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Fashion on Wheels: rolling along for 40 years

Mother of five says she’s moving on

Juliana Norwood | 8/22/2013, midnight
West Coast Expo: Business, Technology, Green & Health will be held at Los Angeles Convention Center, September 27 & 28, 2013.

Any business owner worth his or her salt knows that—especially in bad economic times—one may have to make hard decisions for the success of their business.

Catherine Taylor, owner of Fashion on Wheels, is no different.

“When I started this business 40 years ago, I was a mother of five, working at Mattel toy company, and I was bringing home a $50 check,” said Taylor.

It wasn’t until a friend let her know about a business opportunity selling clothes and helped her to get a seller’s permit that her luck began to turn around, but not before she had to make the decision to pawn her wedding ring.

“I had to do it for the start-up money. I got $300 for it. My friend took me and helped to pick out product and I began to sell,” she said.

That was in April. In February of the following year Taylor had amassed $17,000 in her bank account. She credits her success with adding new product to her business whenever possible.

“You have to keep expanding because, especially in the clothing business, there is a lot of competition,” she said. “Lots of people sell clothes and they are everywhere. I went from just selling women’s clothes, to including jewelry, purses, some menswear and even hair. Keep expanding and have loyal customers.”

Taylor explained that although most of her sales come from vending at festivals, church concerts and other events, many of her customers are regulars who have been buying merchandise from her for years.

“When you show a level of respect for your customers, as far as pricing and convenience—some clients I even bring product to them or know to pull certain things that certain customers may like—that is how you build loyalty among your customers,” she explained.

But, although Taylor has seen success, she is getting out of the business.

Participating as one of the vendors at Our Weekly’s West Coast Expo on Saturday, Sept. 27-28, Taylor said she will be dropping prices on all of her merchandise and once she is out of it all, she doesn’t plan to restock.

“The time when you could do just one thing and be successful is over, which I was I started to sell other products like hair. You can’t do one thing and be a success anymore, you have to do multiple things; and sometimes you have to know when it is time to fold up and move on. My kids are grown and gone now, they made it through school, I have grandchildren now,” she said.

As she closes the door on Fashion on Wheels, Taylor still plans to focus her energy on new business ventures.