Surfer style is emulated and copied widely by those finding their lifestyle aspects ripe for imitation. It’s for such reasons that mainstream surf companies have enjoyed steady success for years — but a change has come.
New companies are starting to pop up, with new visions and wild styles that promise to allow today’s surfer to regain his lost individualism. The unknown and companies unafraid to be bold are king.
Surf shop buyer/merchandiser Caitlyn Parrott has been in the industry long enough to recognize the change, and recently opened up Beau Monde boutique in the Village of Fenwick, designed for those looking for clothing that can’t be found in any old surf shop or the nearest Urban Outfitters.
“All the guys that I worked with that worked at the shop and actually surfed would buy the weirdest stuff that we would get,” Parrott said. “I tried to pick some more unusual brands that they don’t have everywhere around here.”
The shop carries brands for both men and women, including Catch Surf, Rhythm, Wildfox, Lovers & Friends, Kai, Iron & Resin and Duvin Design Co., that most surf shops or vintage clothing stores either don’t carry or of which they don’t carry a wide variety.
“I was raised up at the beach and in surf shops, so I’m drawn to that kind of stuff,” Parrott explained of her eye for unique beach style. “I was looking for something a little more unusual than most shops.”
Not only does the boutique carry clothing, but it also sells vinyl records and a wide variety of beach-related accessories. Nixon watches, Vestal, Filtrate and Schwood Wooden Sunglasses, all-organic suncare, lotions and candles are just a few of the other products available that won’t be found many other places.
“They’re super-lightweight, and they’re made in America,” Parrott said of Schwood. “They’re from Oregon. They make sunglasses all carved out of wood.”
Most of the products found in the shop are made in the United States — something upon which Parrott is proud to be able to base her business practices. When it comes to the suncare and lotions, she makes sure what she carries is all-natural and organic.
“Coola is all organic suncare out of San Diego — no parabens,” she described of the synthetic-preservative-free products. “They call it farm-to-face. It’s different sunscreens, lotions, lip balm, after-sunburn recovery. I also carry Archipelago candles, which is a Los Angeles company, and they do candles and body wash, body lotion.”
Staying on top of the latest fashion trends and newest products and companies is something that Parrott is not only good at, but passionate about. An artist and photographer herself, she has a keen eye for style and aesthetics, and the industry experience to back it up.
“In college, I chose to focus on the cultural studies division. I did all my senior work on brand identity theory,” she explained, after noting how people tend to be visual creatures. “I knew I wanted to be in fashion. I knew I didn’t want to live in New York. I went out to Chicago for a little while. I went out to L.A. for a little while.”
After stints in those fashion-focused cities, Parrott returned home to combine what she had learned and seen with her extensive experience merchandising and buying for surf shops and to incorporate it into her new boutique. She spent the winter building dressing rooms and display cases for local and vintage costume jewelry, and painted the shop as uniquely as the clothing that it carries — highlighting her work with song lyrics displayed across top of the store walls.
In the future, she plans to start printing her own T-shirts and clothing using her own designs and will, of course, continue to bring in all the latest brands, keeping Beau Monde’s offerings fresh and unique.
To find out more about Beau Monde, visit their website at www.beaumondestyle.com or give them a call at (302) 539-3830. The shop is located at 300 Coastal Highway, Store #4, in Fenwick Island. They’re also on Instagram and on Twitter @beaumondestyle, as well as on Pinterest. The shop is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the summer.