Novus Racks brings fashion truck Tendency to Tallahassee

Chelse Collins and   Manzura Ishanova snagged a deal on a 16-passenger bus and also transformed the interior into a chic shopping experience   — Novus Racks.  

Chairs are replaced with sturdy metal rods, a dream closet of clothes hanging bleach timber hangers and tradition storage bins on the floor. On Thursday a mannequin sports a sleeveless black jumpsuit with an exposed midriff. Another mannequin, in the back, wears a cobalt blue cocktail dress using a  one sleeve.  

A little matching room sits in the rear. Charcoal hardwood flooring and heather gray Lay accent rugs will be the new flooring.   After several months of renovations and $10,000 after, Novus Racks will host a grand opening Saturday in Fuma’s Cigar on North Monroe Street, near Liberty Bar.  

“We’re a lifestyle brand new. We want customers to think of us when they’re going into the gym, whenever they want casual attire and when they want to head out to get a girl’s night or go into some party or will function,” Collins said. “We needed to ensure we provided versatility in our shop.”

Their characters mirror one another’s, however they fall on opposite ends on the fashion spectrum. Collins dials up the alluring while Ishanova leans into the conservative. The clothes sold at Novus Racks represent that spectrum in sizes which range from extra small to 3X.  

The boutique, whose title means “new beginnings” in Latin,  will make stops in local universities, festivals and any location where crowds gather in the region and, finally, statewide. They are available for private shopping occasions for companies and customers.

As they explained the boutique’s concept, reality sunk in. The duo has made a new retail area in Tallahassee.  

They met at Panama City as nail techs. In between clients, they thought about calling the  shots. Fashion sparked their entrepreneurial flame.  

Collins, a 2014 broadcast journalism graduate of Florida A&M University, has been a former producer for a Panama City outlet. She loved to write but she loved the idea of becoming her own boss even more.

They investigated mobile boutiques and discovered a fertile opportunity.

“Consumers too busy to shop have hunted more convenient choices —  like online.   However, impulse buying still powerful so getting to the customer more important than ever,” said Lansing Lewis, entrepreneur-in-residence who teaches in Florida State’s Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship. “These fashion trucks have the capability to drive to where the customer is — at the office, at college, neighborhood events”

Inspired by food trucks, the first style truck surfaced in Los Angeles in 2010, ” Lewis said. Now more than 300 fashion trucks are registered across the country, according to Findafashiontruck.com.  

“I forecast mobile boutiques will probably continue to grow and expect established retailers to contemplate adding them well to satisfy the needs of the customer,” Lewis said.  

Collins and Ishanova, that financed the boutique from pocket, had to convince their households that they were chasing a viable retail alternative.   Ishanova, a married mom of a 2-year-old son, stated her parents owned a shop and her mum wasn’t sold on the Novus Racks concept.  

But once it was almost complete, her mum watched the vision.  

“That gives me power to pursue and also make it a huge thing,” she said.

Contact TaMaryn Waters in tlwaters@tallahassee.com or trace @TaMarynWaters on Twitter.  

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