Libertyville entrepreneur puts fashion on wheels
When a friend gave Gina Crater-Lilja a sweater as a gift, she asked where the friend bought it. Off a truck, the woman said.
That's hardly the answer Crater-Lilja expected. But she loved the sweater and looked into a growing trend on the West Coast that offers fashion stores on wheels.
That's where Crater-Lilja got the idea to create Fashion in Motion in Lake County a couple of months ago. She partnered with Dominic Balbi of Buffalo Grove, obtained a former bread truck and converted it into a high-end women's fashion boutique.
"When you come home from work, a lot of women don't have time to shop," she said. "So to fill that need for women who love the opportunity to get stylish clothes from a boutique, and do it on a lunch break, we decided to do this."
Fashion in Motion can be used for private parties or be found parked at area businesses or events, including Bodyworks Fitness and Health Spa in Libertyville on Saturdays and the Libertyville Farmers Market on Thursdays, among other locations. Interested shoppers can see the schedule at fashioninmotiontruck.com.
"We only get six to eight pieces of one style. So when it's gone, it's gone," she said.
The truck has the look and feel of a boutique with hardwood floors, crown molding, a dresser with a lamp, a small dressing room and other touches. It's targeted for women 35 and older, she said.
Crater-Lilja, an Ohio native, came to the Chicago area about 20 years ago for a sales and marketing job. She moved to Libertyville about 15 years ago. A fitness buff, she enjoys working out and doing various fundraisers for animal shelters or other good causes, she said.
She also enjoys driving the Fashion in Motion truck.
"It's hard to drive, so I had to learn to use the mirrors," she laughed.
She also had to anchor everything inside the truck, so it would maintain a neat and orderly look, just in case she had to make a quick stop.
"I had to learn a lot," she said. "You also have to be creative, but it also has been a lot of fun."
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