When rent increased on their shop’s Bentonville, Arkansas location, Jo Buttram, AAF, and Shelby Shy, AAF, the mother-daughter duo behind Shirley’s Flower Studio decided to consolidate.
“We did most of our work out of our flagship store in Rogers, so we couldn’t really justify keeping the second site open,” Buttram said. “But we hated to just lose those customers.”
Buttram and Shy brainstormed cost-effective ways to maintain a presence in Bentonville. First, they discussed the idea of hosting a “pop up shop” from time-to-time in other retailers’ spaces, but decided it could be a nuisance slugging around buckets and other supplies. Plus they questioned if people would purchase flowers while shopping for clothing, jewelry or furniture. Instead, they wanted something they could call their own.
They ultimately decided to open a flower truck. “We can easily take it to a bunch of different events and promote our brand all over town,” she said.
Buttram and Shy searched vehicle types online to find one that matched the Shirley’s aesthetic. An 11- by 8-foot 1976 Serro Scotty camper fit the bill. “It’s a true antique and so cute! It’s exactly what I had in mind,” Buttram said. “Lucky for us, a man was selling one in the neighboring town.”
It took a little over a month to completely refurbish the camper and decorate it with the shop’s logo. “Unfortunately we missed the graduation period, but we intend to do a lot of business at those next year,” she said.
In the meantime, the camper, which made its debut Friday, June 2, is hitting up dance recitals, farmers’ markets and the town’s “First Friday” celebrations. Shirley’s new mobile shop specializes in loose bouquets and small gifts made in Arkansas.
“It’s very new, but already I can tell it’s a homerun,” Buttram said. “Millennials and high school girls are going nuts for it.”
In fact, her youngest employees are requesting to work out of the camper on Friday nights and early Saturday mornings. “These are traditionally very tough times to staff, but they’re actually volunteering to work because they’re proud to be associated with this concept.”
Buttram and Shy want to give the camper a name and are crowdsourcing on Facebook and Instagram. At press time, leading contenders included Poppy, Big Rosie and The Petal Pusher.