32 Thoughts mobile shop in Brentwood owned by mum, daughters

From a distance – 32 Thoughts looks like a utility van or one of those cult food trucks.

But come closer and you’ll see it’s a world unto itself. A world on wheels created solely to have a positive impact through fashion, personalized advice and the will to give back.

Brentwood Chapel teenagers and Charis Forte founded 32 Thoughts, a mobile shop, with their mother, Christine.

It all started just over three years ago when Chapel Forte, then a freshman at Ravenwood High School, started selling handmade jewelry to fund a missionary trip to Haiti. She discovered that through creativity and style, she could give back to a cause close to her heart.

“I ended up selling more than enough and had enough money that I could donate to the program,” she said.

Christine Forte and her daughters Charis Forte and Chapel Forte together own the 32 Thoughts store in Brentwood, Tennessee on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

Meanwhile, empowering clothing brands became an obsession for then 13-year-old Charis Forte, who discovered that one in particular “made her feel so good”.

“Every time I saw it in a store, I wanted to be there as much as possible,” Charis Forte added. “I went to see (Chapel and Christine) one day and said, ‘I really want to do something that does this for other people.'”

So the fashion-loving trio created a mix of everything that made their hearts and minds beat faster.

“We’re good at putting our minds together and thinking of creative ways to sell and we saw how excited people were that it was for a cause,” said Christine Forte. “And so, putting it all together, we thought, ‘Let’s turn this into something bigger. “”

Today, 32 Thoughts sets up at public and private events. Profits are donated to a charity of the host’s choice. They also periodically choose their own charities.

A look inside the 32 Thoughts store in Brentwood, Tennessee on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

To date, they have donated to around 40 local and national charities. Organizations such as Gilda’s Club, St. Jude’s and One Generation Away.

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A “thoughtful” experience

The Fortes have an affinity for style and the style of others. But Christine Forte naturally transmitted to her daughters the love of service.

As a 15-year cancer survivor, she knows the power of lending a helping hand, both physically and financially.

“It really got me involved in local and national charities for breast cancer organizations,” said Christine Forte. “And now we’ve all branched out to learn a lot more because we see the impact it has.”

And the name is just an extension of this drive. 32 is Christine’s favorite number, but they arrived at the word “thoughts” for several reasons.

“One of the reasons is that it’s an individual experience inside the store and we try to do and really get to know the shoppers,” Chapel Forte said. “And the other part is that the goal is to give back to the community.

“So the experience seems thoughtful.”

And the little details inside the store only fuel their thought-provoking mission.

The walls inside the store’s two dressing rooms are covered with wallpaper full of script words, such as “love”, “live loud” and “be-YOU-tiful”, intended to inspire care and confidence in every shopper, as well as similar handwritten messages on mirrors and on notes added to every bag that leaves with a shopper.

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“I learned so much as young women”

32 Thoughts has taken many forms since its inception. When it started it was a trailer. And since then, the Fortes have had pop-up stores at Cool Springs Galleria.

In 2020, however, they set out to find and create a driveable mobile shop, primarily to make it easier to maneuver and park. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that meant doing most of the hands-on work themselves to get to the truck they operate today.

“(Chapel and Charis) learned a lot as young women and about being part of the community and running a business,” said Christine Forte.

In just three years, the Fortes boutique experience transformed teenagers into young business owners tasked by their mothers with handling much of the day-to-day work – creating and running a website, working with vendors and more.

Christine Forte and her daughters Charis Forte and Chapel Forte together own the 32 Thoughts store in Brentwood, Tennessee on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

For Chapel Forte, who is entering her freshman year at Florida State University in just weeks, she hopes to be able to transport her family shop to help philanthropy efforts when she joins a sorority.

Charis Forte now has hopes of pursuing a career in the event planning industry.

“Doing this made me realize that I really wanted to do something with people. I just like having a connection with people,” she said.

“I like finding (events) that I like like coordinating them. And so it’s been great because I’ve now gone through high school knowing what I want to do.”

Learn more about 32 Thoughts

If you would like to secure a spot on the 32 Thoughts calendar, visit https://32 Thoughts.com/ for more information. Also follow Forte’s and their mobile shop and showroom on Instagram @shop32thinks.

Anika Exum is a reporter covering Williamson County for The Tennessean and the USA Today Network Tennessee. Contact her at 615-347-7313, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @aniexum.

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