The price of retail space in New York City can be daunting, especially for young entrepreneurs. A lesser duo might have found this obstacle insurmountable. Iran Ortiz and Mareana Torres instead turned to their ingenuity and decided to bring the fashion to the people. With a leap of faith and a lot of elbow grease they launched their fashion truck Le Suite Boutique. Their mobile fashion store now serves clients in several NYC boroughs including Manhattan, Bronx, and Brooklyn.
Today Iran and Mareana tell us how it all started and their plans for the future.
Tell us a little about yourselves and how your friendship began?
We are both Latinas, I am Dominican and Mareana is Puerto Rican. Our friendship began when we worked together at a lounge in Yonkers, NY. Mareana was a bartender and I was a waitress. A couple of years later we became even closer when we ran into each other at a bar where we both bartended.
When did you know that you wanted to be in the fashion retail business?
Iran Ortiz and Mareana Torres
Iran: I’ve worked retail most of my life, but never felt happy. After college I started working for Ravinstyle which at the time was a very popular online boutique. I felt at home there and loved every piece of clothes my boss picked out at trade shows. I loved going with her and my other coworkers on shopping trips, then putting the pieces we picked into outfits for the site. That’s when I knew that I wanted to open up a boutique of my own one day, because it was a job that did not feel like work. I actually liked being there and learning the business. The idea never left me. I thought about it every day.
Mareana: I never thought I would be in the fashion retail business but I knew I always wanted to run my own business. I graduated from college with a degree in business marketing/administration.
What lead you to starting with a fashion truck rather than a brick and mortar storefront in NYC?
Throughout the years I thought about what kind of clothing I wanted to sell and the customer I wanted to attract. The hardest decision was deciding what neighborhood to open the store. This is when I thought of putting it on wheels. I mentioned my idea to Mareana during lunch one day and she loved it. That’s when we decided to go into business together.
You chose to paint your fashion truck in the Pantone Color of the Year ‘Radiant Orchid’. What ultimately lead to that decision?
Shopper at Le Suite Boutique
We wanted to pick a color that was meaningful. Radiant Orchid was great because it signified 2014, the year our brand was born.
Le Suite Boutique Fashion Truck
How important is it to be on trend with the clothing you choose to carry?
It is very important. Our customers are bold and like to wear new trends. We want our customers to look at a magazine and know that they can find something similar at our store.
Share with us some of the items you have on offer to clients?
Dark Floral Reverse Ruffle Romper
On our truck we have floral halos by That Madonna Girl (Twitter: @thatmadonnagirl), Back packs by Sprayground, Clothing by Ladies Crooks and Castles, Hellz Bellz, Married to the Mob, and Civil. We also carry my very own Jewelry line Endless Noise.
How important is social media to the success of Le Suite Boutique?
Social media is very important to the success of Le Suite Boutique. That is how our customers find us. We are not always at the same location. We are also not open every day. Social media is how they can find out what we have on our truck, what days we will be open for the week and our locations. We also let them know of any special events we participate in.
What’s next for Le Suite Boutique?
Mother nature also determines when our truck goes out. During the winter months we plan to launch our online store. We also plan to open up two more trucks and then a Brick and Mortar store in the next couple of years.
Find out more about Le Suite Boutique online: