Her name is Silvy D. She’s a big tin can on wheels, and she really gets around. While there is nothing usual about her, Silvy D is home to The Usual, Meg Herrington’s passion project. This mobile boutique is packed with fun and functional athleisure and basics that are housed in a newly renovated Airstream trailer (called Silvy D) that Meg takes to pop-up shops all around Charlotte. It took Meg and her husband a full year to put the finishing touches on Silvy D’s makeover, but once they did, Meg hit the road and has been out and about just about every single weekend selling her wares to a growing group of loyal customers ever since.
And interestingly, it’s all because of Matthew McConaughey. Seriously.
Meg says she’d been thinking about starting a boutique for a while and was noodling around the idea of an Airstream when she and her hubby were on vacation in Austin, Texas. “The first thing we saw when we got into town was Matthew McConaughey, and he had his Airstream set up selling t-shirts on the side of a random street. I said, ‘This is a sign. It’s settled.’”
The rest wasn’t quite as easy.
“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Meg says. “We looked at hiring contractors but didn’t have a lot of luck. So my husband Matt took to YouTube and the internet and talked to people and basically taught himself how to do the renovation. He even managed to teach me to do the rivets — those silver nails on the outside of the Airstream.”
Meg is a speech therapist, and her husband is a pilot. Neither really had any experience in retail or refurbishing, but she had her heart set on the idea. She found Silvy D exactly where you might expect to find an old Airstream trailer: airstreamclassifieds.com. Seriously.
The SouthPark-based couple had to drive to Bat Cave, North Carolina, to find her. “There’s a guy there in this small town who has a ton of them, and he had this one just sitting in his front yard.” It didn’t have any dents, but it still needed a lot of work. “We had to duct tape it together to get it home, and we had to tow it with our truck,” Meg recalls. “It was a super slow journey home. We had to keep stopping to readjust.”
But getting the silver beast home was just the beginning. They re-did the wiring, the lighting, the air conditioning and more to get her in shape where she could serve as a shopping space in which women would be comfortable. “We spent many super cold and super hot days and nights in warehouses working on the Airstream.”
It took about a year but since officially launching, The Usual has logged a lot of miles at fitness studios, breweries and other pop-up shop gatherings.
“I called it The Usual because I see it [the clothing] as the thing you always want to wear that’s comfortable — it’s your usual.”
And she thinks the athleisure trend is here to stay.
“The one thing that strikes me about the boutique fitness studios is I think they are going to continue to grow. We’re seeing less of the huge gyms, and more specific fitness studios. I think athleisure is growing with it,” Meg explains. “People aren’t going to run on the treadmill anymore, they’re going for specific things like yoga or barre. It’s become more specialized.”
And she says her customers are looking to dress the part.
Michelle Tallman lives in Uptown Charlotte and does barre classes. “I wear her stuff to class or just when I have a casual day where I want to throw on a fun shirt. I always get compliments on them because they’re trendy and comfortable.”
Meg says the shirts with fun sayings like “Gym and Tonic” and the leggings are what shoppers seem to love most. And they really love that everything is under $100.
Michelle adds, “I always feel like Meg is always on trend — she always seems to be out ahead of everyone else. She’s always so cool. She’s an athletic person, so she just seems to know what her target market would be interested in wearing not only for workout clothes but also for lounging around.”
“I’m still a speech therapist,” Meg shares, “but I always wanted to own a boutique, and this has been great because we can travel. You meet all kinds of new people all the time when you travel, and every single day I get people asking about the Airstream. It sparks a conversation, and I always love telling the story because we’re very proud of it. We put so much into it.”
All images courtesy of Meg Herrington
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