In Pursuit, a mobile fashion boutique, is changing the industry in Saint John

Millennial Entrepreneurs – Dominique Leger

If you’ve seen the bright pink truck around town, you already know that Dominique Leger is someone who stands out in the community. With more than 13 years of experience in retail management and visual merchandising, Leger’s goal is to transform the fashion industry of Saint John.

When she moved to Saint John, Leger was working a nine-to-five office job.  The prospect of having weekends and evenings free was initially all the incentive needed, but still felt something was lacking. She soon realized that she was fiercely missing the fashion business, and so decided to take an internship with Start Up Fashion.

Dominique knew that she had to get back into the industry and make her mark, but had no clue how to go about doing this in Saint John. It was while at a market in Boston that she found her inspiration.  There were four city-blocks full of food cars, but one of the main attractions was a fashion boutique inside of a truck. It was swarming with girls waiting to get inside, and instantly Leger knew that she needed to bring a fashion truck to Saint John.

As the plans for In Pursuit were being formed, Dominique noted that a “buy in” from someone who really understood business and culture in Saint John could give her entrepreneurial vision a leg up.  Not being a long-time local, Leger didn’t know many people in the area. She was eventually pointed towards Shelley Rinehart, and quickly touched base to meet with Shelley over coffee at Starbucks. Armed with just her iPad, Leger showed her photos of the fashion trucks in LA.  In Pursuit soon had its first backer.

From here she began working on her business plan and took it to Mark Breen at Enterprise Saint John, who immediately saw potential in her idea.  According to Leger, “I knew that once I had convinced a guy I’d never met that a hot pink truck was a good idea for Saint John, I was probably onto something.”.

Leger went on to participate in Enterprise Saint John’s “Kickstart Your Business” program, which gives participants in the first year of launching their business an introduction to finances, marketing, and sales plans, while also boosting other skills needed for successful business ventures.

With In Pursuit, a mobile fashion boutique operated out of the famous bright pink truck, Leger has taken her idea and turned it into a thriving success. She was even nominated for the CBC “Passion for Change Award” in 2014 and the Board of Trade’s “Emerging Enterprise” award for 2015.

Her number one piece of advice for anyone looking to start their own business is get yourself a mentor.  Leger was partnered up with Judith Mackin of Tuck Studio, and according to her she “hit the jackpot!”.  She went on to state that In Pursuit would not be where it is today without her.

Leger also advises that anyone in business should look for daily inspiration, as there are some days that are extremely challenging.  Her go-to for inspiration is Aliza Licht, the PR woman for DKNY and author of the book Leave Your Mark. She also looks up to Nicole Giordano, whom she interned for at StartUp FASHION.  She also finds the deeds of local retailers encouraging, listing Shelley Demerchant (Urban Shoe Myth), Anne McShane (The Feel Good Store), and Keira Devine (formerly Je Suis Prest / Ready Man) as examples.  Leger also works with many vendors and craftspeople, such as Lisa & Natali (Shop NoPal), Stefani MacDonald (Halifax Paper Hearts), Kaylyn Monk (Gold Prism Creative), and Kyle and Kayley (Wear Your Label).

As she puts it when speaking about her fellow entrepreneurs: “These people are literally changing the world.”.

Dominique is now entering her third season this spring, and plans to have a second truck on the road in the near future.  Look for the mobile boutique to pop up in a neighbourhood near you!

 

(written by Chelsea Floyd)