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Omaha Magazine

Rose-Colored Glasses and Sweaters

Jan 22, 2018 11:01AM ● By Kim Reiner
If a mobile business worked for tacos and sliders, why can’t it work for clothing?

In less than a year, Jill Dudzinski has made a name for herself launching Hello Ruby Mobile Boutique in Omaha. On any given weekend, Dudzinski and her truck may be found parked at a festival or in a trendy part of town. Fans find the truck’s next location on the Hello Ruby website.

Dudzinski, a 2011 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate, had mulled around the idea of owning a business for some time. The idea to launch a mobile clothing business came to her the way one might decide to purchase a pair of trendy but expensive shoes. Instantaneously.

She was on vacation at Lake Okoboji when she spotted a fashion truck. “I knew literally the second I saw it that I was going to do that,” recalls Dudzinski. “I bought the truck three weeks from that day.”

Customizing the new truck was a challenge of trial and error. The engine and the brakes needed work. Unique to Hello Ruby, however, was securely installing clothing racks. Two shelving areas became one after discovering a need for more clothing racks. With the help of her husband, Austin, the truck became a playful shop on wheels geared toward fashionable young women. Neat and organized, there are racks of soft shirts, baskets of accessories, and the words “Go play, gorgeous” written in script on a wall. The truck includes a fitting room, and when the weather cooperates, she can wheel the fixture outdoors.

For Hello Ruby’s first winter, Dudzinski is temporarily storing the truck and opening a pop-up storefront in Aksarben Village. Dudzinski’s store will be open seven days a week from Oct. 13 through Dec. 30—much longer than she’s able to manage on her own—so she hired three seasonal employees. The truck will return to the scene in the spring.

With a knack for engaging her audience through social media, Dudzinski has made connections with local businesses who host the truck in their parking lots. Sometimes the customer bases of these businesses align with Hello Ruby, like a hair salon, and other times, it’s a way to introduce new people to her fashion truck.

Hello Ruby has parked at the downtown and Benson shops of Ted & Wally’s, once timing a pop-up at the Old Market location during the College World Series. Joe Pittack, owner of these ice cream shops, welcomed the chance to have a unique vendor share real estate for short stints.

“We both benefit...from the exposure of her customers following her on social media to her pop-up and our customers discovering new experiences at our locations,” says Pittack.

Since the demographic of her shoppers changes depending on where she parks in the city, Dudzinski maintains a versatile stock of clothes at home in order to change the stock in the truck as needed. Clothing for sale at a vintage market, for instance, will be different from the clothing for sale when the truck is parked in front of Ted & Wally’s.

Pittack commends Dudzinski’s ability to bring the goods her customers want to Omaha.

“She is very personable, perceptive, and has a passion for current fashion trends,” says Pittack.

Shalene Oropeza agrees. While shopping for a sweater during Farnam Fest in September, Oropeza, a Hello Ruby regular, says the boutique’s collection suits her.

“I have an eclectic style, so I like to mix trendy and classic,” says Oropeza. “This truck fits me perfectly.”

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This article appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.