Colorful prints, designer denim (True Religion, Hudson) and velour track suits line the racks of Shop Sublime, a mobile fashion boutique parked outside an Ahwatukee Foothills home on an early Tuesday night.
Inside, Lori Davis is one of 30 partygoers who came out for the annual Foothills Women’s Club’s holiday party at hostess Terrie Overstreet’s house. Davis makes her way through the luxury motorhome, oohing and aahing at prints that catch her eye.
“I think this is great,” she says. “It makes shopping more social than shopping by yourself. And it’s good for busy women.”
That was Renee Patti’s goal when she created the rolling boutique last spring, which features a dressing room, in Cleveland. In August, she relocated her business to the East Valley.
“I wanted to take shopping to women on the go,” says Patti, a former accountant who started Shop Sublime as a Web site in 2002. “I thought (Phoenix) would be a more fashion-forward town than Ohio and that it would do even better here. I thought it would fit into the busy lifestyles.”
While there’s no denying that Phoenix is more fashion-forward than Cleveland, Patti says that people in Ohio embraced the concept more.
“I think people are a little leery out here,” the Ahwatukee Foothills woman says. “I feel like until they actually come on board, they kind of think, 'What is it — a trailer with clothes?’ but once they come on board they’re like, 'This is awesome!’ ”
Patti says she hand-picks each item — prices range from $20 to $400 — herself.
“I go to the (fashion) shows in New York three or four times a year and look at all the new lines coming out,” she says. “I love to carry unique things. It has to be worth what they’re going to pay, great quality and very figure-flattering.”
Patti requires a $75 deposit, which is applied to a full shopping credit, for those looking to reserve her rolling boutique.
“If it’s a private party, the hostess receives 10 percent of gross sales,” she explains. “If it’s a charity organization, they get 15 percent cash.”
Party hostess Overstreet, eyeing a $154 little black dress by Susanna Monaco, says Patti’s business is brilliant.
“It’s a very unique idea,” says Overstreet, a 45-year-old interior designer. “She obviously knows what she’s doing.”