Katie McCarthy is a trendsetter. One year ago, she launched Stop Shop and Roll, the first mobile business of its kind in San Diego, selling fashionable and affordable women’s clothing in pop-up locations throughout the city.
After working at Nordstrom’s for 11 years, Katie wanted to do more with her passions and expertise. While she couldn’t make clothes, she knew she could sell them. “Fashion and working with people was my niche,” Katie says. So she bought a truck and headed from her home in San Francisco to San Diego, where she went to college and had a network of supporters.
Her business, a type of mobile boutique already making waves in San Francisco, became an instant hit. She parked her truck at farmer’s markets, private parties, and festivals, allowing seven people at any one time to shop and try on clothing. “It’s an intimate setting, which enabled me to meet a lot of people in the community,” she says. Through her connections in the fashion industry, Katie enlisted the help of 8-to-10 local designers to source the business with a wide array of clothing and accessories. Many were passionate, but few had the ability to make it their full-time job and find accessible outlets for their craft.
Accion has opened my network of people at a faster rate. It has helped create a family.
Thanks to Accion’s partnership with The Hartford through its Communities with HART program, Katie expanded her business footprint and created jobs in her local community. To help meet increasing demand, Katie qualified for a business loan to open her first storefront location and purchase new merchandise for the mobile and storefront business. The loan also helped her hire two part-time workers to help run the shop, purchase a point-of-sale system to track inventory, and secure a new awning for her truck and store.
With additional capacity, Katie now works with 15-to-20 local vendors to supply her business. She expected around 30 people to attend her store’s grand opening in November, but close to 100 people attended. The event brought together the many creators of the products she sells and featured free giveaways and raffles from other local businesses on her street.
While mainly geared toward customers, the grand opening also brought together unique talents in the local community. In one such connection, Katie says that a woman who makes soap met another woman who makes perfume, and now they’ve teamed up to make perfumed soap. By having both a mobile and storefront business, Katie says, “It has opened my network of people at a faster rate. It has helped create a family.”