Style made accessible: That's how they roll
The idea is on par with food trucks for greatness, and possibly even more appealing to some.
Rosie Vann-Dalton and Sande Brandt are rolling up to homes and events across the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake and Westlake vicinity in a customized Airstream. It's equipped with fashions for the office, a special event, a trip or for just looking good. The two, formerly in retail together at White House/Black Market, also have the know-how to recommend which pieces are flattering on most any shape.
Couture in a Can has become so successful after just a year that the pair is considering adding a second Can, stationed at a food truck park in Austin.
The idea began one day at work when Brandt wished out loud for a boutique of her own. Vann-Dalton, who had the same idea in mind, asked her later that evening whether she was serious.
The answer was yes. They started looking for a storefront in the Southlake area, and "saw that the little mom and pop shops were muscled out by all the big corporate retailers," Vann-Dalton said.
After some unsuccessful searching, they were sitting one day at Brandt's kitchen table discussing how to move forward with their plan when two separate thoughts converged.
They were talking about how clients always wished they could come to their homes, and then they remembered Brandt's husband had a mostly unused Airstream sitting in the backyard.
"We wondered if he could just give up the trailer," Vann-Dalton said.
Andy Brandt did that and plenty more. He spent the next few months gutting the 850-square-foot Airstream and customizing it for them.
"It hurt his heart every time he pulled something out," Brandt said.
But everything had to go, even the bathroom.
"In hindsight, it was so exciting, so fun," said Vann-Dalton. "We'd stay up late at night in the trailer just mapping it out. It was a lot of late-night discussion."
They had a business plan worked out — or thought they did. The intent was to visit separate customers at their houses.
"Just pull up to individuals' homes, because a lot of executives don't have time to shop," said Vann-Dalton. "But that's not to say they don't like to look great."
They didn't consider their clientele's propensity for spreading the word.
Before long, best friends and sisters were invited to Can visits, and then girlfriend parties started. They created a Cantini signature cocktail to go along with the relaxed feel, part of which was keeping the party in the Can.
"We encourage everybody to stay inside," Vann-Dalton said. "The last thing we want is for it to be fussy for our hostess."
Their big breakthrough, though, was a luxury shopping event called the Weekender at the W Dallas Victory Hotel. They were slammed the entire time.
More events have followed. The company, based in Keller, is booked regularly across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and continues the private appointments.
The lines in the Can include Hudson premium denim, retro dresses from Stop Staring!, a cotton line called Thread 23 and casual bohemian looks from Sky.
The Stop Staring! dresses, Rosie said, are popular because they look equally good on a size 0 and a size 14.
They guide clients into the right sizes and styles.
"Just trust us," Vann-Dalton said. "We want everyone to feel safe in there, even if they leave without one thing."
The prices range from $38 to $200. Low overhead keeps costs down and they pass that on to customers.
Couture in a Can charges a $250 deposit (except for regulars) to make sure they don't throw away precious time on a no-show.
The deposit goes toward purchases.
Clients who refer new customers to the Can get $100 "Can Cash," but they hasten to say this is not a sales scheme in which customers are urged to throw parties.
The Can will come in a hurry if you need to quickly prepare for a special trip.
To make an appointment, call 817-789-5625 or visit www.coutureinacan.com.