Imagine having the cutest boutique in the universe 1 mile from your house.
Imagine what it would be like if one of your girlfriends owned this hot pink palace packed full of fun tops, comfy pants and locally made jewelry at affordable prices. It would be a dream. A dangerous dream.
When I first stumbled upon Kamie and It's a Luv Thing 6 years ago in Leucadia, I thought I had died and gone to shopping heaven. The cutest, sweetest woman owning and running a store packed full of everything I want to wear. Her store became my second closet.
When I was 5 months pregnant and needed a cute outfit to wear to Jason's birthday dinner, they styled me up in a Pucci-print maxi and red sandals. If I needed a top to wear on a girls night, a dress to wear to a baby shower, a present for my sister-in-law or just a new pair of the most perfect leggings ever, all I needed to do was hop down the street. As my dream turned into an addiction, I even traded social media/marketing services with her for clothes. At one point over half my closet was from Kamie's store.
Alas, one wakes up from dreams. I moved, she moved...but we never broke up completely.
The past few years have been rough on retail businesses of all sizes, but the smaller stores in my area have been hit hardest. High rents in coastal San Diego mixed with people pinching pennies have forced many businesses in my area to shut their doors. Also, the competition is stiff. National retailers such as H&M, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie have moved into the area - not only taking away dollars from locally owned stores, but also offering similar clothing at drasticly reduced sale prices. The small boutique, no matter how many loyal shoppers it has, has not been able to survive...without a little creativity, that is.
Kamie started her career as a Nordstrom buyer. From there she went on to build out the Juniors label at Rusty. She has an eye for trends and the best damn t-shirts you can find. She wasn't going to close up and walk away - she was going to take it with her. Enter the Luv Bus.
These days you can get a gourmet meal off the back of truck, so why not some great clothes? Kamie's Luv Bus is an bright red 1971 VW Bus with a custom hot pink fur interior - inside, it's stocked with adorable t-shirts, jeans, jewlery and dresses. She does local farmer's markets, street fairs, and pulls up in front of friends' spas and exercise studios. Having a fashion emergency? She's even been known to meet ladies to hand-deliver a new pair of skinnies or sparkly sweater. She carries favorite labels such as Gypsy '05, Wildfox and Chaser LA, and being that she's small and personal, she always has new clothes you can wear today - not when the season changes.
Growing up in LA, my mom always joked "You know its a good day when you spot Angelyne's pink corvette!" Honestly, these days that's how I feel when I spot Kamie's Luv Bus rounding a corner or stopped at a light. Walking out to pull the car around after Jason's knee surgery, Kamie just happened to be passing by; stopping momentarily to give me a hug and a chocolate kiss, she made my day.
So if you are driving through Encinitas and see her red bus - honk and wave. Celebrate the small businesses doing something unique. Celebrate those of us who are doing what they can to live their dreams. Or better yet - just stop and pick up a really cute top for dinner tonight.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. This post was just written out of luv. :)