Professional women can often confuse themselves for professional jugglers. With the amount of responsibilities, activities, and events crammed into our schedules, we rarely find time to think about ourselves and what we’re wearing. Rosie Vann-Dalton and Sande Brandt want to help change that time-crunch issue for women in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Their company Couture in a Can offers professional women a unique and convenient way to update their closet without ever having to start their car. Sound too good to be true? Keep reading!
4word: To begin, tell our 4word readers about “Couture in a Can.”
Rosie: Couture in a Can is a mobile boutique in a vintage Airstream that brings the store to you. It’s a ladies boutique on wheels with 20-30 designers whose styles we coordinate into outfits so that we can dress our ladies for anywhere from the boardroom to the ballpark. We are able to dress her for her working life to girls night out to watching her kids on the field. We buy limited quantities of each style and get fresh shipments all the time. We always have something new so that you don’t have ten other women wearing the same outfit.
Our mission statement is to make shopping easy by bringing the store to you to help remove the stress from shopping.
4word: What sparked the two of you to take a leap of faith and start your own business?
Sande: Rosie and I both worked corporate retail before we started Couture in a Can. The company we worked for went through several policy changes, and it really was going to affect the way we interacted with our customers, so we decided it was time to start our own boutique.
After quite a few outings of looking for the right location, we started talking about the customer and what we would be a good location for them. We had both heard so many times when we were dressing ladies in the fitting room that they wished we could just come to their houses. So many of our customers wanted to get into the store to see us and have us help them, but their schedules just did not permit the trip.
So we saw the Airstream trailer in my backyard and thought, “Gosh, I wonder if we could just bring the store to our customer?” And that’s how we got the idea for Couture in a Can!
4word: What is your main driving vision/purpose behind Couture in a Can?
Rosie: It is to simplify a busy lady’s life. Typically, our target market is a woman who is trying to keep all the balls in the air, doing the juggling act all of us busy, working mothers and women multitaskers do. Our main purpose is to alleviate stress and make things easy for our customers. Our typical woman likes to hire things out and work with another service that makes her life easier.
4word: How have professional women responded to Couture in a Can?
Sande: They love it. Professional women really are our target market, like Rosie said. Our customers are the ladies who want to look great, and they need to look great in their profession, but they just don’t have the time to go from store to store, or they just really don’t love putting outfits and wardrobes together. They really enjoy having our help with dressing them.
We’ve also found that a lot of women have a lot of “the same” in their closets, because they just gravitate toward “their look.” We really try to create a safe environment for someone to come in without any sales pressure, let down those walls, and let us put them in a fitting room and try things on that we think would be very flattering for them. Usually we have them try on things that they’ve always avoided, thanks to that negative dialogue we all have in our heads as women regarding our bodies. We love when someone comes in, and we get the opportunity to dress them up and let them see themselves through our eyes. They often leave with something they don’t already have in their closet and receive compliments and get asked, “Where did you get that?” It’s a fun story that they get to tell their friends about their experience with us. We feel like that experience is what we really sets us apart.
4word: With your third anniversary coming up this month, what are your “next step” plans for Couture in a Can?
Rosie: We just launched our new e-commerce site, so that our customers can shop online with us. We haven’t done this until now, because we were afraid it would be an inventory nightmare for us. (We sell through our inventory very quickly!) Our e-commerce site is through a company called Shoptiques and we are so excited about reaching more women!
We are also in the process of getting all of our ducks in a row to franchise. We have a second Airstream currently being retrofitted for us to use. It is seven feet longer than the original “Can” (Can 1) and looks like a store inside. The new “Can” (Can 2) will have four fitting rooms and more room for inventory. We’re deciding what the transition will be for Can 1 after Can 2 is ready to go. Eventually, we’d love to see Couture in a Can in every major city!
4word: What advice would you share with budding entrepreneurs who have a business dream but aren’t sure how to get it off the ground? Did you have any struggles to deal with as you grew your business?
Sande: I feel like what really sets Rosie and I apart from the other mobile boutiques that have sprung up since we launched is the passion that we’ve put into Couture in a Can, the desire to keep it going, and our work ethic. As long as you’ve got those three things, you’ll find yourself getting to live your dream every day and call it “work.” It’s not that we don’t work hard and work a lot, because we do. It just doesn’t feel like work, because we really love it.
Rosie: In terms of struggles that we’ve faced, I think the biggest “hurdle” we had to deal with from the start was that we were dealing with a new concept. We didn’t really have a point of reference to give anyone other than food trucks. That was really the only business model we had to follow, which is not at all the same other than that they’re also mobile. Trying to explain to people that we were going to bring a trailer to their house and dress them up in an air conditioned mobile fitting room in luxury clothing was something that we really had to work hard to sell in the beginning.
It all comes to down to customer service and relationships with your customers. No one is inventing anything new anymore. We didn’t invent retail, we didn’t invent personal styling; what sets us apart is how well we can do it. I do feel that comes down to work ethic, customer loyalty and retention, and customer service. That’s what we’ve learned.
4word: Anything else you’d like to share?
Rosie: On April 16, we will be throwing a party to celebrating our third anniversary. Anyone in the DFW area is welcome! You can find out more information on our Facebook page. We’d love to see some 4word women there!
What a breath of fresh air to see a company focused on simplifying and enriching the busy lives of professional women! Even if Couture in a Can is not in your area, take a cue from Rosie and Sande and set apart some time for yourself. Not only will your wardrobe thank you, but your soul will, too.
Rosie and Sande have been dressing DFW’s most amazing women for the past several years. In our years of experience in dressing our clients we have found that honesty is the best policy. We can always find a suitable style for each individual woman to allow her to look the best she can for her figure and lifestyle. “Can” philosophy is, to take the stress out of shopping and make you feel that you always look the BEST you could possibly look for ANY occasion.
We enjoy working with women from all walks of life, from executives to stay @ home moms and everything in between. We provide both classic and cutting edge trends and demonstrate how to wardrobe them throughout every lifestyle. That is why we created our Couture in a Can services, to bring the personal styling services of a high fashion boutique to the comfort of your own home or office.
With Couture in a Can you will always be encouraged to get the pieces that will enhance your wardrobe. Never do we want you to buy “occasion outfits” because nothing is more wasteful. The goal is to support other women in the pursuit of feeling fabulous without any of the headaches. Rosie and Sande believe in giving you the advice in wardrobe that they would give their own moms, sisters, and girlfriends. Women supporting women, doesn’t it make you HAPPY?!?