The Swellife, a new fashion boutique on wheels, opened in May in Rockaway beach. Founded by Katie Long, a former editorial fashion stylist for W Magazine, Net-a-Porter and more, this revamped cookie truck serves up unique, bohemian finds, including Solid & Striped swimwear, Tatine candles, Hammamas Turkish towels, Giles & Brother jewelry, John Derian plates and other handmade pieces. We sat down with Katie to chat about the truck and her favorite Rockaway spots.
I had always wanted to open a store, but the overhead costs of a store front were overwhelming. A friend suggested doing it in a truck, similar to a food truck and planning went from there. The truck (as opposed to a storefront) gives me the ability to bring my finds to everyone!
The overwhelming positive feedback from customers both young and old, male and female. A majority of the people who walk in have nothing but nice things to say about it and comment on how well it is curated.
In all of the research I did for the store before opening, I came across a few gorgeous stores out in California whose aesthetics really inspired me and resonated with my vision. The Swellife morphed into what it is today, but my initial plans were very much inspired by a few key stores out west. As for people, I was inspired by confident women who wear their “look” with 100% conviction, and that includes women from my mother to Madonna! I wanted to put together a store where everyone could find something. In the Fall, we will be offering childrens and mens products as well.
I am the only buyer, so all of the items in my truck come from brands I believe in and personally use. Most of the contemporary brands are made in the USA, and the global brands are all directly from the maker or have a charitable aspect. When looking for items for the store, I really try to find things that I’ve never seen in a store before or items that are not easily accessible, like Peruvian market baskets or Greek pom pom sandals.
I think the key to good style is knowing your body type and wearing things that you are confident and feel good in. I try to invest in just a few items a season that will last me all year and may even carry over to next year. I just read an article about how cheap clothes are bad for the environment, so that’s my excuse to my husband when we get the credit card bill!
I currently make some of the jewelry we sell, but I would like to eventually make a few clothing pieces that can become Swellife staples.
Right this minute, Hawaii
A tantrum-free day at the beach with my family, topped off with a frozen sangria from Caracas
Connolly’s (I get the frozen pina colada)
Bungalow Bar back deck
The Swellife — we have Blue Bottle iced coffee!
The truck will be open through the winter and will turn into a holiday-themed shop filled with gifts for men, women, and children.