Just months after the City of Knoxville launched a mobile food truck pilot program, another mobile vendor is looking to find her place in the world of businesses on wheels.
Vagabond Boutique started selling at different events and parties this spring. Owner Alisha Schuett, whose resume includes a stop in the high-fashion world of New York City, said the idea is already popular in other parts of the country.
"Once I moved back to Knoxville, my friend from San Francisco called me and said, 'there's this great thing happening on the West Coast -- come do it in Knoxville!' I love this city and I wanted to bring something really cool to it," she said.
The Nashville-native studied at the University of Tennessee before entering the world of fashion. When it came time to find a truck, she shopped local.
"I found the truck on Craigslist from a farmer in Rutledge; it was an old Frito-Lay delivery truck and it was painted blue and white on the sides," she said. "I got it painted here locally, I got it wrapped with decals here locally."
Now sporting a turquoise green color with the Vagabond logo on the side, Schuett's truck has already made appearances at farmer's markets, festivals and private parties.
Earlier this year, the City of Knoxville approved a food truck pilot program that established locations, hours, and permits for vendors. Looking to the future, city officials said they can't guarantee what will happen next, let alone guess the future of other mobile vendors like Vagabond.
Schuett launched her business at Rhythm and Blooms this spring, and is hopeful a successful pilot program for food trucks will open the door for other mobile vendors like her.
"It just depends on demand. I know there are a couple of other businesses here in Knoxville and are non-food mobile businesses," she said. "I think it's going to take us rallying together, kind of like the food trucks did, and saying -- 'hey, this is what people want. So, hopefully let's work together and get going.'"
For now, Vagabond can operate on private property with the property owner's permission or at a special event with permission from the organizers.
"It's a lot of hard work, but it's so fun to be able to work for yourself to do something that you believe in," Schuett said.