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This Trunk Show Has Car-to-Curb Service

The Mercedes 280SE pulls up to the door, and out steps a tall redhead dressed in the newest and trendiest. She is followed by her husband, who unloads a trunkload of suitcases, and the next thing you know, they’re knocking on your door.

Bonnie and Alan Roseman offer the latest twist in door-to-door salesmanship. In their so-called “traveling boutique"--a leased car equipped with cellular phone and sheepskin seat covers--they tool across the country, pulling into 26 cities a year with extra stops in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Emphasis Is on New

What do they sell? Clothing and accessories, including unusual earrings starting at $100, belts starting at $200 and hand-knit sweaters at $300. And the emphasis is always on the new and different. Among the many items in their trunk are one-of-a-kind chiffon dresses painted with liquid silicon and fringed suede jackets made by “Indians in Santa Fe--I get them through my Indian resource,” Bonnie says.

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Who are the customers? Ann Getty, Carol Bayer Sager, Farrah Fawcett and others who call their 24-hour answering service--(213) 208-6188.

“We go to the most exclusive homes in the country,” claims Bonnie, who has selling in her blood. A few years ago it was copy machines. Then came computers. Six years ago, she started to represent artists and jewelry designers and sold their work out of her Los Angeles home. Soon she enlisted her lawyer-husband to assist her, and they were hitting the road doing “little private showings” out of other people’s homes.

“We love it,” Bonnie says. “I never felt good about having a shop. It would be too confining. I like being out and about. And when business is slow in one city, we go to the next.”

Bonnie is the showman half of the team. She wears a black body stocking underneath her clothes so she can strip down, try on different items and show customers how they look. Alan does the heavy labor and keeps the books. They usually spend two hours in someone’s home or office and their average sale is $1,000.

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The Rosemans’ schedule keeps them in Miami, New York and Los Angeles for three months each, and then across the country for three months. This summer, they will spend two weeks in Aspen and four weeks in Santa Fe because so many of their customers have taken homes there instead of going to Europe.

As they travel the highways and byways, Bonnie says they are always productive.

On the Phone

“Either we’re on the phone making appointments or talking to the office or to a designer. During the nine-hour drive to San Francisco we work the whole time. We take turns driving and doing paper work.”

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But starting in the fall, the Rosemans plan to start a “couture mailing” for their customers. “I don’t like to call it a catalogue,” she says. “It’s going to be a beautifully designed packet of photographs of wearable art and gift items. We’ll send it to people who know and trust us. I have a file on every person I sell to. I know their size and what they like.”

No doubt, it will also save on mileage. “I’m at the point where so many people want to see me,” Bonnie sighs, “and I can only be one place at a time.”


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