques to New York operating as a pop up shop across the boroughs. “Some people are afraid to come into the truck. They’ll stand in front of it and they’ll just look and I have to tell them to come in. Like, we’re not going to move with you,” Ortiz said.
“I think they have to adapt to the idea of stepping on a truck. I think the whole truck business because it’s always been like a food truck, something they can order from a window, it kind’ve throws people off,” Torres added.
Sidestepping New York City’s rent cost and issues in finding the “right” location, the dual owners invested in building out a truck and registering for the appropriate commercial permits.
“It took us almost a year to bring it to life,” Torres said. “Just finding a truck, building it out to how you want it, thinking of a name, a logo, getting permits just building relationships with companies that will work with you to actually sell you the clothes.”
Along the sides of the truck there are clothing racks and shelves housing women’s street wear and contemporary brands such as Married to the Mob, Crooks and Castle ladies, Civil Clothing and more.
Upon walking up the short three stairs into the elevated store, you nearly forget that you’ve entered a truck once the air conditioning hits you and you’re tucked in a dressing room trying on dresses, skirts and more.
“It’s urban chic. It’s for the girl that wears sneakers but she can wear dresses as well. It’s like walking into a closet and picking out what you want to wear for the day,” Ortiz described.
Now in their second year of operation, Ortiz and Torres have regular corners they occupy in Williamsburg, Washington Heights and other neighborhoods. Their frequent shoppers know when the truck is out through Instagram updates.
With New York City’s unpredictable weather, Le Suite Boutique can only be out and about if the sun is shining. Any chance of rain or poor weather conditions halts the operation for the day.
“For now, the weather determines our schedule. We still have regular jobs, Iran has a new vodka going on and I still bartend at Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and she still bartends,” Torres said.
While the weather proves to be an unavoidable challenge for the team, the ladies counter act it with frequent social media updates so that their customers always know what’s on the truck and can place orders via Instagram or email.
Being able to drive to where the customers are, Ortiz and Torres have nailed their desired locations through trial and error. Battling parking tickets — their truck must still adhere to appropriate, legal parking laws — the duo have found a system that works, which includes creating partnerships with business and participating in events.
“Right now, we’re going on our second year,” Ortiz said. “We have a good following in certain places like Williamsburg, on Dyckman, the Meatpacking and on Hudson street we have a good corporate following and the upper east side. Those are like our regular spots and we fill them in with events at bars and lounges, now we’re doing events with hotels and college campuses.”
The future for Le Suite Boutique may result in the creation of a store and additional trucks as the brand continues to expand.
Follow Le Suite Boutique on Instagram to find out when the purple truck will be parked up on a corner near you or head to their online store (www.lesui