Womenswear etailer Surfer Girl will open its first bricks and mortar store in Haywards Heath in West Sussex to broaden its customer base and test the market ahead of an own-label launch.
Surfer Girl founder Carina Turney, who set up the business three years ago, said she had wanted to open a store in Brighton, but the rents were too high. “Brighton would have made sense in terms of customers but it was too expensive and there is a lot of competition there,” she said. “Haywards Heath is an affluent town with less competition.”
The 600sq ft store on South Road will open this week and has a pink colour palette. It will sell surf brands including Roxy, Animal and Rip Curl to the 18- to 30-year-old market.
“I wanted to open a shop to meet my customers face-to-face, attract more customers and test the possibility of launching my own label in the future,” said Turney. “The shopfit is quite contemporary with dark wood floors and pink wallpaper.”
She added that trading online was holding up well. “Because I target younger shoppers who don’t own their homes, they have more money to spend,” she said. “I’d like to have a chain of stores in the next few years.”
Turney said she launched Surfer Girl to fill a gap in the market. “Girls just weren’t getting catered for in terms of surf fashion,” she said. “All the other shops and online outlets were focused mainly on men with just a small subsidiary collection of women’s clothing. We have turned that on its head and banished the men.”
Surfer Girl’s website includes a blog about new collections, online discounts and a link to the retailer’s Facebook page.