She’s the superhero of fashion. By day she’s Samantha Lugo ‘07, marketing specialist for PNC Bank’s corporate office in downtown Pittsburgh. But by night (and weekend) she’s Broke Little Rich Girl – fashion maven and owner of a boutique on wheels.
Taking a cue from the food truck craze that’s taken hold in big cities across the country and rolled into Pittsburgh over the past few years, Broke Little Rich Girl is a renovated 21-foot bread truck outfitted with hardwood floors and a dressing room and packed with women’s fashions and accessories.
“At first I wanted to do a brick and mortar store,” says Lugo, a cum laude graduate of RMU’s corporate communication program. “But then I came across a boutique truck during a trip to New York City, and I fell in love with it. I said, ‘This is amazing – I want to bring this to Pittsburgh!’”
While her studies mainly focused on marketing and advertising at Robert Morris, Lugo never let go of her lifelong infatuation with style. “I think it’s an inherited trait,” she says. “I come from a family predominately made up of women who all have their own unique style and fashion sense.” When she was a girl, Lugo’s grandmother would babysit her and her sister and would give them access to her clothes, shoes, and makeup. “We were always putting on plays and fashion shows and whatnot,” she says. “Plus, I have some really fashionable aunts who don’t follow the trends and tend to do their own thing. They taught me to be myself and find my own style.”
During her junior and senior years, she interned with GlaxoSmithKline and Kolbrener Inc. “Each taught me a lot about how to build a brand and leverage marketing communications, which has really helped me in my business,” she says.
The Broke Little Rich Girl operation is something of a family affair. Lugo’s sister designed the truck’s black, white, and pink exterior, as well as some of the jewelry she sells. Her husband, Manuel, an auditor with FedEx, helps her with events and the finance side of things. The clothing is a mix of originals she buys from local designers along with some labels, too. “The whole thing’s been an ongoing learning experience,” says Lugo, who says she’s so busy she has to replenish her inventory just about every week. “I don’t have a background in merchandising, so I just try to gauge it on sales. I can pack it in pretty good in there.”
Most weekends you can usually find the Broke Little Rich Girl truck parked in the Strip District on 23rd and Penn Avenue. Lugo also does private parties and partners with local business at area events. “I do ladies nights, bridal showers, birthday parties, fashion parties, and any event where a group of women want to get together and shop.”
Lugo says she definitely wants to continue to grow and expand the Broke Little Rich Girl brand. “I’d love to have a fleet of my fashion trucks in every state. That’s my long term-goal.”