Aneesa Shakur has been collecting vintage trunks for as long as she can remember, so when she decided to open a mobile boutique with a friend two and half years ago, the title was a given: The Trunk Stylists.
A then-recent graduate at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa, Shakur carried the inventory for her store in her trunk and went to other stores' events to reach her customers. It wasn't long before she found she had enough of a following to settle into a brick and mortar store.
Today, Shakur is the sole owner of the Trunk Stylists store on the 600 Block of St. Petersburg's Central Avenue, and even though her business model has changed, the boutique remains the same. Carrying trendy young women's accessories and apparel, the shop sets itself apart at its price point: everything has a price tag below $50. From statement bracelets that mimic red coral ($22) to tribal print envelope clutches ($19.99), high-waisted shorts that transition from summer to fall ($32) or a floral print kimono ($28), the store covers all the major trends with the benefit of limited availability.
"St. Pete is a small city so if we re-order something, it's always in a different color or print," said Shakur.
The vintage trunks are scattered all over the shop as props or holding items for sale and for special events, such as when customers come to the shop at scheduled off-hours with up to 50 friends. A favorite for busy mothers or girls' nights, those private shopping events give guests the store to themselves, with wine or mimosas, a stylist on duty to help with the purchases and even some special deals at the register.
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The Trunk Stylists
What: Women's trendy accessories and apparel
Where: 651 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 202-6861, thetrunkonline.com.
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.