Loss of job leads to budding 'rolling' boutique
It's not too often someone buys a massive 184-square-foot, ugly green truck on the spur of the moment.
And, also in that moment, do a complete 180-degree career change after devoting decades to a specific profession. But single mom Kelly Mason did just that.
While she didn't originally purposefully chuck her marketing job in the medical field - health care reform caused her to be 'let go' - today she said she'd "never go back" to the corporate world and gets nearly physically sick when she opens her closet and sees the buttoned-up business suits from those days.
Instead of constant international and domestic travel, high-heels and polished sales pitches, Mason's "office" is that no-longer-ugly green truck she's fancied up shabby chic and loaded with vintage inspired - and many authentic vintage - clothes, boots, purses, hand-made jewelry, accessories and much more. All her items have her inspiration, and many her personal touch.
Mason's business's name tells it like it is. In the cab and behind wheel, Mason's rolling boutique is called KlothesnMotion. Mason drives all the unique items she's designed, painstakingly made, or transformed, to hundreds of locations such as a business parking lot during lunch hour, flea markets, bazaars, craft shows and barn sales.
Instead of a "food truck," Mason's jazzed up truck serves up clothes and items not found elsewhere. It's taken customers by storm.
"The first time I was laid off from my long-time career I was literally devastated," said this mom of 15-year-old son Dylan. "I was able to find another job, and when I was let go from that one I wasn't devastated, but was angry. I was motivated to never work for anyone else again."
That said, it wasn't a stretch to figure out what to do. She's the sole provider for her son and was out of a job and in a profession that radically changed.
"I've always made my own clothes and jewelry and such," Mason said. "People would always come up to me and tell me they loved them and where did I buy them."
A couple days after she lost her job, she bought the truck and changed her life.
"I know, I just did it, it sounds odd and I know people thought I was crazy," she said. "Losing that last job enabled me to follow my heart and soar."
She also said a large part of her 'sea change' is showing other women when things get bad and you are forced to regroup, "you absolutely can!"
Mason explained her unique design sense and ability were born out of necessity.
"Well, I hung out with what's called the 'cool kids' in school," she said. "They all had money and I didn't."
Her dad was disabled at a young age.
"I had to compensate for not being able to just go buy stuff," she said. "So I'd go the Goodwill or thrift stores and completely redo the clothes. Everybody loved them."
When she was voted Homecoming Queen, she knew she had to have a dress. She bought an old one and put sequins and embellishments on it.
"I've done this my whole life," she said. "They are all handmade, and designed by me."
After Mason got that ugly green truck, she found someone to paint a design on it with her logo. She set to work making the inside into a shopping fashion retreat with vignettes that show off her vintage inspired and bohemian clothes, shoes and jewelry.
"I have a wonderful inventory of things," she said. "I've only been 'rolling' about a month, and people just love everything."
Her website is also taking off.
"It's been a whirlwind and very successful," she said. "Most of my things are cozy and comfortable. I'm very particular about the texture of the fabrics I use. I guess I've always been good about putting outfits together. Women see an ensemble and just buy the whole thing. My items are very custom."
This busy mom - she also teaches aerobics and works about 18 hours a day - has recently been to flea markets, barn sales, private events and is even booked for a Christmas party. She also has a line of candles called "50 Shades of Scents."
"My whole concept is to build a private label," said Mason. "A full line of clothes and accessories."
However, Mason said she fully knows the importance of customer service.
"I understand how to treat customers," she said. "I like to build long term relationships, and in some ways people are buying me and the way I respect and treat them. I know women buy on emotion. I like to think my things make them feel good. Many of my clothes come with a story."
After 21 years of traveling and selling, Mason said her long, hard hours building her business is a "relief." She knows about tenacity and managed to have several jobs and still graduate with honors from college.
"Nobody can take this away from me," she said. "I know when I hire people I will only hire ones with a good work ethic and similar philosophy."
While her rolling boutique is her mainstay and top priority, Mason said there may be plans to experiment and add a small storefront, along with KlothesnMotion. She also wants to design a men's line.
Fringed boho purses, workout gear, "catching dreams" tops, custom pants, handmade dresses, scarves and distressed cowboy boots with custom cuffs are a few of her sought after items.
However, the hottest selling bracelet has the words "own your crazy' engraved on it.
"A lot of people probably thought I was 'crazy' to open this business, but if that's crazy then I'll own it!" Mason said with a laugh.
To shop and find the fashion truck's schedule go to www.klothesnmotion.com
Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at email@example.com.
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