After three years of selling clothes online, JayDe Ramos of Gainesville decided she was tired of being stationary.
In December 2017 she added wheels to her business and become a fashion nomad, traveling around Georgia in her indisputably teal vehicle called The Boutique Bus.
“It’s really the interaction that I love so much from the customers,” Ramos said. “It’s fun watching people’s reaction when they come in, and seeing them be so excited. I can never give it up.”
Also named Cali Boutique, the bus can be spotted around Hall County and the Atlanta area.
Throughout the week Ramos drives with her husband Aldo to festivals, events and schools. Because most cities and counties have laws for selling items out of a vehicle, Ramos said parking her shop can prove challenging. Even though her business is licensed and insured, it has been turned away from specific locations.
When in Hall County, people can either find the bus at a local festival or school. The boutique’s schedule is accessible on her website.
Being a store on wheels, Ramos said she has been forced to accept inevitable maintenance issues.
“You have to roll with it,” she said. “It’s not normal, things move and we need to take time to fix it up.”
When Ramos and her husband first started driving the bus to venues, racks snapped out of place and items moved inside the bus. Through trial and error the two eventually designed the bus in a way that suited the on-the-go nature of the business.
It includes central heating and air, which people find welcoming during unfavorable weather.
Ramos said she owes most of the remodeling credit of the bus to her husband. Taking a shuttle bus, he revamped it in a way that would accommodate crowds of people.
Ramos said she never imagined owning her own boutique. She worked as a model for five years, which exposed her to the fashion industry.
Frustrated with the inconsistency of her jobs, she opened the online store in 2014. Ramos said 99 percent of her items are made in the U.S. She designs most of the store’s graphic tops and makes its embroidered hats. All of the boutique’s jewelry is made by local artists.
The Boutique Bus caters to a range of ages, from teenagers to senior citizens. Ramos also provides sizes extending up to 3XL.
“Everything I buy has to speak to me,” she said. “There needs to be something about it. I wanted a well-rounded store where anyone could come in and find something.”
The bus parked outside of West Hall High on Tuesday, Dec. 18, welcoming eager groups of teachers and school staff.
Like a teal beacon, women were drawn to the bus throughout the day, eyes widening as they entered its spacious quarters.
Samantha Alverson, media clerk at the high school, said she was skeptical about the size of the bus. To her surprise, the little bus opened up into a roomy and organized store.
“I’m so excited,” Alverson said. “It’s such a cute idea. I was wondering how it would all be set up.”
Despite its size, the shop is even equipped with a changing room.
When Ramos parks the bus at a school or an event, she always donates a portion of her sales to the host’s selected cause. After leaving West Hall High on Tuesday, she donated 20 percent of the day’s sales to the school’s volleyball team.
Over the past two weeks, Ramos said she has raised $1,000 for schools in Hall County.
For private parties, she gives the host a percentage back in “bus bucks,” which can be used to purchase more of the boutique’s items.
She is currently looking for more organizations and groups to benefit with fundraisers. For those interested in reaching Ramos or hosting The Boutique Bus, they can email her at email@example.com or visit theboutiquebus.com.