Small Room Collective
Small Room Collective is a mobile shop & gallery by day and home to Travis, Lauren and their dog, George Floyd McGee Hardy by night. Many may dream of such a unique lifestyle but Travis and Lauren are actually living it, and their joy and enthusiasm for their joint adventure is unmistakable. What started as a vintage market stall as a side project to Lauren’s work, as a pediatric oncology nurse, became a road emporium, a traveling independent shop. Lauren, a passionate vintage collector, and Travis, a graphic artist, purchased and customized a 1963 airstream, fondly referred to as Bob Mapplethorpe, a nod to the getaway driver in Wes Anderson’s movie, Bottle Rocket. Since 2013 they have crisscrossed the US chasing temperate climates with a preference for coastal locations to benefit from the sea breeze, as ‘Bob’ is not equipped with air conditioning. They spend nine months of the year on the road, along the way meeting artists and makers that they represent alongside Lauren’s vintage finds. The branding and graphics, designed by Travis, feature on posters and small goods also available for purchase. The 15 brands they originally stocked have expanded to over 90, which mean there is a constantly revolving inventory. They share driving duty, the Sprinter van doubling as a stock room and garage for Travis’ Ducati motorbike. Life on the road means Lauren is able to shop for vintage everywhere they travel, whilst Travis works on design projects, mainly for non-profit organizations. This year’s itinerary took them from San Francisco to San Diego, and then to Texas, pausing in Austin for SXSW. They made pit stops in Marfa, Galveston, Alabama and Nashville, before heading north to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. The remainder of May, June and July were spent travelling the East Coast from Florida to Maine; popping up in towns such as Lewes, Delaware; Lancaster, Pennsylvania and at The Phoenicia Flea in Bearsville and West Kill, New York, as well as numerous artists studios along the way. They are headed westward back to Orange County for the winter (via Chicago). Next year they are pondering venturing further afield, maybe to Canada or Mexico. Visit their website to follow their itineraries, and honk your horn if you pass them on the road.