Spring 2019
Mobile Boutiques: Uzuri Mobile Boutique By Debbie Eisele

Ebone Marlowe, owner, opened this mobile portion of her business less than a year ago, but she has been on the road expanding her business ever since.

Uzuri Mobile Boutique has been on the move and selling fashion and accessories since June 2018. Ebone Marlowe opened this mobile portion of her business less than a year ago, but she has been on the road expanding her business ever since.

Photo courtesy of Uzuri Mobile Boutique.

Marlowe sources merchandise through a variety of sources (almost 100) in order to “curate and put together an exclusive line for Uzuri.” The majority of vendors she works with are based in the U.S., but a few are in China.

Uzuri Mobile offers jewelry, accessories, and clothing. Marlowe said, “Right now, Uzuri’s best-selling clothing items are the “Shagging it Up” sweater jacket by Hayden Los Angeles and our Disco Nights Sequin pants by Valentine. Accessories are the perfect complement, and her top sellers include Solange gold chain harness by Nihao Jewelry and a variety of handbags, especially from Nihao Jewelry and Joia Accessory.

Uzuri’s popular Solange Chain. Photo courtesy of Uzuri Mobile Boutique.

Uzuri Mobile Boutique operates in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia and is expanding to include New York events this year. Locations are important for sales according to Marlowe. “I select my events and locations based on the type of event it is,” she explained. “I consider multiple factors before committing to an event: the number of people who attend, weather, and how the event is promoted.”

Photo courtesy of Uzuri Mobile Boutique.

Her advice to others in the profession: “Book as many events as you can. People love to see a store on wheels, which is half of the work.” Marlowe believes mobile environments should be treated as seriously as brick-and- mortar stores, and suggests owners operate on-the-go businesses similarly.

“You still need to know your customer base, which translates what areas and events you should be doing,” she said. “On days you don’t have an event, it is still good to ride around and get familiar with people for future references. Remember, you can come to the customer, so do just that!”

Uzuri Mobile Boutique is more than a store, it is an example of how leveraging online marketing today is beneficial. Marlowe is committed to her marketing efforts and to increasing her customer base. She utilizes Facebook ads and said, “It helps me grow my fan base on the Uzuri page so when I advertise my items, I am showing them to a broader audience.” Marlowe also utilizes Shopify, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to reach and engage customers. She will launch a YouTube channel this year as well.

Ebone Marlow, owner. Photo courtesy of Uzuri Mobile Boutique.

She captures shoppers’ attention by utilizing Wanelo, a digital platform which offers over 55,000 stores on their site and provides a method of searching for items and following favorite stores. Marlowe leverages this site and it’s platform to reach the college-aged shopper. “I like to create ‘stories’ on Wanelo. When you create a story, you are able to explain your piece to them in a sense. This is how my Solange chain became my biggest jewelry seller,” she said.

Mobile retail sales are successful, but Marlowe provides other services to gain even more recognition and followers. “I conduct many pop-up events throughout the year in various locations; I also do home parties as well,” she shared. “I like to give my customers the ultimate, exclusive experience. Pop-up events allow my customers to touch the pieces, try them on, etc.” She knows creating an experience helps them feel confident about spending money with Uzuri.

Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

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