SAINT JOHN– In Pursuit, Atlantic Canada’s first mobile boutique, is adding to its fleet with a second truck and looking to its community of customers for help.
Owner Dominique Leger says customers have been asking about a second truck for a while now, plus she also needs more room for inventory.
“Above everything else, the decision was made because that’s what people keep asking for. It was really a no-brainer on my part,” she says.
“With the truck right now, it serves its purpose really well, but there’s just so much out there by way of new products and new lines and new makers and new designers that I’m introduced to all the time that I love so much. But because the truck is so small, it’s so hard to acquire all I really love and really want to showcase.
Since hitting the road four years ago, In Pursuit has started integrating some stationary, greeting cards and gifts items. Though a limited amount of those kinds of products could fit in the giant pink truck, they’ve been a hit. She says the second truck will be dedicated to these kinds of products.
I just identified a gap in the market. It’s not something that we really have here. A dedicated store that sells quirky things, things that are a little bit more sassy,” says Leger.
“The second truck won’t have any clothes whatsoever. It’s literally going to be an extension of the first truck. It’s going to be every single thing you know and expect from the first truck, but more. The same kind of attitude and same kind of fun an excitement and just positive energy … it’s just going to give it its own separate space.”
Leger launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to raise money for a down payment on the new truck. One of the reasons she went this route was because she was unable to get financial support from some of the sources who helped her out when she first launched.
“In my planning, I quickly came to realize that the same type of funding wasn’t available to me that was available to me the first time around,” says Leger.
“Where I received funding from the first time, they’re more than happy to support a brand new business that’s just getting off the ground, but when it came to an expansion, nobody was really willing to give me money for that.”
Since In Pursuit has always been community driven when it came to its product offerings, Leger says she decided to try a community approach for raising funds for the second truck’s down payment. In exchange for support, she’s offering rewards that would appeal to her customers, such a special VIP Card and having an outfit named after you.
“I’m always forever asking, “Do you want this? Do you not want this?” and people tell me. So the reason why the truck exists is [because] of the community, so I thought why not then give the community the option to buy into this,” she says.
“I’m hoping to not have to approach the bank and get a high-interest loan because the money I would spend paying back on interest is money that could be spent on product and bringing in fun new, cool things.”
Though Kickstarter is a lower-risk option in the sense that it allows Leger to gauge interest and not have to take a loan, it is also an all or nothing platform. Meaning, if Leger doesn’t meet her $10,000 goal in 28 days, she doesn’t get a cent. But she says if that happens, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a second truck.
“If I don’t meet the goal, it doesn’t mean there won’t be two trucks. It just means that I’ll try harder a different way,” says Leger. “There will be two trucks regardless, but I’d love to have two trucks because the community made it happen.”
Though a second truck means carrying more cool products, Leger says it will also mean a few more jobs in Saint John. She says the second truck would create one full-time position as well as two additional part-time jobs to staff it.
“My plan has always been that’d I’d find that person that could just hand over keys to and say, ‘Here’s your business. Go crazy,’ ” says Leger.
“It’s a proven concept. I know that it works. I know that Saint John is the perfect place for this type of business, because of the people here and because of the community I’ve been serving for the last four years. The person is going to be set up to succeed.”
Leger hopes to have the second truck on the road for this summer.