Food isn’t the only thing customers can buy out of trucks anymore.
Abby Kessler and Katie Lubieski are the owners of Old City’s Smak Parlour boutique and have now added two more locations. One location is a temporary pop-up boutique in Rittenhouse Square and the other is a store in the form of a truck in University City.
Best friends Lubieski and Kessler, both from the Philadelphia area, met when they were 15 year olds in high school and clicked instantly. The two graduated from North Penn High School and went to Drexel University to study design and merchandising. There, they took all of the same classes and worked diligently alongside one another. Afterward, the two created a line called, “Smak by Abby and Katie” that consisted of deconstructed and embellished T-shirts.
Though they had the opportunity to wholesale their line across the country, they stuck to their roots and an outlet in Philadelphia allowing for more creative freedom.
That’s when they decided to open up shop in Philadelphia.
Lubieski and Kessler opened Smak Parlour at 219 Market St. in Old City more than eight years ago. The shop consists of clothes of Lubieski and Kessler’s own design, as well as others that fit their self-described fun taste.
When asked to describe Smak Parlour in three words, the girls said it was “girly, fun and affordable.”
Smak Parlour expanded online in 2011 with the intention of catering towards vacationers. Old City tends to be an area that gets a lot of tourists, so they would have customers from different places stop by.
“Tourists and customers from outside of Philadelphia need their Smak fix, too,” Lubieski and Kessler said in an email.
Their expansion continued when the opportunity to open a pop-up shop in Rittenhouse came up. Located at 126 S. 19th St, the pop-up shop will be around until the end of September.
Lubieski and Kessler said the new shop has started an outreach of customers and that they’re spreading word of the shop to those who don’t visit Old City often.
The last expansion, so far, has been the fashion truck this summer. The duo just opened their shop on wheels on 40th street between Spruce and Locust streets, where they are open most days from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The two said they are excited about expanding their customer outreach even more now that they have shops in three different parts of the city.
The idea of a fashion truck is exciting, Kessler and Lubieski said, because they can bring their merchandise directly to customers. They said they see it as the ultimate customer service.
Due to the fact that the pop-up shop and fashion truck are fairly small, Lubieski and Kessler chose what to sell in each spot and strategically thought about their customer bases.
“Old City has an eclectic customer base; we are in a tourist neighborhood so we get people from all over the world,” Lubieski and Kessler said. “The Rittenhouse customer is generally looking for more professional looks being that there are so many offices in close proximity to the pop-up. The fashion truck’s customer ranges, but we primarily focus on relaxed styles for class and dresses for sorority events.”
The duo also takes advantage of the fact that one of their stores now has wheels. They vend at different events around the city, which makes them continue to make and meet new customers.
“Our customers are diverse. It’s a lifestyle, not an age. If you love fashion, you’ll love Smak Parlour,” the two said.
Chelsea Finn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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