On seeing a dilapidated wreck of a trailer in a junkyard, most people would just keep on walking. But when one woman saw this one, she was inspired. She saw it for the wonder it could be, not for the trash it had become, and set about turning it into her vision of beauty. You’ll be amazed how it turned out.
Many old trailers end up in junkyards when owners can’t find buyers for their aging transports – so they are left there to rust. But their usefulness is actually far from over, as Houston, Texas businesswoman Katy McLaughlin proved.
With the inside of the trailer in just as bad condition as the outside, McLaughlin would have been forgiven for turning around and heading as quickly as she could in the opposite direction. But she had her heart set on a business plan that her rundown acquisition would help with.
“I found the perfect trailer, the perfect builder, and my imagination went wild with everything I wanted,” said McLaughlin in an interview with online graphic design marketplace 99designs. The wreck was a real fixer-upper, though, and little of the trailer could be salvaged.
The transformation the old Airstream trailer was about to go through was incredible, especially when you see what it first looked like when McLaughlin got her hands on it. If her business idea was to keep people away, she wouldn’t have to change a thing, but a lot would need doing to attract any clientele.
Notwithstanding the trailer’s shabby state, every butterfly has to start out as a caterpillar, and it was time for a metamorphosis. The inside of the caravan was going to be completely renovated, with the floor, wiring and insulation all replaced and updated.
The potential for the old caravan literally began to shine with its new exterior improvements. And having left her nine-to-five marketing manager job to give this project her full attention, McLaughlin was undergoing a transformation of her own, too.
“My mother made it very clear to my siblings and me that after high school, if we could get into college, that’s where we were going,” McLaughlin told 99designs about her life before her new business venture. But her true passion lay in areas outside marketing.
“At 27, I quit my job and enrolled in cosmetology school full time,” she said. “I graduated a year later and started looking for a job.”
As work continued on the trailer, the inside really started to take shape. Several new windows were created to let more light flow in, and wooden storage spaces were fitted into place. It looked like a completely new caravan already, but the best was yet to come.
The trailer’s interior had started to look a lot brighter with a new coat of white paint to match the added furniture fixtures. Meanwhile, the window frames had been painted a breezy shade of turquoise.
By this stage, it was hard to believe that this was the same trailer that McLaughlin had found in the junkyard. The interior was taking on a stylish vintage chic, almost like a retro diner in its color scheme and aesthetic.
Bearing in mind the fact that McLaughlin’s true passion is for beauty and cosmetology, these chairs should provide a clue as to what was happening to the trailer. And the units were also given some more features that hint at the facilities the trailer would provide.
One of the most impressive new features was surely the trailer’s rope lighting. All the hassle of installing new wiring seems worth it for the cool effect as the lights snake their way across the ceiling.
The amazing transformation of the trailer took four months. During this time, it went from being a dilapidated old caravan to a sleek, cool modern masterpiece that any business would be proud of – and incredibly, it all began in a junkyard.
As a child, McLaughlin could often be found playing “beauty shop” with her sisters, and she always had a fascination for fiddling with people’s hair. What’s more, the urge never really went away, and it called out to her as she started to turn thoughts to a new business.
Explaining her business brainchild, McLaughlin said, “I noticed that a lot of my clients wanted me to come to their house to do their hair.” However, health and safety licensing rules didn’t allow that.
“I started doing tons of research online and found that Texas offers a mobile salon license. Everything started moving really quickly from there,” said McLaughlin. That was the origins of Hair and There, her mobile hair salon concept based in Houston.
When she was asked what the biggest challenge of the process was, McLaughlin said it was “making this business model work.” Because a mobile trailer salon is a pretty rare thing, she had to figure most of it out on her own and learn from her mistakes as she went along.
“I wanted my clients to feel like they were getting a new and relaxing experience and I wanted to embrace the retro nostalgia of the vintage Airstream at the same time,” said McLaughlin. Yet if her clients’ makeovers are even a fraction as impressive as the transformation of this former junkyard trailer, she’s sure to have plenty of pretty delighted customers.