By Elizabeth Wickham
From coast to coast, beach boutique and resort owners and managers for this article reflected on their best-selling items and discussed trends for 2020.
Sarah Jordan is the third generation of women in her family to own Five O Six Surf Boutique, a shop inspired by the ocean surroundings of Surf City, N.J.
“Summertime is our busiest times. We sell a lot of casual clothing, sundresses, rompers and jumpsuits. On LBI (Long Beach Island), people want something easy to wear out and be super casual. It’s a family friendly place and you’re not going to get dressed up crazy for dinner or happy hour. Throw on a dress and sandals and they’re good to go,” Jordan explained.
She said her best-selling accessories are tote and beach bags because “everyone needs one in the summertime.” Another top seller is Erin Made headbands. “They are new for us and they’ve done really well,” Jordan said. “They’re a really fun accessory, handmade in Florida and very unique. It’s a headband with a scarf that can be tied in a bow in the back or braided into hair.”
Jordan predicted bright colors will be hot in 2020. Her store sells a lot of swimwear and she said “bright pink, hot pink and neon yellow in swimwear are going to be big.”
In her 1,000-square-foot store that has annual sales of $500,000, Jordan explained her displays, “For apparel we mostly display on the walls using face outs, we do have racks also. For accessories, we have tables, baskets scattered throughout the floor. You’ll be able to find shoes and bags next to a dress. We don’t have one section for an item, we mix it all together.”
Nestled on the Mendocino Coast in California sits the Brewery Gulch Inn, built from 150-year-old giant redwood, eco-salvaged from a nearby river. According to Guy Pacurar, proprietor and owner, the best selling items in the resort’s 400-square-foot gift shop are “items that reflect the feel of Mendocino—unique and many are artisan-crafted. They also offer sweatshirts, hats, and scarves with their logo “to enhance our guests’ visit and also provide a keepsake memory.”
Their most popular jewelry appeals to the millennials who visit from the San Francisco Bay area. Bracelets feature intricate beadwork and are made by local artisans and cannot be purchased on Amazon, Pacurar explained. “We also sell cause-affiliated artisan jewelry, for example a group of women outside on Santa Fe in a women’s shelter make beautiful bracelets with a percentage of the proceeds going to them.”
“The most important thing about our displays is to keep things dusted and in order. Since we have a small 225-square-foot area, the selection is carefully curated to reflect the demographic that patronizes the inn,” he said.
Pacurar credited his wife Sarah Schoeneman for being on trend and selecting their inventory.
“Trends for 2020 in apparel are still about athleisure. Comfy, cozy is key. We are noticing that the key color for spring is beige, so all neutrals will be important. The newest shape in hats and bags is the bucket. The bucket bag looking newest is small and in all different materials, so that’s what we’ll be looking to add to the gift shop in 2020,” Schoeneman added.
Near the shores of Lake Michigan in South Haven, Mich., is the 1,700-square-foot Janny’s Beach House. Boutique owner Janny Hagland said her best-selling apparel is Habitat Clothes to Live. “It’s at a good price point and it works for everybody, younger and older. It has an easy fit. They use wonderful fabrics and there’s a surprise every year. They stay up with the current trends.”
In accessories, she has two top sellers: Brighton and CK Jewelry. “They have two different price points. Brighton is higher end and CK is more moderately priced. They are about equal in sales and they hit two different customer bases.”
Hagland has exciting plans for 2020. “We are doing remodeling this winter and changing up our product mix. We’re having a year-round celebration for 15 years in business. We’ll include a throw back to products we’ve had before. It’s going to be a very good year.”
Her top tip for display is: “Don’t be static, you need to keep moving and changing.” She said they change their displays every few weeks to keep fresh. She added, “Keep merchandise displays cohesive. Don’t try to do too much in a display so that it overwhelms people. With our displays we create a little theme, or vignette.”
In the California beach city of Long Beach, the Prism Boutique Owner Dayna Mance said her success has been in part to “seeking out undiscovered makers, working with designers we love, and standing behind brands we believe in.”
Tops are her top-selling category. “We sell blouses, basic tees and graphic tees. Between those three, tops are our best-selling items.” She credited their popularity to the fact that everyone needs tops. “It’s something that people update seasonally.”
The number one accessory in her 2,000-square-foot Long Beach store and her new 1,000-square-foot Costa Mesa “little sister” store are shoes. “People need to update sandals and open shoes in the spring and summer. We also sell boots in the winter and tennis shoes and Vans at the two boutiques.” Another top seller for Mance is jewelry. “The most popular is the necklace. People treat themselves to a new necklace, are layering them and it’s a great gift, too.”
Mance said a top trend in 2020 will be high waisted pants with a wider leg. “We don’t carry skinny legs hardly at all. Also different shades of green is going to be a big trend for us. We’re seeing chartreuse, lime and avocado.”
For her displays Mance said, “Create a story with the blouse, pants, belt, hat and boots. You can see who she is, where she’s going. We create stories in our displays, whether it’s a color story or outfit.”
A 30 minute drive from Palm Springs, Calif., at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains is the Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa with world-class golf, tennis and spa. Lynne Hite, director of the spa, which has a 400-square-foot gift shop said, “Our best-selling apparel items are those that are cozy and comfortable, but also fashionable. Anything in the ‘athleisure’ category that allows our guest to engage in the activities that they come to the Miramonte to do.”
The gift shop’s best-selling accessories, according to Hite, are jewelry. “Simple jewelry that will complement the cozy comfortable clothing and make the outfit more chic. We have discovered some very simple, but beautiful jewelry that will take ordinary workout wear to the next level.”
One of the top trends Hite sees for 2020 is sustainability. “Consumers are becoming keenly aware of the quality of the fabrics and are drawn to companies that promote and support sustainability.”
She works on displays “in a way that provides the guest inspiration to accessorize in a fun way that they might not have thought of.”