Airstream trailer brings fashion to Georgetown
Elizabeth Lockhart, owner of Southern Hippie and Baby Hippie, defines “fashion forward” as knowing what the trends are and how to wear them. “I think it refers to being ahead,” she adds. “I like being ahead.”
But fashion was never supposed to be her career. With a background as a chemical dependency counselor and a child life specialist, Elizabeth admits her heart is torn. Southern Hippie was never meant to be more than a sideline business, a hobby to satisfy her passion for fashion, while she worked at a fulfilling career. “I loved working in social services. I love children.”
But Southern Hippie took off faster than Elizabeth could have ever have imagined. “When I originally started Southern Hippie, I had a partner. We both have a bohemian chic aesthetic.” Elizabeth describes “bohemian chic” as a casual but easy style. Friends and coworkers often commented that, whether dressed for work or for an event, Elizabeth always looked fashionable.
Together, Elizabeth and her business partner decided to buy some key clothing pieces and start throwing private parties. “We spent $500 and held our first event in Dallas,” Elizabeth says. “We invited our girlfriends. We served cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and sold clothes.” Soon they were setting appointments and hosting parties for people they didn’t know. “It just happened so fast!”
During this time, Elizabeth was working on her master’s degree in educational psychology, and she moved back to the Georgetown area for her graduate practicum. She had rented space in Georgetown (the former store location) to use as an office and a place to store inventory, but before she completed her master’s degree, Southern Hippie had turned into a “full-fledged, full-time job.”
It was at this time that Elizabeth bought out her partner’s share of Southern Hippie. “We’re still really good friends,” Elizabeth says, but she admits the buyout was a scary step. “It was like starting all over.”
Elizabeth’s first big move was to buy a 1965 Airstream trailer. After a lot of sweat, a lot of love, and a lot of help from her dad, Elizabeth had a traveling store. “There’s nothing inside but racks for clothes and a single dressing room,” she says.
The Southern Hippie Airstream, “the first fashion Airstream in the Austin area,” debuted last summer at an event at the W. With the opening of the new store, Elizabeth has cut back much of her travel to festivals and events, but many people don’t know that the Airstream also travels to clients’ homes for private styling parties. “We usually make a cocktail, the host provides hors d’oeuvres, and then we bring out the clothing.”
A Southern Hippie party is different from other fashion parties. “Women are used to going to these events where there’s just one jewelry line or one clothing line, like at a Tupperware party, but with Southern Hippie, we’re bringing the best things from our store directly to them.”
When it comes to purchasing store merchandise, Elizabeth doesn’t have a strict process. “I think it just takes an eye,” she says. “If you work in the fashion industry, I think you just know. You have to know what people want. You have to know what the trends are.” Elizabeth doesn’t spend as much time studying trends as people might believe. “We buy a season to a season and a half in advance. I’ve already bought a product before it’s been seen in a magazine or on a celebrity.”
Elizabeth buys what grabs her attention. “I love fashion forward clothing that is easy to throw together to create a trendsetting outfit.”
For Baby Hippie, Elizabeth carries a lot of bamboos and organics. “We have everything you can possibly need to buy for a baby shower gift,” she says. “Our baby selection is very broad. It’s soft, yet fashion-forward for infant to toddler.” Elizabeth has a young niece, and if she wouldn’t put her niece in the clothes, she won’t buy them for Baby Hippie. Baby registry will soon be available at Baby Hippie, and the patio at the Southern Hippie and Baby Hippie store is also available free of charge to host baby showers.
Elizabeth’s mother, Yvonne, is her partner in Baby Hippie. And Mom is every bit as beautiful and fashionable as her daughter. “I don’t want anyone to ever walk into my store and think that there’s not something in here for them,” Elizabeth says, “because I’ve heard people say, ‘It’s a really young store’ and that’s just not the case. I don’t want people to think that.”
Southern Hippie has something for everyone from the high school age girl to the more mature woman. “I know Southern Hippie is really different,” Elizabeth says. “There’s nothing like it in Georgetown, but I think that’s what’s exciting about it. Georgetown needs contemporary stores.”
Elizabeth wants customers to give the store a chance, and in return she vows to stay true to what Southern Hippie is, to what she began. “Southern Hippie is fashionable, it’s forward, it’s good quality, and I’m never going to deviate from that.”