Before and after camper renovation of MADI Apparel's new mobile boutique March 31, 2018 18:52

MEET MADI MOBILE - the tiniest undie shop with the BIGGEST PURPOSE
Check out one of the coolest camper renovations of all time ^^. 

Hey guys, it's me Hayley - founder/CEO of MADI Apparel!  We're so excited to launch our newest storefront presence to you - #MADImobile - after seven months of painting, repairs, gutting, additions, etc.  We've had so many followers wanting to know how we went about each of the renovations and why we chose to open a mobile boutique instead of a second storefront.  So, I figured I'd spell it all out for you myself :)!  

Since launching our flagship store in Kansas City's historic Westside neighborhood three years ago (Spring of 2015), we've seen a ton of exciting growth.

MADI GROWTH:

  •  In terms of sales, we've grown at a steady organic rate of 25% per quarter each year!   We entered our first department store, Von Maur, in 2017 and added about 10 new stockists distributing MADI Apparel across the US. 

  • We launched sales online summer of 2014 with just 6 styles of black underwear - no other products.  We've been able to introduce new products I've designed into our line slowly but surely over the years, and now we sell a full collection of intimate apparel and sleepwear - panties, bralettes, sleepwear, robes.  

^^ one of my original sketches for our bamboo sleep tank launched in 2015
  • Thanks to your purchases, we've now donated over 4600 pairs of underwear to women in need all over the world.  

^^2016 underwear dropoff in Quito, Ecuador
  • Since 2015, we've been employing only women in KC to cut/sew our entire line of intimates, and we've now launched a new program through our non-profit to train and employ local at-risk women.

The above growth had us itching for a new MADI addition!  We considered another storefront (which could be in our near future), but we didn't know which city/market was the best one to enter first!  I had the idea to get on craigslist and search for a mobile presence.  I can't explain it, just an urge all of a sudden for a trailer or truck!  

And, sure enough, we found the camper of our dreams:

^^ A 1956 Vintage Ham Camper previously owned by an artist in Oregan

^^This was the day we picked her up, in Leavenworth, KS August 2017.  We were STOKED!

 So, we landed an investment with a supporter from our board of directors and then we were literally ROLLIN away with this old hunnie! My husband and I were so excited and couldn't stop smiling on our way home, thinking of all the fun renovations we could do to it.  

^^ Photos of inside the camper on the day we took her home...we had a lot of work to do! 

One thing we loved about this particular camper, and one of the reasons we chose to buy it, was that it didn't have a stove or fridge or anything actually functioning for a traveling camper.  This would have the opposite appeal on most people, but for us we just needed an empty room for our "storefront" on wheels!  #MADImobile just needed a whole lot of tlc...

So we got to work!

Step 1.  Research and develop design concept

My husband and I envisioned a very clean, minimalist + luxury + cool vibe that would mimic or stay on-brand with our KC flagship store.  We researched mobile boutiques/fashion trucks all over the US but couldn't find one that fit the bill as inspiration!  We finally came across photos of this beauty in the photo below.  The mobile boutique of shoe brand Freda Salvador.  We loved the clean white interior and luxury-like exterior.

^^The exterior and interior design concept were inspired by cool lux shoe brand, Freda Salvador

Step 2.   Get to paintin'!

For the inside:

Because the camper was full of original wood and pieced woods of varying shades and textures, we decided to cover the walls with burlap fabric - just like the walls in our KC flagship store - and then paint the burlap white to brighten it up a little in there. 

^^To apply burlap over the wood, we used a spray adhesive from a local hardware store.

For the outside:

Well...we couldn't quite make up our minds...

^^ First, we went with the darkest purple we could find...But it wasn't nearly dark enough :)

^^We went darker, and it was way cooler, but just not yet quite right...

 

^^Major creds to the hubby for thinking white...and man was he RIGHT :) 

Step 3.   Install walnut wood display table and other wood fixtures

Danny and I knew this was out of our wheelhouse, so we asked our cool friend Phil, co-owner of Wheat and Waves, to help with the walnut installs.  He did an AMAZING JOB!!!  He and co-owner Jordan surprised us and went above and beyond the display table/ceiling arch we asked for...

^^ Surprise #1: They covered our beyond ugly wheel well inside with walnut, creating a tiny small table (left part of image.)  That walnut is beyond dreamy, huh?!

^^ Surprise #2: They made us a bench and shelf out of the walnut! And, they painted our odd colored original wood cabinets white for a nice clean slate! My mom was pretty happy about the new renovations!! :)

^^Danny and our friend Phil, owner of Wheat and Waves, who did all the walnut wood installs!

Step 4.   Install living moss wall

This was a very time consuming part of the process.  Because the moss was living, we had to pull tiny sticks and such out of it after it came in from the seller.  We used the same spray adhesive as we did for the burlap wall coverings!  

How does the moss stay alive, you might ask?  Does it need to be watered?  Etc...

Living moss walls are actually very low-maintenence.  The room does not need natural light or moisture.  Actually, a room with too much sun can actually wash out the color of the moss and a more well-regulated temperature is preferred.  We chose to use reindeer moss.  Some moss requires more attention like light misting and soaking, but "if you choose to use reindeer moss, then you don’t need to do any maintenance because this variety can withstand both hot and cold climates and a range of lighting." says Brooke Bobb from Vogue in How to Create Your Own Living Garden Wall - Just Like on Instagram. 

Step 5.  Update + add lighting and display fixtures

Step 6.  Add exterior decals 

We worked with our favorite in-house design team member, Marissa Naggi, to come up with the perfect decal designs!  

Here's an original sketch I made of the exterior decal placement.

^^The moment MADI #1 met MADI #2 :).  #MADImobile lounging in front of our KC flagship store

^^We used metallic copper spray paint to update the window frames

Step 7.  Hit the road!  

Special thanks to our #MADImobile biggest fans and investors, Mitzi and Tom <3

Our goal at the very beginning of this project was to continue our growth with a new storefront that wasn't stuck.  You guys are all over the states and have been supporting us these last 3.5 years by purchasing our products, making donations to our non-profit, spreading the word about our mission, etc.  We can't thank you enough, and we want to bring MADI to you!  If you know of a shopping festival coming up in your city or if you'd like to host #MADImobile at an event, please contact our team! info.madiapparel(at)gmail.com.  We'd love to bring this babe to meet you.  Thanks for your always continued support.  

XO, Hayley