Caravan offers fun, exotic women's apparel
Last updated 1/24/2008 at Noon
Leslie Sommers, owner of Caravan in downtown Fallbrook, can only be described as a vibrant business woman whose uplifting personality is nothing short of contagious.
“Our store has really good energy,” said Sommers. “We love to have a good time and we generate that feeling.”
The ambience associated with Caravan is fun, warm and inviting. Its earthy, warm hues make visitors feel welcome and relaxed.
Sommers is no stranger to the retail industry. In 1980, in Grand Rapids, MI, she opened up the doors of a punk rock clothing store.
“This funky store was called All Systems Go,” she reflected.
During that time, Sommers was also a disc jockey, playing music on the air and in nightclubs.
Fast forwarding to today, Sommers offers unusual, exotic clothing at her current retail shop, Caravan. The clothing selection is eclectic and she admits a very personal connection with her inventory.
“When I buy things,” she said, “I need to see it in person and feel it. I can’t buy out of catalogs.”
If it looks good and attracts her eye, Sommers will inevitably make the purchase.
One important philosophy in making her buying selections is to never to be boxed into any one style.
Sommers wants Caravan to be different in that she feels clothing should be fun. “Wearing things that make you feel good passes that feeling onto others,” she said. “I’m also into comfort and flow.”
The prices at Caravan are both reasonable and competitive. For Sommers, it’s not about the money when doing what you love is based on truth.
“I pick things that are interesting and beautiful,” she said.
Sommers finds gratification when customers tell her how many compliments they receive when they wear outfits from Caravan. “It makes me feel like I have done a good job.”
Being environmentally conscious, Sommers carries bamboo and organic clothing lines.
“I think it’s important to pay attention to what we are putting on our bodies, what it took to bring this clothing to us and how the planet was treated in the process,” she explained.
Sommers steers away from commercial manufacturers, where mass quantities are produced, such as those in China.
“These people who make things get little pay and it’s not a fair system,” said Sommers.
Caravan supports countries like Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia and Peru, where there is a fair trade system.
Buying items that are made in the USA is a high priority. “I carry a lot of things made in California,” she said.
Some of the companies she does business with are based in Escondido, Orange County and Los Angeles. “I want to support these manufacturers and the young designers creating these pieces.”
The relaxed atmosphere at Caravan includes non-pressure sales tactics. Sommers does not believe in over-selling to customers and has often talked people out of buying too much.
“I get very few returns,” she remarked.
Unique and popular items at Caravan include colorful shawls and wrinkle-free reversible raincoats made in California by Mycra-Pac. Her jewelry selection is unique; some pieces are even made by local artisans.
Nestled in an area of the store is a mini gold mine of gifts, including essential oils, body care items, incense and more.
Sommers loves her line of work and the type of positive energy it generates. “I want my customers to walk away with a good feeling about themselves and everyone seems to leave here in a better mood.”
Caravan is located at 109 North Main Avenue and can be reached by calling (760) 731-4890.