By Madeline Bartos | Staff Writer
Jackee Ging usually drives her boutique, Style Truck, but during the Peoples Gas Holiday Market, she takes up a stationary spot with other vendors in Market Square. There, she sells scarves, hand knit gloves and other unique clothes and accessories.
Style Truck is a mobile fashion store. The truck travels around Western Pennsylvania to bring fashion to people everywhere. During the holiday season, Style Truck finds a semi-permanent home among the other booths in the Holiday Market.
This year, the 6th Annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market takes place from Nov. 17 through Dec. 23. The event features local vendors selling goods in small wooden chalets, inspired by the original German Christmas Markets, or Christkindlmarkts.
Six years ago, when Ging heard about the Holiday Market’s inception, she debuted Style Truck, sans truck. Ging’s background is in marketing and business developing, and she knew having a booth in the Holiday Market would be great publicity for the soon to be mobile boutique.
“I thought it would be a great idea for branding and planting the seed, getting to know vendors and the market, and to get to tell people about the truck,” Ging said.
Style Truck has participated in the Holiday Market since then, taking advantage of the opportunity to do business without the risk of driving the truck through Pittsburgh’s unpredictable winter weather.
“[The truck] is hard to drive when it snows. And even when I have a space heater, people aren’t going to want to stop and go clothes shopping,” Ging said. “This time of the year they want gifts.”
For students scrambling to buy Christmas presents before the end of the semester, Ging recommends picking up a one-size-fits-all accessory from Style Truck.
“For men, women and children, there are a lot of mittens and gloves,” Ging said. “The fingerless gloves are handmade, fair trade, and you don’t have to know a size. They’re also a reasonable price point.”
As for women, Ging said ponchos and capes are a big item right now, which are also good for a stylish present that comes in one size.
Despite some items being one-size-fits-all, the selection of clothes and accessories is filled with personality. Inspired by her travels, Ging picks pieces for the “woman on the go.”
“Some of it can be dressy with heels and jewelry or dressed down with leggings and boots,” she said. “Very versatile, not too far fashion forward, not too trendy. But it’s for someone looking for something different or unique.”
Style Truck features items Ging picks from Pittsburgh trade shows where vendors who specifically sell to boutiques come four times a year. She also tries to make it to New York or Vegas a couple times a year to see what other brands she can find.
Ging is always on the lookout for new lines, but has a few she frequently buys from like Plume and Thread in Philadelphia, which sells clothes made in the U.S. Another brand she favors is Blue Canoe, which creates and sells clothing from organic cotton.
It’s this collection of stylish yet eco-friendly clothes that have won Style Truck Pittsburgh’s Boutique of the Year in 2015. The idea for Style Truck came to Ging after she read an article in a 2012 issue of InStyle about fashion shops that operated out of trucks, much like food trucks, but for clothes. By 2013, Style Truck had become Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania’s first mobile style boutique. The Peoples Gas Holiday Market allows Ging’s business to be out, even if the actual truck cannot.
“There are some people who have never heard of the truck, and it’s a good way to publicize,” Ging said.
If you’re still looking for the last minute present for a fashion forward friend or family member, Style Truck is the perfect start. The Holiday Market opens at 11 a.m. and is open Monday through Thursday until 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 9:30 p.m., and Sunday until 6 p.m. Pick up a gift for someone, and get something for yourself while you’re at it. ‘Tis the season.