Ryan Chappell and Gio Anaya, owners of the Streetwear Truck
It didn’t take long for Ryan Chappell and Gio Anaya to get down to business after graduating high school. The two 18-year-olds—recent graduates of Capital Christian and Cordova high schools, respectively—skipped the old brick and mortar business model and decided to set a new local trend: the Streetwear Truck, a mobile shop run out of a truck painted with vibrant images of multicolored feathers. SN&R recently met up with the two teens to talk about using social media to build a brand and how they stay cool inside an aluminum truck.
So is this an old FedEx truck or UPS truck?
Chappell: It’s neither. It’s just a regular old step van.
How’d you guys get it?
Chappell: We were looking for a step van, and went through many trials and tribulations in finding one. We finally got in contact with this one guy through Craigslist, and his mom was actually going to use this step van for selling fruits and vegetables that she planted herself. But she found out it was too big … and he gave us a pretty good price.
Where’d the idea for the truck come from?
Chappell: We both have brands ourselves, so before the truck, we went in to a local store and they denied us. So we were like, ‘Let’s take it into our own hands and start our own store.’ I just graduated high school, and he graduated last year, so the funds for brick and mortar weren’t there, especially with a downtown space or in Elk Grove or wherever. We stumbled upon a trend in 2008 to 2011, and it was mobile shops.
How do you guys stay cool in the summer?
Anaya: (Laughs.) Doors open, leave the windows down, get some air flow.
Chappell: We’ve got a couple of fans running, but we’re working on getting a whole A/C system installed.
Anaya: It’s usually cooler past the afternoon into nighttime, and that’s usually when we get more customers. So it’s not usually as hot as normal.
How late are you usually open?
Anaya: Sometimes, like last time we set up on Second Saturday, we were there set up until almost 11 p.m. But almost everyone was going back and forth checking us out. The cool part was that a lot of the people who were checking us out were way older than us and they still bought from our brands. It’s not just attention for youth, it’s also getting everyone else’s attention.
The truck’s paint job is pretty attention grabbing.
Chappell: It’s a funny story, actually. So the first time we came out to midtown, we were inviting everybody, and having our friends tell everybody about the truck. So we saw this guy and invited him in, and he was like, “Oh, your truck is cool and all, but you need something for the outside.” We told him we were working on it and trying to get a wrap, and he said, “I have this friend that does lots of murals in the Sacramento area. His name is [Brandon Alexander].” … We got in contact with him and met up with him later. We came up with this idea of the outside of the truck, and he painted it.
What about the inside of the truck?
Anaya: It was kind of last-minute how it all worked out. I used to work at Kohl’s, and the store closed down so they were selling all of the furniture. So I got a good deal on all of the furniture that they had, and that helped out a lot. Then we literally put the whole inside together in like three or four days.
How do you guys decide where to set up shop?
Chappell: We like to go where the people go. Wherever there’s a mass amount of people, we like to visit there. Our main goal is to be able to ask people on social media, like, “Where should we go on Tuesday of next week?” and they tell us. Then the place that gets the most votes, we’ll go to. But right now, we’re just picking and choosing in Folsom, Sacramento and Elk Grove and setting up shop.
The truck has a pretty nice following on social media already.
Chappell: Yeah, we’ve been using the ads—the Instagram ads, Facebook ads and Yelp ads—and those have helped out a lot in getting our name out there.
Anaya: They’re also from our own brands, too. … We just shout out each other, including the truck, so it’s basically just mixing our own brand’s fans so they get to know the truck.
It sounds like people are pretty receptive to it so far.
Anaya: The thing that matters to us the most is, when people walk in, it’s a new experience because most of them have never seen anything like this. Sometimes they just glance, but we tell them they could walk in, because that’s what it’s all about: to come in and check it out yourself. So the positive feedback that we get has been more important so far than the actual sales that we make.