What if shopping suddenly became as much about the experience as about finding just the right item? That’s the goal behind Barlow, a mobile boutique and online store created by Susan Charlet in March of this year.
Hopping from private events to residential street pop-ups to festivals and other open-air events, Barlow is meant to arrive in style. “The boutique is fairly novel, and people absolutely love the simplicity and the opportunity to shop and party,” says Susan. “It’s quite different than a brick-and-mortar store, since the fashion comes to you.”
With nostalgic neon signage, 9-foot ceilings, antique pine hardwood floors and a hand-painted mural on the interior, the boutique-on-wheels was in the works for more than a year before its debut, resulting in a spacious, glowing interior that feels more like a celebrity’s walk-in closet than the cramped quarters of a trailer. And in an era where COVID-19 has restricted opportunities for people to get out and shop as usual, Barlow’s mobility has been an asset.
“We are scheduling private events more than expected,” says Susan. “The fact that we bring the store to your front door or neighborhood without you having to get out in the general public has inspired many people to book shopping events.”
Cage Charlet, Susan’s son who also helps with the business, says that the whole endeavor always intended to keep the customer at the forefront in terms of the items it stocks and the experience it provides.
“When my mom goes to buy new items at market, she’ll bring my younger sister and several of her friends who have similar taste and style. Of course she’s thinking of the best price points and what fits her target demographics, but she’s also buying things that she would want to wear herself,” he says. “Surely we hope to expand to several more types of styles as time goes on, but she’s always thinking of potential events or occasions or personalities that go with the clothes, and buying with real shoppers in mind.”
For fall, Barlow shoppers can expect to see reimagined trends like tie-dye, frilly jeans, fun hats and even shoulder pads. As for the future, Cage says Barlow hopes to appear as a brick-and-mortar store in downtown St. Francisville in a few years’ time. Meanwhile, Barlow can be seen next rolling into the famed Round Top antiques fair in Texas between October 15 and November 1 (check out this story about Round Top from this month’s issue of inRegister).
For information on booking and to see where the mobile boutique is headed next, visit barlowfashion.com.