Bree’s Little Closet is a women’s boutique aiming to help make shopping a bit easier by bringing the store to the shopper. Running their boutique from a truck, the owners use the tagline, “We stop, you shop.”
Bree’s has been open for over a year, opening Sept. 15, 2018. The boutique is co-owned by the daughter-mother duo Brianna and Tina Barnett who sell fashionable and comfortable clothing.
Tina Barnett said many customers have expressed they don’t have time to shop, so having the boutique available to walk through on their lunch break is helpful.
“These ladies are saying they don’t make time for themselves, but it’s right in front of them, so it’s easier for them to buy an outfit or two, and go back to work,” Tina Barnett said.
Bree’s Little Closet goes to a variety of events, but finds most of their business at schools or hospitals.
“It’s still not real to me,” Brianna Barnett said.
Brianna Barnett went to Missouri State University planning to go into fashion merchandising and management while working at a boutique, when she started looking into owning a brick and mortar store. When she realized she couldn’t afford it, her mother brought up an idea she had found online of running a boutique out of a truck.
After doing further research and interviewing a similar travelling store owner, Barnett decided to purchase her truck and go forward with her plans.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Let’s build this truck,’” Tina Barnett said. “As you’re going into it, no one says you might come across a problem.”
It took nine months to repair Paula, the name of the truck named after Brianna Barnett’s grandmother.
The two had to gut the interior, make it safe for customers, complete other repairs to convert the truck into a boutique.
Barnett initially dropped out of MSU to focus on running the business, but later went to OTC and got an associate’s degree in business before returning to focusing on the business full-time.
Barnett had a team of family and friends who helped turn her idea into a reality, from her father who works at a truck repair shop, a friend named Jasmine Bass who helped with modeling, setting up the official website and acting as a sounding board for ideas, and Brianna’s mother Tina who came aboard as a co-owner of the business.
Brianna Barnett approached her mother in early 2018 asking if she wanted to work with her. Tina Barnett learned there were no part-time positions for her job, and she would have to choose between her daughter’s business or her current career.
After a year-long leave to work with Brianna, she stuck with Bree’s Little Closet.
“It has been a big change, because Tina left her job to be a full-time partner, but they have found a balance in life,” Jasmine Bass said. “You go all in on a purpose like that, it kind of consumes your entire life.”
Neither had experience owning or operating a business. Even splitting the work between two people, Tina Barnett said she learned quickly it wasn’t a nine-to-five type job.
After a year of running the business, Barnett said she feels comfortable with where they’re at and how Bree’s is progressing. Getting the business up and running involved preparing the truck, getting all the proper business licenses, making connections and scheduling events.
Now, over a year later, Tina Barnett said the two have found a balance. Brianna handles the book-keeping and accounting aspects of the business, while Tina handles scheduling events and social media. They’ve also found reliable friends to help them out when needed.
“This has pushed them to be even further out in the community and be role models for future business owners, and it’s kind of a cool thing to watch,” Bass said.