Newport Retailer Jamie Darling Takes to the Road In Airstream

by Brandon Riddle  on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 12:00 am  

Jamie Darling

Darling’s Fine Things owner Jamie Darling is taking to the road in a refurbished Airstream she purchased earlier this year, offering a mobile retail experience to customers in the Delta.

Darling bought the vintage vehicle, appropriately named the Delta Darling, in the Carolinas during a trip to the East Coast and refurbished it with a new interior and fresh paint. Darling said she was inspired by the fashion trucks she encountered and wanted to bring that retail model to Arkansas.

The Delta Darling is a 28-foot-long trailer from 1975 (the same year as the founding of Darling’s Fine Things of Newport) and features a carefully selected array of the retailer’s options. Sterling silver jewelry is the business’ staple item, but it offers a wide selection of accessories, beauty products and women’s clothing. “That is what kind of put us on the map,” Darling said.

Customers can follow Delta Darling on the road through Darling’s social media accounts on Twitter (@ShopDarlings), Facebook and Instagram (@DarlingsFineThings).

The entrepreneur’s brick-and-mortar store at 1303 McLain St. in Newport is adjacent to her father’s Darling’s Pharmacy.

Growing up, Darling had an idea of what her family envisioned as her future career. “When I went to Hendrix [College in Conway], I knew I was either going into the medical field or pharmacy school,” Darling said.

Despite her family’s nudging in that direction, Darling decided to go the business route instead.

Darling said she takes a different approach to retail, not only through her Airstream trailer, when she decides on the latest items to sell. “We try to focus on a lot of quality things that are made in the USA, in the South when we can,” Darling said.

In addition to the mobile shopping effort, Darling’s hopes to increase Web traffic through the debut of a redesigned website at ShopDarlings.com by the end of August. Darling said the redesign will allow customers to shop for Darling’s products online rather than finding deals only on social media.

A quick search on Google yields several results for fashion trucks across the U.S., though Darling brands the Delta Darling fashion truck a rarity in Arkansas. “We started doing nontraditional gifts, things that people had not seen,” Darling said.

Darling also writes a blog, Deep in My Delta Soul, which she said is a valuable way to connect with customers and enthusiasts of Delta culture.

“Our lifestyle and way of living are unique and we have a rich history that we need to celebrate, so I just kind of tell my experiences of my life in the Delta,” Darling said.

Darling travels to several big-city markets — such as New York, Dallas and Las Vegas — connecting with retailers on what works and what doesn’t in retail. “I’m always working,” Darling said. “My wheels are always turning. I try to stay on top of the trends and see what people are interested in.”

Store hours for Darling’s Fine Things are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

For more information about Darling’s Fine Things or its Delta Darling, visit DarlingsFineThings.com or call (870) 523-5887.

 

 

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