Seaside Retailer - May/June 2024

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seaside retai ler


BEACH | COASTAL | NAUTICAL + Inside: 28 Calming coastal home decor trends 40 Jewelry that’s inspired by the sea 70 Plan now for the offseason DATESANNOUNCED! TheCoastal ConnectionsConference returnstoOrlandoin2025,p.8
retail to new heights with a combination of yummy bites and coastal delights.
The BoardWalk in Mystic, Connecticut, takes seaside


Make your store worth the trip.


Coastal Connections Conference dates announced.


Mannequins can be great selling tools.


List values that everyone on your team supports.


Maps, whales and plush product ideas.


Make plans to attend these future industry events.


Coverage from past and upcoming industry shows.


Fresh merchandise ideas for your seaside store.


Come up with a plan now for your offseason.


Easily locate an advertiser’s ad and website.



Gifted: Hilton Head, SC ....................................................... 50

Cover Story: Creating a boardwalk experience ................. 22

The BoardWalk offers yummy bites and coastal delights.

Style Trend: Calm coastal vibes ........................................... 28

Customers want more neutral color schemes in their homes.

Product Trend: Inspired by the sea ..................................... 40

Coastal jewelry styles offer tranquility with ocean elements.

Starfish Award: Bridging the gap ......................................... 74

Over the Bridge Bayville is a gateway for local fundraising.

In Every Issue 6 8 12 14 16 62 64 68 70 72 MAY/JUNE 2024 | VOLUME 5 | ISSUE 3
54 Barefoot Boutique: Ventura, CA ....................................... 58 28 40 74 PLUS: Read about new Great Lakes buying event for 2025 and updates for summer buying events. p. 64 Features 22 The Coastal Connections Conference is Feb. 11-12, 2025. Learn more at!
Charms: Anna Maria

Every morning after I drop my children off, like many of you, I stop by the coffee shop for my sugar-filled fuel before heading to work. I live in San Diego so I have a lot of options. And while there is one major coffeehouse chain right down the street from me, I often find myself going a little bit farther to a locally owned cafe for my daily fix.

It costs about a dollar more, and it is worth every penny. Not only do I get a specially crafted Mexican mocha, the barista also makes a heart design out of the steamed oat milk she pours into my drink. The staff and owner all know me by name and I know them. We talk about kids, work, the weather, the day ahead and more. I leave there feeling heard and special. I am in a pleasant mood, perfect for talking to seaside retailers and wholesalers that I encounter in my day-to-day work.

My coffee-shop experience is the kind of thing that Tom Borg frequently talks about in his Customers Count column in Seaside Retailer, and it’s also the type of experience you should aspire to in your seaside store.

People have many choices about where they spend their dollars, and it would be easy for them to just do what is the most convenient or the least expensive. But you have the opportunity to convince them that your particular store is worth the trip.

I have such great memories going downtown on Friday nights with my father in the small town I grew up in of Warren, Pennsylvania. We’d make the rounds, popping in and out of the clothing stores, the drug store, the variety store, the card store and the discount store seeing what each one had to offer. All the store clerks knew my dad and enjoyed making small talk with him. Then we’d cap off our night at the local cafe. I’d have a hot chocolate brimming with whipped cream and my father would have a coffee. It was really so special. Looking back at those times now, it wasn’t so much the merchandise that brought us to those stores, but it was the people who greeted us with a smile. Don’t discount the impression your staff makes on your guests and how it affects your business. For my father, and still for me to this day, it is the tie-breaking decision that makes someone want to come through your store’s door and not just settle for the most convenient option.

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Allison Cole Jewelry owner to launch SeaBird Clothing

Nicole Recomendes, the owner and designer of Allison Cole Jewelry, is launching a new eco-friendly clothing brand this spring.

SeaBird Clothing is a recycled sweater line inspired by Recomendes’ love of New England. Recomendes says customers are more conscious of where their clothing is coming from. Each sweater is manufactured using 50% recycled materials from textile remnants.

SeaBird Clothing designs, featuring a variety of New England themes, will soon be available online at

Flip Flop Shops opens Colorado location

The outdoorsy vibe of Colorado may not feel overly beachy, but thanks to Jaclyn and Graham Nessel, the Rocky Mountain State can get their beach lifestyle fix with the new Flip Flop Shops franchise they recently opened in Castle Rock.

Last year, the Nessels came across Flip Flop Shops when looking into franchise opportunities. Graham adds that there weren’t any Flip Flop Shops near them just south of Denver in Castle Rock, Colorado.

With a hole in the marketplace, the couple knew opening a Flip Flop Shops in Castle Rock could be a great opportunity. The Nessels became franchise owners and officially opened the Castle Rock store in March.

Coastal Connections Conference returns to Orlando in February 2025

The Coastal Connections Conference is returning to the Margaritaville Resort Orlando, Feb. 11-12, 2025, with new timing and a new schedule for added convenience and opportunities for beach, coastal and nautical retailers to learn and connect.

Now in its third year, the Coastal Connections Conference is a retail conference with a coastal vibe. All the educational sessions, networking opportunities and vendor engagement experiences are geared toward owners and managers of beach, coastal and nautical brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Coming off its most recent event in October 2023, the Coastal Connections Conference is moving from its traditional October timing to a new February time frame. To accommodate this shift there will be no event in 2024.

“October is a difficult time for many coastal retailers to take time away from their stores,” says Kristin Ely, director of the Coastal Connections Conference. “Through surveys, we concluded that February would be better for a majority of seaside retailers who are still in their offseason. The new dates also provide some breathing room between the fall and winter shows. We hope retailers will make the trip to Orlando to gather with their peers to gain important takeaways for their businesses and find exciting new merchandise for their stores.”

Six seminars, featuring an expert lineup of speakers, will cover relevant topics seaside retailers can put into practice immediately to improve their businesses and their bottom lines. Sessions will cover systems and processes, profitability, disaster preparedness, trends, visual merchandising and social media strategies.

Instead of a three-day event, from Sunday through Tuesday, the new schedule will be held over two weekdays, Tuesday and Wednesday. Each day will include a combination of educational sessions and opportunities to interact with vendors at an exclusive buying event called the Boardwalk, including a Sip & Shop on Tuesday evening, and open time for buying on Wednesday morning.

Coastal Connections Conference Co-Director Karen Carr says, “The Boardwalk vendor event has been a key component of the Coastal Connections Conference but had always been held after the educational sessions had concluded. We wanted to provide more opportunities to interact throughout the event and help further foster the relationships between retailers and vendors.”

Visit for event updates.

Connections CONFERENCE

Town Pride launches franchise opportunities

Town Pride, a wholesale brand, known for its products that feature local love in the form of curated name-drop collections since 2021, is expanding into retail in a big way. Coming off the heels of its flagship store in Yarmouth, Maine, that opened in November 2023, the brand is now offering franchise territories.

The franchising opportunity — already gaining traction with claimed territories — offers an opportunity to experience consumer behavior and better understand the retail side of the business, says Founder Tamara Moran.

“We moved forward with a retail store because we have had so many consumers reaching out to us for products, and we were only wholesale,” explains Moran.

A growing market for “local love” and Town Pride’s franchise opportunities will give communities an avenue for dedicated namedrop shops, according to Moran.

The Orange Beach Store expands to larger storefront

Since 2016, The Orange Beach Store has been a go-to gift and souvenir shop in Orange Beach, Alabama. The seaside retailer offers a variety of name-dropped apparel, drinkware, picture frames and jewelry.

In March, the seaside retailer had the opportunity to expand when it relocated to a new storefront in town on Perdido Beach Boulevard, just a mile from the old storefront.

“We really just wanted to move because our old store was one of the oldest buildings in Orange Beach, and it was tiny,” says Malia Price, store manager at The Orange Beach Store.

The new store officially opened at the Perdido Beach Boulevard location March 4.

The new location is spacious and modern yet homey, and at 4,000 square feet, almost four times larger than its predecessor, notes Price.

“We have tons of new lines and expanded all of the things we already had,” she says.


bust forms and mannequins are all dressed up, your displays will usually appear to

“come to life.”

Michael Hale, CEO of Retail Rehab, transforms retail spaces and helps drive up profits.

Use your ‘silent salespeople’

For seaside retailers that carry apparel in their stores, bust forms and mannequins can be great selling tools. I like to think of these as “silent salespeople.” A properly dressed bust form can help the customer see what the apparel will look like when worn.

To properly dress a bust form, I have three words… layer, layer, layer!


If you carry only short-sleeved souvenir T-shirts, layer a lighter-colored T-shirt underneath a darker-colored T-shirt and roll the sleeves once to reveal the two colors together. You can also hike up both sides at the hips to show the other color underneath.

For long-sleeved T-shirts, you can layer a lighter-colored long-sleeved shirt underneath a darker-colored short-sleeved (or long-sleeved) shirt for a youthful look. If using two longsleeved shirts, scrunch up the outer long-sleeved shirt to reveal the shirt underneath. Again, hike up the shirts

at the hips to reveal the two colors.

Take this same approach for fleece or hooded sweatshirts. Remember to pull out the lighter hood and scrunch up the outer sleeves.


A previous client of mine had a directive that I still believe in today: “If it doesn’t have a head, it can’t wear a hat!” I agree. You probably shouldn’t put a hat on the neck of a headless bust form or mannequin, but you can always display a hat stand next to a headless bust form to showcase coordinating headwear.

For mannequins, follow the same guide here for tops — but do not forget to layer with coordinating pants or skirts as well as other accessories such as handbags, backpacks, jewelry or scarves. Don’t be afraid to layer mannequins with multiple accessories.

Once bust forms and mannequins are all dressed up, your displays will usually appear to “come to life” and tell the story of your apparel collections for you.


When asking yourself why you own or work at a gift shop, it forces you to look at your values.

Tom Borg is a retail consultant, speaker and author of “True Small Business Brilliance.” Contact him at: 734-404-5909

Keep your ‘why’ in mind

Have you recently asked yourself why you own or work at a gift shop?

When you stop to think about it, it is a question that must be answered if you are to be truly successful in running your enterprise.

When asking yourself why you own or work at a gift shop, it forces you to look at your values. When you list values that your gift shop espouses and your team supports, then you can position your business to provide the service that your customers want and need.


Your gift shop customers are first buying that “something special” that you offer. That something special comes from the values you have identified from your “Why.” If you and your team have identified the key values of caring, honesty and fairness and support those values with your day-to-day efforts, then chances are you will be providing the kind of customer service the people that buy your merchandise are seeking.

Imagine that a customer visits your shop and purchases an item. The customer was not totally excited about the purchase, but he thought it would do. This customer leaves your store, but he returns an hour later wanting a refund. He found something nicer at another gift shop and would like to return the product he bought from you.

You or a team member could point to a sign that says, “All sales are final.” But is that response in line with the values of caring, honesty and fairness that you and your team identified that would guide you in running your business?

It has been said many times before: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Living those identified values would demonstrate that you truly care.

The spinoff effect is that your customers and your team members know you truly believe in those values of caring, honesty and fairness.

By consistently responding to the challenges your business faces with your “why” in mind, your shop will earn the respect of all those who encounter it.


Mapping it out

Nothing says love for a location like a map marking a favorite spot.

1. Galleyware: Serving platter featuring map of Martha’s Vineyard,; 2. Custom Salty Signs: Sea turtle sign with a nautical chart map of Tampa Bay, Florida,; 3. Fire & Pine: Pine wood map of Bluffton, South Carolina,; 4. Xplorer Maps: Shot glass with map of Cape May, New Jersey,; 5. Daisy Mae Designs: Map throw pillow,; 6. WoodChart: Nautical chart of Cape Cod, Massachusetts,; 7. Hiker Booty: Map of California made with watercolor, pen and ink,; 8. Maritime Tribes: Map-themed socks,; 9. Town Pride: Pillow with custom map,

1 2 3 5 6 9 7 8 4

Whale watch

These products have a whale of a ‘tail’ to tell.

1. Wild Delights: Orca whale paint can candle,; 2. Bamboo Source Tropical Decor: Three whale tail statues,; 3. Cape Cod Chokers: Whalebone stacked cotton T-shirt,; 4. Shard: Blue whale plate,; 5. Jessica Frasz: Handsome whale birthday card,; 6. Ocean Jewelry: Blue whale tail necklace,; 7. Pavilion: Izzy and Owie baby pants with whale print,; 8. Cutlery Couture: Silverware pouches with whale screen-printed on canvas patch,; 9. Beach Biscuit: Whales and waves dog leash,

1 2 3 5 6 9 7 8 4

Huggable memories

Cute and cuddly vacation reminders are a hit with all ages.

1. Wild Republic: Pocketkins eco octopus stuffed animal,; 2. First & Main: Under the Sea 7-inch pelican,; 3. Rhode Island Novelty: 15-inch grey dolphin plush puppet,; 4. The RGU Group: Print-ondemand 6-inch Squishies,; 5. Fiesta Toy: Scrunch Bunch 6-inch axolotl keyclip,; 6. Douglas Cuddle Toys: Buster Blue Crab,; 7. The Petting Zoo: Fuzzlez flamingo plush,; 8. Marine Life Rescue Project: Green sea turtle,; 9. Aurora: Palm Pals Fynn Surfboard plush,

1 2 5 8 4 3 6 9 7


The BoardWalk in Mystic, Connecticut, takes seaside retail to new heights with a combination of yummy bites and coastal delights.

Combining funnel cakes and french fries with nautical-themed gifts and decor may not have the same enchanting effect in every town, but in Mystic, Connecticut, the results are awe-inspiring.

“It’s always a good time,” says Laura DeJesus, manage of The BoardWalk. “And never a dull moment.”

Known for stocking more than 5,000 coastal-inspired items and a menu of deep-fried delicacies one would likely find on a seashore strip made of wooden planks, The BoardWalk is a tribute to the carnival-like atmosphere that surrounds places like The Jersey Shore and Virginia Beach.

“We decided to call it The BoardWalk because when you are on vacation and you have good takeout food and souvenir shops and things close to the water, it’s along the boardwalk in most cases,” explains Owner Jim Holley. “So, that’s how we named it.”

Located in Olde Mistick Village — an open-air shopping destination modeled after a colonial market — The BoardWalk is one of 50 unique stores, boutiques, shops and eateries within the complex, which comes complete with a town green, duck pond and gazebo. Nestled among the Mystic Aquarium and I-95 just east of the Mystic River, the shopping village celebrated its 50th anniversary in Septem-

ber 2023, according to Old Mystick Village’s website.

Holley, who is also the owner of Franklin’s General Store in the same complex, says he was approached more than 11 years ago and asked whether he had any interest in expanding his reach by adding another store.

“We realized there’s never really been a coastal-themed store in Mystic,” he says. “There were lots of gift stores — really nice stores — but they all had small elements, maybe some nautical pillows, or maybe some nautical souvenirs. But the bulk of the store was kind of a mix of many different things.”

Holley turned his focus to gutting the 40-year-old building, leaving no 22 SEASIDE RETAILER MAY-JUNE 2024
Jim Holley (left) opened The BoardWalk about 11 years ago in the Olde Mistick Village shopping complex in Mystic, Connecticut. His daughter, Laura DeJesus (right) is the store’s manager. Photos: Larry St. Pierre

detail untouched; from new electrical capabilities throughout to new floors and fixtures, the end result was a 2,200-square-foot seaside emporium.

On opening day, his daughter, Laura DeJesus, took the helm managing The BoardWalk while Holley and his wife, Heike, continued to oversee Franklin’s. Although DeJesus had been studying interior design and fine art at the University of New Haven, she decided to pivot and give the family business a try.

“When I was offered the opportunity to manage The BoardWalk, I thought it over for quite a while, and I said, ‘you know what, let me just try it,’” she explains. “It was something new for me to dip my toes into.”


With white built-in shelves wrapping around the perimeter of the store and cool pops of Caribbean blue framing areas like the cash wrap and other permanent display tables, the nautical feel goes beyond the merchandise.

To maintain the laid-back island vibe of the store, a sound system delivers melodic vibrations that invite customers to stay a while and sing along as they browse the endless collections of wind chimes, apparel, picture frames, postcards,

“Our aim is to have something for everybody. In our small space, we really have such a wide variety that can accommodate any age group.”

magnets, candy, signs, decor, glassware, wall art, jewelry, accessories, toys and more.

Holley notes the store is the largest distributor in Connecticut for a number of items, including Wicked Tuna gear and apparel. He adds that apparel ranks one of the top-selling departments with brands like Latitude 44, Ocean Beach Company and Magic T-Shirts contributing to the cause.

For jewelry — another frontrunner — brands like Cruz Accessories steam to the front of the line with the anklets being a fan favorite.

“Cruz does very, very well for us, especially in the summer,” DeJesus asserts. “The girls love the anklets; they eat them up.”

While endless bins of old-fashioned candy and a wooden sailboat overflowing with saltwater taffy call to children to find their favorites among the more than 300 types of candy, others take notice of the store’s wall art made by coastal artisans like Lisart and Donna Elias Studios.

Holley notes Lisart is essentially a “house brand” for The BoardWalk, as the store has been carrying her work as long as it’s been open. DeJesus says the allure is in the moments she captures in her photography. “She draws images in the sand at her local beaches in Maine. She waits for the tide to come in and at just the right moment, she snaps a picture,” he explains.

In addition to photography, Lisart 24 SEASIDE RETAILER MAY-JUNE 2024 COVER STORY
Hats and shirts sit on built-in shelves on the perimeter of The BoardWalk.

also provides sea glass work and mermaid ornaments that are laser cut and look like suncatchers, DeJesus notes.

Known for watercolor paintings of beach scenes featuring sunsets, lighthouses, sand dunes and lounge chairs, Donna Elias fits right in with the store’s concept as well.

DeJesus and Holley agree that the variety is what differentiates the store from others nearby.

“We try to appeal to everybody in the group,” DeJesus explains. “So, mom, dad, brother and sister all come in. Our aim is to have something for everybody. In our small space, we really have such a wide variety that can accommodate any age group.”

While apparel and jewelry might call to the trendsetters among the bunch, others delight in finding their

name among the wooden magnets and frames by GiftWorksPlus.

DeJesus comments, “You’ll hear people coming in saying, ‘Oh my gosh, they have my name. Mom, they have my name!’”


With so much to see, such as Brass Reminders decals, Ipswich Bay Soap, Paint the Town coasters and ceramics and a variety of home goods, including cutting boards, salt and pepper shakers, wooden signs, candles, lotions and picture frames, it’s almost easy to overlook how the store smells; but DeJesus says that’s nearly impossible.

“I think the No. 1 thing I hear the most is it smells so good in here,” she says with a laugh.

With nearly 30% of sales coming

from food service, it’s clear patrons aren’t ignoring the powdered-sugar confections or quick-bite items, like chicken tenders and clam fritters.

Holley says the decision to add the

Displays showcase a variety of wares from jewelry and wall hangings to blown glass.

800-square-foot food station was a bit of a risk as it required a high payroll to get items out the door and into the hands of waiting customers in a timely manner; however, it’s a strategy that began paying dividends about four years ago as the retailer began to turn a profit.

Under a whimsical lemon yellow and Caribbean blue awning, soft pretzels spin lazily in a glass case and green and yellow plastic lemonade cups stand at attention, waiting for a fresh pour.

Meanwhile, the aroma of freshpopped popcorn wafts through the air while the sizzling sound of grease browns another batch of fried Oreos to perfection.

It’s an irresistible combination that invites patrons to grab a bite, pull up a chair and stay a while longer. For this reason, a front porch full of square tables with umbrellas offers a shady place to rest, sip a slushy or share a snack with friends and family.

And the No. 1 best seller on the food side, according to DeJesus, is the french fries — or galley fries, as they

are called at The BoardWalk.

In 2023, more than 4,600 orders found their way into the hands of hungry customers, DeJesus notes. Served with a special mixture of spices that includes salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder, the reason for their popularity is simple: “They’re good,” DeJesus says.

From premium hot dogs to barrel pickles to the finest ingredients for soft-serve ice cream, Holley explains they take great care in ensuring all the ingredients are of the highest quality.

“We spent a lot of time when we opened tasting different brands,” DeJesus says. “We really wanted the best products that we could find.”

Holley says having snacks all made from scratch add another wrinkle to the retail experience because patrons will likely browse — and buy — merchandise while they wait for an order.


With more than 40 years under his belt in retail, Holley says the best advice he can share with others is to merchandise thoughtfully and effectively — as 26 SEASIDE RETAILER MAY-JUNE 2024 COVER STORY
The Boardwalk offers more than 5,000 coastal-inspired items.

it undoubtedly has an impact on your bottom line.

“Aside from personnel, the No. 1 thing that will keep your store selling product is you’ve got to merchandise your store,” Holley stresses. “It’s got to look right. If it’s disheveled and it looks like nobody cares, you’re not going to sell anything.”

He adds that relying on adjacencies to know what should go where also plays a huge role in successful sales.

“You can move an item two feet and it will stop selling,” Holley explains. “You can move it back to where it was, and it will start selling again. Placement is so key to figuring out the best overall setup.”

When it comes to employees — another crucial detail in a successful retail business — Holley admits it takes

a lot of patience trying on different personalities to find the ones that best suit an establishment.

“The biggest challenge is always finding the right people to represent the store the way we want to represent it with high level customer service and the right attitude and who’s not afraid to work,” Holley asserts.

Although long, busy and exhausting days are synonymous with running a retail establishment, DeJesus knows

“You can move an item two feet and it will stop selling. You can move it back to where it was, and it will start selling again. Placement is so key to figuring out the best overall setup.” — JIM

DeJesus credits her assistant manager, Jennifer White, for being loyal and seeing her through the mixed bag of emotions that come with the job.

“It has its challenges for sure,” says DeJesus. “There are some days where you just want to go off and cry, and there are other days where you’re like, ‘Let’s do this. I’m ready. Bring it on.”

there’s nowhere else she would rather be working than The BoardWalk. She encourages others to take a leap of faith and find their passion — even if it means following a path that veers from that which was originally intended.

“Never be afraid to try something new,” she says. “You never know where it’s going to lead because everything happens for a reason. And I think this was my destiny.”



Sunday mornings are particularly busy days at Hudson Art & Decor in Hudson, Florida.

With a diner located just a short walk away from the seaside retailer, diner guests often stroll into Hudson Art & Decor after breakfast to check out the fun, coastal-themed furniture, decor and gifts at the shop.

“This is a sweet spot for me, location-wise,” explains Hudson Art & Decor Owner Tom Lawrence. “We’re also in between two coastal furniture stores. People walk between two furniture stores, then they see my decorations. They say location, location, location, and it’s true.”

Decor featuring sea turtles, manatees and flamingos all sell well at Hudson Art & Decor. Lawrence also builds and



sells custom surfboard bars that he says are a big draw with customers looking to furnish their beach homes.

Sea turtles and surfboards are popular coastal home decor themes in Florida, but boats and lighthouses are more prominent farther north along the coast. At By the Beach, a seaside retailer in Oak Island, North Carolina, customers love wall art that depicts the town’s lighthouse.

“Images of the lighthouse do well here in my shop,” says Tangela Moss, owner of By the Beach. “Tide clocks are another big seller here, especially for new homeowners. A lot of Realtors purchase those as closing gifts.”

By the Beach in Oak Island, North Carolina, sells coastal-themed home decor, including wall art, throw pillows and more.



Customers will love making a splash in their homes with new beachy decor and furnishings.

1 | C&F Home: Coastal-themed vase with light, neutral color tones,; 2 | Earth Born Traditions: Map featuring Deep Creek Lake, Maryland,; 3 | HS Seashells: Water Ripple Butterflyfish decor on stand,; 4 | Latitudes Designs: Atlantic design sea glass bowl,; 5 | Bamboo Source Tropical Decor: Capiz shell and metal dolphin wall art,; 6 | Shard: Oyster-themed coaster set,; 7 | Rustic Marlin: Lumbar pillow with Kennebunkport, Maine, name drop,; 8 | Fancy That Gift & Decor: Pineapple mirror,; 9 | Sincere Surroundings: Wall decor with Annapolis, Maryland, name drop and latitude and longitude coordinates,; 10 | Beaver Dam Woodworks: Blue folding surf table,

1 2 5 3 4 6 7 9 10 8

Matthew Pecora, president and chief operating officer at Shard Pottery, a wholesaler in Lakewood, New Jersey, explains that coastal decor styles can vary depending on the region.

“A New England Cape Cod home

would be quite different from a home in sunny Palm Beach or the Adirondacks,” he shares. “Size, style and age of homes vary in different geographical areas. Perhaps some of the larger anchor pieces might and could be the same across these regions, but it’s all in the detail that makes a house a home and a reflection of who you are and where you live. Every area is unique and tells its own story, which is shown through one’s home and their decor.”


Seaside retailers and vendors alike have noticed that more muted color schemes are trending lately. Instead of vibrant beachy teals and bright coral-colored home decor, customers prefer creams, tans and jutes as well as muted blues and greens to decorate their seaside homes.

“The key to retail for decor is always get something new.” — TOM LAWRENCE, HUDSON ART & DECOR

Geographical differences aside, seaside retailers and home decor vendors note that there are some coastal-themed decor trends that are true across the board.

“Blues and white remains popular year after year for us, [but] I have seen a trend to more neutrals for sea life, with a few pops of pink, but less tropical colorations overall,” says Colleen Hall, vice president of marketing at C&F Enterprises, a wholesaler that offers a wide range of home decor.

Coastal-themed throws like this one from C&F Home give customers a way to update their home decor at a lower price point.

From boredom to business

Although there are some overarching trends related to coastal-themed decor, some decor preferences vary depending on the region.

In New England, one former television producer has taken the popularity of nautical signs and turned it into a business.

Pamela Tomlin like many people grew bored during the COVID-19 pandemic being stuck at home so she wanted to find something to do with the time. The former television producer decided to make a sign using nautical flags to represent letters.

“I was out of work and bored to tears and looking for something to do, so I decided to make a nautical flag sign,” says Tomlin, who lives in the coastal town of Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Tomlin’s first sign spelled out Clam Box. Her friend encouraged her to make more signs so she made a Facebook post and received 10 orders that evening.

“So I basically dumped TV and became ‘the sign lady.’ I just went to work in our one-car garage and out in the driveway and before I knew it there were 75 signs all over the houses where I live in Ipswich,” she says.

Tomlin’s business, which she named, Ipswich River Craft, was featured on ABC television station affiliate WCVB in Boston for being made in Massachusetts.

Read more about Tomlin and her company in the online version of the story at

Moss says she has noticed a preference for more neutral color schemes with decor at her store as well.

“Five years ago, customers wanted more bright, beachy teals. Now, we

Hues, says she has also noticed that customers are drawn to less vibrant color schemes this year.

“Lately we’re seeing a softer seaside palette of muted blues and greens

“Lately we’re seeing a softer seaside palette of muted blues and greens paired with crisp whites and neutral tones.” — LAURA LOBDELL, PRINTED HUES

have moved into more of the coastal grandma vibe with more muted tans and creams and that kind of thing,” says Moss.

According to a 2023 article in Better Homes & Gardens magazine, the “coastal grandma” decor style is “less ‘Ahoy, matey’ nautical and more an airy, effortless chic that’s informal but polished.” The style tends to be warm, inviting, laid-back luxury and features a lot of white, ivory and cream tones layered with other neutral coastal tones such as tan, beige and watery blues.

Printed Hues is a wholesaler known for its coastal-inspired watercolor art prints and products.

Laura Lobdell, owner of Printed

paired with crisp whites and neutral tones,” she says.

Customers also love natural textures, such as wood, linen and rattan, particularly when they are layered with materials that can withstand harsh coastal elements, according to Lobdell.


Customers are also looking for long-lasting, sustainable products when they shop for home furnishings and decor today. With increased interests around protecting the environment, eco-friendly products do well in just about any retail category.

Hall shares that C&F Home’s eco-friendly, sustainable outdoor pillow fabrics and recycled material fabrics have been very popular recently.

A nautical chart, like this one from Printed Hues, adds a bit of coastal ambiance to a room.

“The sustainability factor was more important than ever this year for our customers,” she says.

Hall adds that seaside retailers should get all the background details they can on any eco-friendly decor they plan to offer, such as where the product was made or how it promotes sustainability. She says knowing those details can be great conversation starters and selling points with customers.

Wholesalers agree customers are also avoiding cheaply made decor, instead opting for more durable products.

“We’ve found that our customers consistently look for quality, durability and guidance,” says Pecora. “Whether it’s teak, recycled plastic or synthetic wicker, outdoor furniture takes a beating in the elements. Make the investment upfront for your outdoor furniture on good, quality product.”

Sincere Surroundings is a wholesaler focused on offering a variety of coastal-themed decor and gifts. Owner Michelle Leuthold says she has noticed that more retailers want to provide high-quality and American-made options for their customers.

“American-made signifies quality and supports local economies,” she shares. “Don’t cut yourself short on quality. Quality is important. The consumer has become more aware of quantity differences and are willing to spend slightly more for a timeless product that they can be proud to showcase in their home.”


Customers certainly want high-quality decor, but budget can be of concern to them when they shop for coastal-themed decor. Wholesalers suggest that retailers offer both large coastal-themed furnishings and artwork as well as smaller pieces to accommodate people with a variety of price points.

“We’ve found that our customers consistently look for quality, durability and guidance.”

Hall of C&F Enterprises shares that coastal-themed pillows have been top sellers lately for that reason.

“I think that pillows are an easy way to really change the look of a space without having to purchase larger ticket items, such as new furniture,” she says. “Swapping out pillows for the season is an efficient, budget-friendly way to make a statement and give a room or outdoor space a quick style refresh.”

Hall says quilted coastal bedding and table linens are some other top sellers for C&F Enterprises. “I believe table


linens were top coastal sellers for the same reason as the pillows — they are affordable options to change out the style of a dining room.”

Similarly, beach candles have been a hit for Sincere Surroundings. “The fragrances of piña colada, ocean air and perfect paradise combined with an artful message makes our candles irresistible,” says Leuthold.

Lobdell says tea towels are one of Printed Hues’ bestsellers because of their more affordable price point as well. “They’re highly giftable at a great price point and bring an artistic coastal accent into the home,” she says.


According to Leuthold of Sincere Surroundings, seaside retailers should make sure to offer plenty of wall art.

She says customers today tend to love art-driven decor.

“The consumer is looking for strong art. A notable shift in home decor is consumers are moving away from sentiment-driven decor to art-driven decor,” she says. “Coastal artwork prints evoke a sense of serenity and relaxation, making the pieces timeless.”

Having pieces that stand out is also helpful to selling coastal-themed decor. At Hudson Art & Decor, customers enjoy some of the one-of-a-kind statues that the store has to offer, like a metallic hogfish. Lawrence works with local artists for many of the store’s statues. He admits that some of these pieces look odd, but he explains that customers like that they are eye-catching and can’t be found elsewhere.

Artful messages and beachy scented candles are popular with Sincere Surroundings’ coastal customers.

“The key to retail for decor is always get something new,” Lawrence shares, explaining that customers don’t want to see the same touristy decor at every store they visit. “When customers come in my store, every week I have something new.”


Ocean Jewelry’s stretch bracelets complement the line’s elegant sea-inspired necklaces and rings.

Jewelry styles along the coast are capturing tranquility with colors, symbols and elements reminiscent of the ocean.

INSPIRED by the Sea

Coastal jewelry seekers aren’t all drawn to the same motifs and styles. Some fancy a sea turtle or a wave, some want pearls and shells, while some seek out coastal colors and still others are drawn to eco-conscious brands.

But no matter how your customers choose to express their love of the sea, you can provide them with a variety of looks that are crafted by jewelry makers who share their admiration for all things beach, coastal and nautical.

“My connection to the sea is ever present. Whether I am in it, by it or far away from it, the sea is always on my mind,” says Mitchell Ousley, designer/owner of Destination Jewelry Brands. “I know there are many out there, who, like me feel that connection.”

The Destination Jewelry line and nautically inspired Caribbean Bracelet Company line are Ousley’s best sellers with seaside retailers. This year, he’s introduced the Heart of the Sea bracelet and a treasure coin pendant design.

“The new treasure coin designs have such a distinct nautical feel, and the replica coins tell a storied history that is awash in the lore of the sea,” Ousley explains.


Further up along the East Coast, Cape Cod Chokers specializes in creating pieces that are not only visually captivating but also resilient enough to accompany its customers on every adventure, whether they’re sailing the high seas or enjoying a casual beach day, according to Founder and Owner, Katie Prchlik. 40 SEASIDE RETAILER MAY-JUNE 2024 PRODUCT TREND: JEWELRY

“Coastal customers are gravitating toward jewelry that embodies both style and functionality,” she says. “They prefer pieces that are versatile, water-resistant, and reflect the hues and textures of the natural world.”

Whites, creams, browns and blues are all trending colors, according to Prchlik, and that isn’t the only trend she’s seeing. “The trend is moving towards sustainable, high-quality materials that can withstand the elements, with designs that capture the effortless elegance of seaside living,” she notes.

The company plans to launch a new surf steel collection this summer to capitalize on these trends.

Jackie Gallagher, founder of Jackie Gallagher Designs, sees pearls and the color blue — like the blues of the Caribbean waters — receiving a lot of attention in 2024.

“One of the pieces that I introduced this past year was the Shiva shell necklace, and it’s been a great seller,” she adds. She also is planning for two new releases this spring.


At Island Pearl Traders, every piece of jewelry is “a story waiting to be told,” and with the popularity of pearls, the

company has a winning concept.

“We offer a unique experience — A Pearl Discovery Experience. Customers select an oyster, bringing home the anticipation of unveiling its hidden gem. Upon opening, they discover their own pearl, a treasure from the ocean depths,” explains Founder Kyle Sweatman.

The company’s DIY pearl necklaces offer customers an exciting pearl discovery experience in a box. They include akoya oysters that produce akoya pearls.

The company offers a large selection of designs that feature aquatic pendants to display the pearl in. Sweatman says the turtle pendant is by far the company’s bestselling pendant with seaside retailers.

Pearls are also trending with The Beach and Back. “Many of my bestselling styles have a pearl or a pearl accent,” says Founder Carey Del Buono. “I think pearls’ enduring popularity is due to their versatility, feminine appeal and undeniable beauty.”

The company’s Nantucket Mermaid necklace and Slider bracelets, alongside the Dana Point collection in aqua are all popular styles.

“The Dana Point Necklace stands out for its simplicity and effortless wearability, making it a must-have for coastal enthusiasts,” Del Buono says.

This year, The Beach and Back is expanding on its popular carded slider bracelets with simple semi-precious bead sliders and a triple shell motif, all with beachy pastel colors.


Each piece of Dune jewelry holds tangible reminders of life’s most precious moments, describes Founder and CEO Holly Daniels Christensen. The company’s Sandbank features over 5,500 sands and earth elements from iconic locations around the world.

While the company’s Wave Necklace with Turquoise Gradient is the company’s most popular, Daniels

Cape Cod Chokers’ pieces are designed to be both visually captivating and durable. The Dana Point collection in aqua is a popular seller for The Beach and Back.

Christensen says 2024 is the year of the Ocean Gradient.

“It’s a fusion of finely crushed natural turquoise, mother of pearl, and your choice of sand or element from a special place,” she describes.

Daniels Christensen also launched Mi Tesoro this year, which is a trendy, fashion-forward waterproof jewelry line crafted from platinum and 14karat stainless steel.


Lissy Rawl created the little fish BOATEAK brand known for its hand-hammered metal shapes and sewn-in fabric.

“I am constantly inspired by the coast, water and the nautical beauty of classic sailboats,” she says. “I created my brand with all of this in mind.”

In 2024, she started incorporating her painted art prints into her jewelry line. “I have been painting oyster shells, hydrangeas and scallop prints all inspired by the coastal waters. Then I print my art onto fabric, which is used to create my jewelry pieces.”

Stonington Designs uses a unique

combination of bending, etching and woodworking with gorgeous woods, along with traditional weaving techniques used for Nantucket baskets.

“This wood-focused interpretation of the weaving results in jewelry that exudes a coastal, organic feel,” describes Michelle Yozzo Drake, who founded the company along with her husband Rich. “Depending on the weaving designs and etching applied to the wood pieces, our jewelry can evoke various styles — from preppy to coastal, from nautical to boho, from sporty to glam.”

And the company supports military families with its Military Spouse Weaving Program, which provides free training and flexible work opportunities for military spouses.


Wave and turtle-inspired pieces continue to be bestsellers year after year for Ocean Jewelry. This year the Ireland-based brand made a splash with a new collection of stretch bracelets that launched in the spring, each one featuring genuine stones including

Aqua, Lapis, White and Blue Agate as well as iconic Ocean Jewelry sterling silver design elements.

“To date, our stretch bracelets have been an enormous success,” says National Sales Director Alan Clancy. “Each bracelet not only enables our partner retailers the opportunity to upsell but also allows the end customer to expand their collection of Ocean Jewelry with a matching pendant, earring and now bracelet.”

Ocean Jewelry also launched an addition to its Gold Vermeil collection with each piece featuring genuine lab grown sapphires.


Robert Sylvester, designer and importer of Cork Tree Designs, says his company was the first to bring cork products to market in the USA.

The latest addition to his sea-life charm bracelets came directly from customer feedback. “A customer in Florida requested the dolphin charm as an addition to the other five sea-life charm bracelets, so of course I obliged. I also have this design available with a

Dune Jewelry’s Ocean Gradient fuses finely crushed turquoise, mother of pearl and sand. Little fish BOATEAK’s creations are inspired by the nautical beauty of classic sailboats.

starfish, pelican, sand dollar, turtle and scallop. I am focused on designing and delivering bracelets, necklaces and earrings that my customers request and what I think will do well.”

ShipShapeStyles, a nautical cultured sea glass jewelry line owned by daughter and mother duo Jennifer and Theresa Ramsdell, is tuned in to customers.

Stonington Designs’ bracelets offer a unique combination of woodworking with Nantucket basket weaving.

“Many changes to the line were due to feedback we had received,” says Jennifer. “The result is a quality piece of jewelry designed with the customer in mind.”

The company’s newest pieces feature many styles with whale tails and turtles. “We have numerous accounts in Alaska, and they love the whale tail charms and the new glass whale tail earrings and pendants,” says Theresa. “Our Hawaii customers always order our newest glass turtle pendants. These coastal areas are the reason behind adding in these two particular pieces.”

Frank and Rita Imbimbo stepped into the wholesale side of jewelry sales with the launch of Moonrise Jewelry Studio four years ago after retailing in New York and in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, for over 30 years.

Taking a chance

Bestsellers include the coastal collection such as starfish, sharks, fish and mermaids. Gemstone jewelry, with colors like turquoise, blue lab opal and moonstone, is popular with resorts.

“We have expanded our semiprecious gemstone collection of rings and earrings, which have had a high sell-through rate,” says Rita. “We have noticed that mermaids and sharks are still trending, and our colorful earring designs are especially popular with young ones.”


Taissa Rezende, founder of Born to Rock Jewelry, says that in coastal areas like San Diego where her company is based, she’s noticed a trend toward dainty and cheerful jewelry pieces.

“Customers are particularly drawn

Pam Duke, designer/owner, Nau-T-Girl Jewelry, decided to take a chance and email Captain Sandy Yawn from the Bravo show Below Deck Mediterranean.

“I told her about my nautical jewelry line and asked her if she'd be interested in a custom-made piece. She said yes!" Duke recalls.

She made her a black diamond anchor necklace, and the rest is history. The two are now great friends and exhibit at shows together.

“She does her book signing and helps bring customers to buy Nau-T-Girl Jewelry and her wave ring that she designed before meeting me. In addition, her fiance Leah and I just launched our new cuff jewelry line, called Cuff Me.”

Duke has launched a replica of Captain Sandy's black anchor necklace and redesigned her wave spinner ring.


to golden pieces, minimalist designs, vibrant colors, handmade craftsmanship and unique styles that reflect their love for the sea and sun,” she says. “We specialize in lifestyle and surf jewelry, catering to individuals who seek to express their unique interests and style.”

The company’s outrigger canoe paddle, surfboard and tennis racket necklaces are popular with sports shops, according to Rezende.

In 2024, Born to Rock introduced a new color variation of its bestselling beaded pieces, popular with seaside retailers. “These timeless designs have been loved by everyone and are particularly popular as gifts,” Rezende says.

Across the country in New England, Patsy Kane kicked off 2024 with two new designs — the Paddleboard pendant and earrings to “celebrate the

connection to the water that you feel when you are gliding along” and the Oyster Gauge pendant with design partner Ketcham Supply, says Owner/ Designer Patsy Kane Wiswell.


Melissa Lew’s stainless steel designs are inspired by her love of the ocean, with sea turtle, manatee, oyster and shoreline designs among the bestsellers.

“That’s one of the reasons that my partnership with One Tree Planted is so important to me — for each piece sold, a tree is planted. They have a variety of projects around the world, including one that helps orcas in the Pacific Northwest,” she says.

Zatara Bartoni/Net & Hand works with reclaimed fishing net aka “ghost net” to create structures for jewelry.

“We wanted to develop a product that would be environmentally positive and be a reminder and inspiration for people to make eco-friendly choices,” says Founder Monica Willard. “While at the beach/shore, we find many people are tuned into local and handmade items that are meaningful and special. They want unique conversation pieces they can wear back home.”

With jewelry that covers the gamut of styles that uniquely symbolize a love for the coast and sea, you can help your customer find their perfect expression.

Melissa Lew’s popular shoreline designs are handmade from stainless steel for durability.


Give customers a fresh way to wear their love of the sea with these trending jewelry pieces.

1 | Born to Rock Jewelry: Longboard Surfboard charm necklace in abalone shell,; 2 | Cape Cod Chokers: Gold-filled sea glass choker,; 3 | Dune Jewelry & Co.: Ocean Gradients Coastal Shell cuff bracelet,; 4 | Island Pearl Traders: Turtle pendant that holds a pearl,; 5 | Ocean Jewelry: Wave pendant necklace with crystals,; 6 | Bali Queen: Beach Pebbles pull bracelet,; 7 | Anju Jewelry: Sea green necklace,; 8 | Moonrise Jewelry: Stunning blue and aqua wave ring,; 9 | Nau-T-Girl Jewelry: Sea Turtle Bypass bracelet,; 10 | Jilzarah: Palm Beach crystal stretch bracelet,; 11 | Silver Garden Designs: Sterling silver scallop pendant,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

12 | Destination Jewelry: Heart of the Sea bracelet,; 13 | Allison Cole Jewelry: Liberty bracelet,; 14 | Patsy Kane: Lobster pendant,; 15 | Northern Tides Studio: Deep ocean blue pearl necklace,; 16 | Jackie Gallagher Designs: Large lab opal starfish necklace,; 17 | ShipShapeStyles: Coastal cuff,; 18 | Butler Hill: Island Sea Glass necklace,; 19 | The Beach and Back: Seaside mint shell leverback drop earrings,; 20 | little fish BOATEAK: Fish scale wash schooner navy and gold earrings,; 21 | Zatara Bartoni/Net & Hand: Shark charm reclaimed net bracelet,; 22 | Pink House Imports: Mini wood buckle bracelet,

12 13 14 15 17 16 18 19 20 21 22

Jewelry Sales

Focusing on bridge jewelry, higher quality pieces at a budget-friendly price point, attracts both visitors and locals.



ith more than 40 years of experience in retail operations and corporate buying, Meredith Taylor knows her way around a gift shop. And when it comes to having a pulse on what’s hot in the jewelry industry, one might even say she’s Gifted.

Her Hilton Head, South Carolina, store, Gifted, is now the third to have the namesake which originally began in Pittsburgh several decades ago. In 2011, she carried the brand south to a 2,200-square-foot shop in the Village at Wexford shopping center where it has been voted the island’s best gift shop every year since it opened. Taylor attributes that success to the variety of products she offers at reasonable prices.

Gifted’s Hilton Head, South Carolina, store offers quality jewelry at budget-friendly prices.

“I carry a lot of jewelry at all different price points in what I would call the bridge jewelry or a little bit better jewelry,” she explains.

When it comes to jewelry, Taylor selects quality pieces at budget-friendly price points to grab attention.

“My business is about 50% tourist and 50% local,” she proudly points out. “We have a really good local following.”


With wood and glass cases showcasing some of the finer pieces and spinners and baskets highlighting the brilliance of others, it’s clear that jewelry is not an afterthought at Gifted. In fact, it takes center stage on neck displays, tables, cases and anywhere else that makes for a good, glittering stage.

At the top of her list for more than one reason is John Medeiros Jewelry Collections. Taylor notes his collections are considered bridge jewelry — somewhere between fine and costume jewelry.

“It’s probably the nicest bridge jewelry that’s still made in


this country,” she explains. “It uses a good metal and then it’s coated with rhodium, which is the next-closest metal to platinum. The finishing is gorgeous.”

When it comes to trending jewelry, Taylor says enewton’s stacking bracelets take the cake. Starting at $38, Taylor notes the price point makes for an attractive gift that can be added onto for a truly unique style. Available in gold, mixed metal containing gold and silver, pearls with sterling silver or pearls with gold, Taylor likens their popularity to the Pandora craze.

“It’s a very individual choice,” says Taylor. “People stand here and play with them, picking which ones they like together.”

Meanwhile, Tagua jewelry is making the rounds for its sustainable sourcing. Harvested from a palm tree found in Ecuador, the tagua nuts are dried, sliced, dyed and carved into jewelry, Taylor says.

“It’s real fun and lightweight and the colors are vibrant,” she explains. “I wouldn’t even say it’s beachy jewelry because you really can wear it anywhere. But it’s just perfect. We sell a ton of it.”

As for statement pieces, Taylor says no one does it better than Simon Sebbag Designs.

“The thing about their jewelry is it’s sterling silver and each piece looks

Colorful Tagua jewelry, made from the Ecuadorian tagua nut, is fun, lightweight and vibrant.

super chunky, but it’s hollow so it’s easy to wear large earrings, but there’s no weight, so it doesn’t pull your ears down,” she notes. “You get this big look while it’s still super comfortable.”


It’s not just jewelry that makes her giddy. In fact, any product that Gifted

carries is an extension of the brand she has been working to curate.

While she admits the job is fun and never boring, she warns others to consider the long hours that go into turning passion into profit.

“It has to be your passion because you will spend more time than you ever thought possible, so you better

enjoy it,” she says.

She urges coastal retailers in particular to embrace advertising in local mailers, newsletters and shopping guides that are commonly used to direct tourists to shopping and dining opportunities.

And there’s no better advertising perhaps than a piece of jewelry that puts a stamp on a vacation and has a friend inquiring where it was purchased. If you’re lucky — or Gifted — like Taylor, the answer will be, “From the best gift shop on the island.”

Gifted’s “bridge jewelry” falls between fine and costume jewelry. COASTAL CONNECTION MAY-JUNE 2024 SEASIDE RETAILER 53
Stacking bracelets from enewton allow for wearers to create their own unique style.


Jewelry Sales

Stay true to yourself. Offer things that people want to buy, but also have that vision that you stick to.




n a 7-mile-long island where the storefronts are meant to blend with neighboring cottages, it may be difficult for a business to stand out. But when entrepreneurship is in your DNA, like

Island Charms Owner Lauren Collins, one doesn’t just own a jewelry store on Anna Maria Island and call it a day. To help Island Charms stand out, she even designed a product line to heighten the store’s allure.

When Collins arrived in Florida more than eight years ago, she learned that Libby’s Island Jewelry and Gifts was for sale.

“As soon as we moved to Florida, I started looking for a business to either open or purchase. And this one just sort of came about at the perfect time,” she says.

“So, I moved into their shop and bought their fixtures, but I eventually changed every single thing about it and made it my own. It just took a little time to be able to do that.”

Although the store moved down the road nearly three years ago from its original location, Collins says it has kept its beach atmosphere.


In an unassuming corner lot on Pine Avenue on the Florida island, tourists discover an airy boutique dedicated mostly to casual jewelry, but also an assortment of home accents and local artwork.

To draw customers in, Collins uses a statement table and other pieces like a rustic ladder filled with humorous tea towels to convince foot traffic that the store isn’t “just a jewelry store.” Meanwhile, open white shelving and another nearby table invite visitors to try on jewelry.

“We keep the space open so that you don’t feel overwhelmed because we have a huge range of inventory,” Collins

STORY BY CHRISTINE SCHAFFRAN PHOTOS: LORI SAX Dune Jewelry is a popular jewelry brand for Island Charms in Anna Maria Island, Florida.

says. “And we curate the jewelry display so that you can look up and down left and right, but you can still distinguish every piece of jewelry. But the store is light and calming and minimalistic.”

Of those who shuffle past the display cases filled with rings, necklaces, charms, bracelets and earrings, women on vacation stop most frequently and

pull out their wallets.

“I would say that most of our customers are selfpurchasing females,” Collins notes. “They come in and they’re not they’re not afraid to buy themselves a gift — a necklace or a ring. We keep our price point to where people feel that it’s okay to spend money on themselves. Even buying jewelry does not have to break the bank.”

With six cases filled with fashion and fine jewelry, Collins hopes everyone can find something — even the hard-to-buy-for men, who seem to gravitate to Axion bracelets.

Among the heavy hitters in her lineup are Plata sterling silver from a Florida-based business, Dune Jewelry, whose popularity is attributed to each

piece being filled with Anna Maria Island sand and Kovel Collection for its coastal themes.

For the price conscious, one item she just can’t seem to keep in stock is a $5 rope bracelet that anyone can purchase — including little girls who love the beach and have impeccable taste in jewelry, she says with a smile.

And when a touch of the ordinary just won’t do, Collins Fine Jewelry (CFJ) is waiting in the wings to “wow” guests with sustainable earrings, charms, necklaces, bracelets and rings that feature lab-grown diamonds.

Most notable in the CFJ collection is a nod to gold jewelry, Collins notes.

“A lot of people are transitioning to yellow gold,” she says. “I don’t want to say it’s trending, but it’s starting to come back.”

Displays at Island Charms provide a charming and minimalistic backdrop for eye-catching coastal jewelry.


Elsewhere in the store, another experience awaits at the permanent jewelry station — something Collins notes that has remained fairly popular over the last year.

This clasp-free jewelry allows customers to pick their favorite style chain for a necklace, bracelet or anklet and top it off with charms that tell the story of their life’s journey. It is then permanently affixed using a microwelder.

“They select their chain and then they sit there and they get to have their own experience inside this little space,” she explains.

Tucked in the back of the store, another gem awaits — a mini apparel shop. T-shirts and sun shirts float effortlessly on metal posts against a

steel-blue backdrop, while crisp, white track lights call attention to the simple outline of Anna Maria Island on each item.

The shirts are sustainably made and are the family’s own product line called Unwind — meant to be reminiscent of how they feel when they cross the bridge from the mainland to the island. Launched in 2023, it’s the only apparel in the store.

Collins encourages seaside retailers to go with what they know in thier business. “Stay true to yourself,” she recommends. “Offer things that people want to buy, but also have that vision that you stick to.”

Collins also aims to sell her CFJ line wholesale. It’s a far cry from the peanut-shell jewelry she made as a child in her garage, but it’s proof that a business mindset and the freedom to dream not only fills the shelves of her store, but soon other stores as well. COASTAL CONNECTION MAY-JUNE 2024 SEASIDE RETAILER 57
Handcrafted leather bracelets from Pigman Art are among the carefully curated, sea-themed pieces.

Jewelry Sales

Strive for excellence in displays and customer satisfaction.

BarefootBoutique Ventura,CA


s a former member of the USA national gymnastics team, Liz Marino isn’t afraid of a little competition. Although she admits to being camera-shy, she’s fearless talking about her tactics to be the best boutique owner in California’s Ventura Harbor Village. She’s even more enthusiastic about her ability to put together a good jewelry display. And none of her ideas involve conventional fixtures.

“I like the displays to almost be like an interactive piece of art where customers feel like they can take a piece of jewelry from the art display and take it home with them,” Marino explains. “I have never been one for the manufactured form displays. I like to be a little more unique.”

From mermaids covered in sea glass rings to iron pipes and driftwood designed for dangling necklaces, there’s no telling which props will be used at Barefoot Boutique.

Her creations aren’t limited to jewelry. Barefoot Boutique covers a lot of ground from apparel and accessories to home decor and gifts.

“I try to be nautical because I’m by the beach and people really want that when they come to the beach,” she explains. “And plus, it’s just so fun.”


After a stint as head gymnastics coach at UC Santa Barbara, Marino opened a gymnastics school in Malibu, California, where she also opened a sports boutique on the side, offering leotards and leggings. As the store grew to include other apparel, so did its popularity among her celebrity clientele.

“And then I just had this thing where I wanted them to take their shoes off when they would come into the gym because I didn’t want their high heels going through the mats,”

STORY BY CHRISTINE SCHAFFRAN PHOTOS: JESSICA MILITELLO The artful displays at Barefoot Boutique are as gorgeous as the jewelry featured on them.

Marino explains. “So, they would take their shoes off and then they would kind of shop around in the boutique. That’s when I started calling it the Barefoot Boutique.”

Since 2013, Marino has been pulling together trend-setting looks that

compel guests to wear their new digs right out of the store, she says.


When it comes to accessorizing those looks, larimar jewelry ranks among the most popular in Marino’s collection. Also called the dolphin stone, larimar speaks to the carefree attitude of vacationers who fall in love with the stone’s varied hues of blue.

Marino first discovered larimar in a ring worn by a client she became friends with.

“I had never heard of it. It looks like turquoise, but it’s not,” she says. “My friend said, ‘I get it from a local artist. I could introduce you.’”

She made the introduction to Steve Jones. “He brought all this jewelry over and I fell in love with it,” Marino recalls.

Sea glass is also a mainstay at the Barefoot Boutique. Whether in rings, necklaces, earrings or bracelets, there’s no mistaking this coveted sea treasure. Marino looks to Betty Belts and 1247 Studios for her most popular pieces, she says.

And healing stones are never far away from the top of the lineup, according to Marino. Turquoise, smoky quartz, rose quartz, moonstone, amethyst and others all turn heads at Barefoot Boutique.

Jewelry is grouped by colors and stones to create the best visual effect.


Originally a 700-square-foot store, the boutique expanded a few years after it opened to include the neighboring unit that became available after another tenant moved out. A second location is also located in nearby Santa Barbara, California.

With as much joy as building her stores brings to Marino, it never overshadows her love for people. Whether her staff members or customers, Marino is most passionate about those who support her dream.

“We get a lot of compliments, and there are a lot of wonderful people that have a really positive outlook about the store,” Marino says. “They might leave wearing an outfit and they’re so happy. That might turn into an online customer or ‘We’ll see you next year when

we’re back on vacation again.’ We get a lot of those. The No. 1 thing for me is the people I get to meet and making them happy.”

She adds that she’s not afraid of other establishments trying to emulate her success; instead, she takes it in stride as a flattering gesture that she must be doing something right.

“My motto is, ‘do what you do, stay in your lane.’ See what comes to you, what you’re drawn to, and bring it into the store,” she explains. “I think it’s a nice clean energy to have.”

And whether it is the jewelry display, the jewelry selection or the jewelry customer, Marino gets a perfect score every time. MAY-JUNE 2024 SEASIDE RETAILER 61
Larimar jewelry, known for its varied blue hues, hangs on striking driftwood branches and is a favorite with customers.


FEB. 11-12, 2025

Coastal Connections Conference


May 6-7

TMC – The Merchandise Center Chicago & Schiller Park, Illinois

May 6-7

Midwest Market Days Chicago River Grove, Illinois

May 6-8

Atlanta Spring Cash & Carry Atlanta

May 15-17

International Fashion Jewelry & Accessory Show Orlando, Florida

May 15-17

ABC Kids Expo Las Vegas

May 15-17

Las Vegas Market – Spring Sample Sale Las Vegas Year-Round/Off-Market-Events

May 15-19

MSA Forward Retail Conference and Expo Baltimore

May 17-19

GTS Greensboro Expo Greensboro, North Carolina

May 30-June 2

Las Vegas Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show Las Vegas


June 2-3

Metro Michigan Show Livonia, Michigan

June 2-4

Miami International Mart Miami Gardens, Florida

June 4-7

June Atlanta Apparel Atlanta

June 9-11

Minneapolis Mart Home & Gift Show Minneapolis

June 11-14

Dallas Apparel & Accessories Dallas

June 17-19

CMC LA Market Week

Los Angeles www.californiamarketcenter. com/lamarketweek

June 18-19

Northstar Fashion Exhibitors

St. Paul, Minnesota

June 19-25

Dallas Total Home & Gift Market Dallas

June 24-25

TMC – The Merchandise Center Chicago

June 24-25

Midwest Market Days Chicago River Grove, Illinois

June 26

Buyer’s Cash & Carry, Market Square Lebanon, Pennsylvania


July 16-22

Atlanta Market Atlanta

July 19-21

New Orleans Summer Gem, Jewelry & Bead Show Kenner, Louisiana

July 22-26

Seattle Mart Summer Show


July 23-24

Swim Collective

Huntington Beach, California

July 23-25

The ASI Show Chicago Chicago

July 24-25

Mid-Atlantic Merchandise Mart Philadelphia

July 26-30

Minneapolis Mart Home & Gift Show


July 28-Aug. 1

Las Vegas Market

Las Vegas

Atlanta Market

JULY 16-22

Virtual gift and souvenir show, vGift, to launch

in summer

vGift Virtual Gift and Souvenir Show is launching this summer. The event is a firstof-its-kind virtual show for the resort, destination and gift industry.

The virtual show will allow buyers to connect with 100 top gift and souvenir suppliers from across the U.S. with options to engage with them through live video, voice call or text chats using real-time tools or to set an appointment for a future date and time. Additionally a live show floor will give buyers the opportunity to gain instant access to a full range of diverse exhibitors, downloadable presentations and video in a rich environment that is both mobile-friendly and interactive.

According to Bill McNulty, vGift owner/operator, the first virtual event is expected to be held in July, with two additional shows planned in 2025.

“I can bring the buyers and sellers together and recreate the in-person show experience for those who want to maintain relationships with vendors and for those stores that for whatever reason can’t or don’t go to shows,” says McNulty, who was previously publisher of Independent Retailer magazine from 2009-2016 before moving to Souvenirs, Gifts & Novelties magazine from 2016-2021. McNulty also served as sales manager for the Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show and Philadelphia Gift Show from 2021-2024.

According to McNulty, vendors benefit from not having to be away from their office and warehouse while still being able to meet face to face with the buyers to build a personal relationship.

“On vGift they can not only talk to their customers, but set up mini showrooms and use the video calling feature to show them products and displays and keep the personal connection,” he says.

Buyers can register for vGift Virtual Gift and Souvenir Show by going online to

Great Lakes Boutique & Gift Show to debut in 2025

Great Lakes Promotions LLC, a Michigan event company, has introduced the Great Lakes Boutique & Gift Show as a new wholesale venue for the gift industry. The event will take place Feb. 25-27, 2025, at the Kalamazoo Expo Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Buyers, owners and decision-makers in the gift industry are welcome to attend the event.

Eric Howard, owner and event manager with Great Lakes Promotions, says this new event is a great opportunity for business owners who would like to increase their wholesale opportunities around the Great Lakes region.

“We are looking for registered buyers and decision-makers that have seasonal and year-round retail locations who want to find new and exciting ideas and products for their stores,” says Howard.

The Great Lakes Boutique & Gift Show will feature a diverse agenda and exhibitors from throughout the Great Lakes and Midwest regions. For more information on exhibiting or registering a business to attend, visit

Atlanta Market offers several updates for Summer 2024 event

Registration is open for Atlanta Market, which takes place July 16-22 at AmericasMart Atlanta. The Summer 2024 edition of Atlanta Market will feature updates for buyers, including refined gift and home temporaries, a remerchandising of The Gardens, expanded outdoor living resources and the launch of a web-based Market Planner tool.

“ANDMORE’s commitment to delivering efficient, effective and compelling markets thrives this summer with updated categories and curated sourcing across campus,” says Bob Maricich, ANDMORE CEO. “From retailers searching for new product and best-selling resources to augment their merchandise mix to designers looking for the perfect match for their projects, Atlanta Market offers the industry more opportunity and more connections this July.”

Summer 2024 highlights include remerchandising in the Atlanta Market temporaries for better product discovery. The gift and home temporaries are consolidating into seven categories across eight floors in Buildings 2 and 3 for optimized sourcing. Some 1,400 temporary exhibitors will be showcased.


Summer 2024 edition of Las Vegas Market provides a major sourcing opportunity

With a dynamic showcase of more than 3,500 resources across furniture, home decor and gift categories, Las Vegas Market hosts the West Coast’s leading buying event this summer. Registration is open for the July 28–Aug. 1 Market at World Market Center Las Vegas.

World Market Center Las Vegas serves as a western shopping destination this summer with 3,500-plus resources, including 450-plus temporary exhibitors in The Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas.

Permanent showrooms across 35 floors in Buildings A, B and C provide access to furniture, home decor and gift brands. Following its Winter launch, a design-driven sourcing destination on B2 makes its Summer debut in July with some eight brands offering on-trend products.

In addition, Las Vegas Market delivers keynote speakers, product displays, influencer programs and several amenities over four days to round out the upcoming West Coast sourcing event.

Dallas Market Center expects strong Temps participation at summer event

The Temps at Dallas Total Home & Gift Market have momentum, and this summer’s presentation of temporary exhibitors is ahead of goal for the designated space already leased in the World Trade Center, Trade Mart and Market Hall, according to Dallas Market Center. The show, which takes place June 19-22, is trending to be the largest summer edition of Temps at Total Home & Gift Market in a decade.

“We are anticipating the largest selection of exhibitors in 10 years, and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” says Cindy Morris, president and CEO of Dallas Market Center.

In addition, a Dallas Market Center survey confirms that over 87% of buyers who come to the event shop the Temps.

The Temps will feature new and expanded neighborhoods. High Style Dallas, High Style Boutique and Home & Fine Linens will be on the 11th floor. High Style Dallas exhibitors include 727 Sailbags, Smithey Ironware, JM Piers, LX Artworks and others. High Style Boutique features Dominique Bags, Hampton Road Designs and others. EVENTS COVERAGE 66 SEASIDE RETAILER MAY-JUNE 2024

On our radar

Looking for something new to offer? Here are some fresh ideas.

1 | Caloosa WaterWear: Ultra Comfort shirts,; 2 | Impulse Souvenirs: Boonie hats decorated with patches,; 3 | Beacon Design: Adirondack Chairs on Beach ornament,; 4 | Cottonseed Marketplace: Soul Care Collection souvenir magnets,; 5 | Joseph K: Beachthemed souvenir Christmas ornament,; 6 | 1 Brilliant Gift: Sea turtle mug with Cape May, New Jersey, namedrop,; 7 | Mackenzie’s Fisherman: Fisherman Hand Scrub cleanser,; 8 | 1968 & Co.: Tilly Dash tote,; 9 | OMG! Pretzels: Chesapeake-blend seasoned sourdough pretzel nuggets,; 10 | Home Malone: Watermelon door hanger,

Have a product you would like featured? Send a high-res image and description to:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 8


How can you make sure you’re profiting in the retail offseason? I know many of you can relate to this question. Profitability is the overall goal, no matter the season. However, in a retail offseason, cash flow can take a dip, even if your business is profitable. So, let’s not just aim for profitability; let’s manage cash flow intentionally during the busy season (which many of you are moving into now) and create a plan for the slower months. By being proactive about your cash flow you’ll


Let’s manage cash flow intentionally during the busy season and create a plan for the slower months.

On the other hand, variable expenses, such as cost of goods sold, supplies and payroll, fluctuate with activity. As sales increase or decrease, variable expenses will follow suit.

To become profitable, you’ll need to optimize both types of expenses to make sure you’re not paying more than you absolutely need to.


relieve some of that pressure during the offseason and have more financial peace of mind year-round!


Let’s chat about the role of profitability in your offseason. Making a profit means having more money coming in than going out. When planning your cash flow for the year, it can be helpful to categorize your expenses into variable and invariable (fixed) expenses.

Invariable expenses, like rent and utilities, remain constant whether you’re in a busy or slow season. These costs are incurred regularly and are essential for the store’s basic operation.

When managing cash flow, having a plan is key. Use a cash flow projection to map out your year month by month. This will ensure that you know exactly what to do with extra cash during busy months. A projection will show you where in your year the extra cash is needed. Move that extra cash into a separate account and keep it as a buffer to help mitigate negative cash flow during slower periods.

The best cash management system I’ve found is Profit First. This process gives every dollar a job, giving you peace of mind during those offseason months or times of year when expenses rise — like tax time. However, store owners need to tweak this method to suit their unique financial needs.

Inside our Profit First powered by RETAILMavens program, we help store owners tailor this method to work its magic on their finances. If you’re tired of running an “nonprofit” business, reach out!

guides retailers to grow their sales so they can pay themselves and their staff. Watch how here:


Bamboo Source Tropical Decor – 19

Bamboo Trading Co. – ..................................... 25

Beaver Dam Woodworks – ................................... 38-39

Blue Caribbean Soap Company – ..............................................36

Storrs Ltd.
American Gift Corp. – .................................. 9
Atlanta Market – .............................. 67 Bali Queen – 11
27 Destination Jewelry – 3 Dune Jewelry & Co. – .......................... 41 Exotic Sea Images – .................... 37 Fancy That Gift & Decor – 33 First & Main – 21 HS Seashells – 7 Impulse Souvenirs – ................ 75 Island Pearl Traders – ............ 59 Jackie Gallagher Designs – ......................................... 47 JD Yeatts/Chesapeake Bay – 35 Joseph K. & Co. LLC – 26 Kurt S. Adler – ............................................ 31 Las Vegas Market – 71 Latitude Designs LLC – ......................... 32 Life Force Glass – ............................... 76 Lighthouse Keeper's Pantry ................................... 66 Melissa Lew – 61 Moonrise Jewelry – ....................................... 60 Northern Tides Studio – ..............................................56 Ocean Jewelry – 43 OMG Pretzels – .................................... 66 Patsy Kane – ............................................ 46 Pink House Imports – 53 Seaside Retailer Magazine – 73 ShipShapeStyles – 61 Silver Garden Designs – 60 Simply Chickie – 36 Slippery Elm – 13 Stonington Designs – .............45 Surf Expo – 65 The Beach and Back – ............ 55 Town Pride – 2 TownWear – .......................................... 10 Xplorer Maps – .................................... 17 Zatara Bartoni/Net & Hand – ...........................................................56
Butler Hill & Co. – ......................................... 5 C&F Home – 29 Cape Cod Chokers – .................... 52 Cape Shore – 5 Clarion Events –
...............69 Coastal Connections Conference
Cotz Skincare – .................................... 15
Home Creations – .........................................

Winner: Over the Bridge Bayville

Location: Bayville, New York

Owner: Mary-Jean Hunt

““When your community supports you, it makes it possible for you to stay open so therefore giving back is a way of saying, ‘Thank you for your support.’”— Mary-Jean Hunt

When Over the Bridge Bayville hosts a sip and shop for a nonprofit, it donates 15% of sales from the event toward the cause.


Bridging the gap

Over the Bridge Bayville is the first store you see when you cross the drawbridge into Bayville, New York. Not only is it a must-stop shop to find a special keepsake that speaks to the town’s nautical feel, but it is also a gateway for local charitable organizations to reach their fundraising goals.

“Long Island is huge,” says Owner Mary Jean Hunt. “I get asked all the time [to support charitable causes], but I have to keep it local.”

Hunt wants her community to thrive. If that means donating raffle items to support the local schools or hosting a sip and shop, then she is on board.

SHOWING LOCAL LOVE. Over the Bridge Bayville has hosted several sip-andshop events for nonprofits. Hunt provides the drinks and snacks, while the local nonprofit invites people to come and shop. She donates 15% of sales at the end of the event. Over the Bridge Bayville hosted four sip and shops in 2023 and is looking to do more this year. Past sip and shops have benefited the local Save the Children chapter and an area food pantry called People Loving People.

VENDORS WITH VALUES. Partnering with vendors that support charitable causes is important to Hunt. One such vendor, Prodigal Pottery, helps women fleeing homelessness, domestic abuse and sex trafficking by teaching them the skill of pottery as well as business acumen. Another vendor, TownWear, donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of custom-designed T-shirts to the store’s charity of choice. Over the Bridge Bayville chose the Matthew Fetzer Foundation, which is run by a family in the town whose son passed away from leukemia.

“It just gives me a lot of pride. I love doing it,” Hunt says of the organizations she has supported.

Starfish Awards recognize retail stores in our industry that are making a difference through charitable donations
efforts. Is your store worthy of an award? We’d love to hear from you! Complete an entry form at
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