Julia Hutton turns failing brick-and-mortar into a mobile success

Publish Date: 
Aug 16, 2012
By Cynthia Furey

LAST WINTER, WHEN sales at Biker Babes and Beyond had all but ceased due to snowy weather, Julia Hutton had to make one of the hardest decisions a business owner ever has to make. “There was nobody in there,” she says. “Every time there was a ride or a rally, we would draw lots of bikers — and I mean lots of them. But that season, there was no one.”

So Hutton closed the doors of her Cottonwood, Ariz., apparel and accessories store. And then she hit the road.

It turns out this wasn’t the end for Biker Babes and Beyond. “I did a bit of research before I closed the store and figured out exactly what I wanted to do next,” Hutton says. He research led her to invest in a 7x15-ft. trailer, taking to the rally and festival circuit to Biker Babes and Beyond to the masses.

Four more trailers later, Hutton has a mini-empire of mobile stores that travel as far away from her stomping ground as Daytona and Sturgis, drawing in exponentially more customers than her Cottonwood store ever did, and much more of a profit, as well.

“On one whole weekend in Cottonwood, I’d make at most $500. Usually, I’d make about $200 to $300,” Hutton says. “But if I go out with a ReTrailer, over a weekend period I’ll come home with $2,000 to $5,000.” Hutton’s distributors and manufacturers also were easy to work with, welcoming the change. “There really was no difference in ordering; no one complained," she says. "It was a non-issue."

The success of the mobile version of Biker Babes set the wheels in motion for yet another business venture. (story continues)