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Chats / Katie Long of The Swellife, A Fashion Boutique on Wheels

The Swellife

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.

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What inspired you to open The Swellife? 

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!

What is the store’s biggest success so far?

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.

What inspires you?

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.

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What do you look for when curating your boutique?

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.

You have great personal style. Where do you shop for your look?

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!

You went to FIT – will you be designing your own pieces anytime soon?

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.

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What are you currently reading?

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams

What are you currently listening to?

Beyonce’s Lemonade

What’s #1 on your travel destination list?

Right this minute, Hawaii

Describe your perfect day in New York.

A tantrum-free day at the beach with my family, topped off with a frozen sangria from Caracas

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Katie’s Guide to Rockaway:


Whit’s End Pizzeria


Connolly’s (I get the frozen pina colada)


Bungalow Bar back deck


Playland Grill


Playland Motel


End of the A


The Swellife — we have Blue Bottle iced coffee!


Boardwalk Concessions

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The truck will be open through the winter and will turn into a holiday-themed shop filled with gifts for men, women, and children.

Follow along on Instagram and Twitter to see where the truck is parked along the Shore Front Parkway. The Swellife will also be open in September and October at the LIC Flea.