Our Vintage Caravan Renovation, Mobile Retail Space Project - Part 1
A few months ago, we decided that we were ready to embark on a new adventure with Dalla Vita. :)
We had been a part of a retail store in Santa Barbara, CA for just about two years. We were a shop within a shop. Having a retail space while we were just starting out was an amazing opportunity however, it didn't take long for us to realize some of the limitations that having a brick and mortar location presents. When we launched our e-commerce site last January, it was always our intention to have both an online and the physical retail presence. However, no matter how hard we tried we just couldn't seem to make the two harmonious and it felt like we were running two different companies. In the store space we sold only our succulent designs and plants, where as online we were selling many more home and garden items in addition to our succulent arrangements. That big divide combined with the unpredictable foot traffic in store, expensive rent, and the fact that we were constrained to be in only one location all the time were just some of the downfalls we were experiencing. We came to the conclusion that all of these tricky details weren't going to work for the long term vision of our company and we became eager to break the mold of this traditional retail experience and do something different. We started to brainstorm ways we could potentially bypass these restraints, all while still reaping the many benefits and assets we had enjoyed from having a physical store space. We felt that our one on one interactions with customers and the great sense of community it gave us was invaluable. Not to mention, having an actual space where our customers could see and enjoy our design work in person. We also found that our customers really enjoyed having the ability to get to know us, the people behind the work, and the story of how Dalla Vita came to be. Obviously we weren't ready to give any of that up, and then one day the light bulb just went off, "Why don't we open up a mobile retail space?!" Needless to say, we ended up having one of those "Well, DUH!!" moments...
So excited about the prospect of this new idea, it didn't take us long to start figuring out ways in which we could make this mobile retail shop a reality. With this new venture, it would make it possible for us to sell all of our products, home and garden online AND in store. It would still give us the face to face business we so loved, as well as, the flexibility to travel not only around town, but to do pop-ups all along the west coast, and potentially even some small tours around the United States! And who doesn't love an excuse to travel, am I right?! After just a few days of researching and browsing trailer listings online, we decided to make some moves.
We stumbled upon this one listing for a 1966 Shasta trailer, and something about it was just different. Within a few hours we decided to make the drive out to Lancaster CA, and wouldn't you know ... we ending up buying it on the spot and trailing it home. It was in pretty rough shape when we picked it up, but we got it back to SB in one piece and that's all we needed to get started.
We knew we wanted to go with something different from the Airstream style trailer and nothing as tiny and short as a canned ham. So we were pretty excited when we found this 16 foot Starflyte model Shasta because not only did we love the quirky and unique shape of it - but it was the perfect size for what we wanted to do! I mean, just look at it- isn't it so cute?!!
Stay tuned as we post our progress and bring this baby back to shining glory!