Meet Bea: Big Sky Design’s Mobile Boutique
By now everyone is familiar with the concept of a food truck. They’re a convenient and casual way to try a variety of different foods, and a godsend for establishments that lack a kitchen. As food trucks have moved out of trend territory and staked their claim on food lover’s hearts everywhere, it’s not surprising that other types of businesses have looked to employ a similar model. From pet groomers to fashionistas, the mobile unit is a new way to do business and it’s time to welcome NC’s first mobile design boutique, Bea, to the streets.
Bea, the brainchild of Big Sky Design’s owner Jennifer Kraner, is a 1969 Shasta Loflyte camper that has been completely renovated by the talented team of designers at Big Sky. I sat down with Riliegh Wilkins, Client Relations and Special Projects Manager, to talk about how Bea went from an idea to a full fledged reality.
Tell me… where did the idea for a mobile boutique come from?
It stemmed from the idea of the food truck and she [Jennifer] liked the idea of design being “food for your soul.” She just thought how fun would it be to jump on this bandwagon … and start our own venture with the mobile design truck? At first, when she brought up the idea, everyone was like, ‘yeah that’s crazy,’ but then here she comes pulling up with the camper and everyone is like, oh my gosh, she did it! She really did it! Jennifer is always super innovative and trying to think ahead.
Where did she find the camper?
She found her outside of Asheville on Craigslist. It was a score, too! She brought it back to the office one day, and we were all surprised.
What was the renovation process like, and what did it take to get Bea to a presentable state?
It was totally a group effort. All seven of us came together and designed it and remodeled it. We picked out everything from the draperies, to the bench cushions to the space planning to paint colors. We put wallpaper around the bench area, picked out flooring and lighting. Everyone had a hand in it, and we totally gutted it. There was a shower and bathroom in there and we took that out. The only thing original are the windows and the stove, which is pretty cute.
How long did the makeover take?
We started planning in May and our release party was at Satellite at the end of July. It was very quick.
Who did you work with to make this a reality?
King Post Builders did the complete gutting and re-building and we also worked with Matt Hosmer of Hosmer woodworks, who is great. We worked with a lot of our local vendors. Caeserstone did the quartz countertop and the wood paneling is from Cape Fear River Wood, who is really awesome. We were super lucky to get everyone on board with it.
What kind of look were you going for?
We wanted to go retro, but keep it a little campy. We also wanted it to be elevated design too and showcase Big Sky’s professional design abilities. It’s retro, but sophisticated.
What made you want to keep the design more residential versus a showroom?
We really wanted it to represent a residential space and be an example of what we can do in a residential space with our resources. So, for example, we designed a custom bench cover with all these different pillows to show all the different types of customization we can do, like trim. And also, Jennifer loves camping so she wanted to make it work for an actual camping trip.
What services do you offer with Bea?
We offer Doorstep Design Consultation Packages that start at $300 and go all the way to the Sky’s the Limit package. We did one of those recently where we showed up with mimosas and lunch. We also offer pop up parties, so if you’re having friends over for a birthday party or a housewarming party or something, you name it, you can bring the boutique, and we’ll do a little pop up shop, or we can do a workshop where we teach your friends how to stylishly arrange a bookshelf or how to style a gallery wall.
What do you think this says about the tiny living trend?
This is a great example of that. It’s such an interesting and beautiful movement; taking up less space and being resourceful and sustainable. It’s awesome and this camper proves you can do it in a stylish way.
How do you see the mobile boutique functioning as an extension of the firm in the next 1 to 2 years?
I think it helps us reach a different clientele. With Big Sky, we have a great clientele, and we strive to fit every budget and that’s something that we firmly believe in. The mobile boutique helps us do that especially for those interested in smaller projects. It helps us have that edge and makes us unique and innovative. We’re always thinking and always being creative. Our designers have a great sense of style, but it’s always molded to fit the client’s needs and wants. The whole process is very personal.
If you’re interested in booking Bea, head over to www.bigskymobileboutique.com to see the different tiers of design assistance Big Sky can offer. You can also catch Bea buzzing around town on Fridays and at various community events. Be sure to check the calendar for the most up to date listings.