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Tune into global influences then adapt to them

Becci Cornelius, Owner of Ann’s Cottage Surf Shops, which has nine stores in Cornwall.

Becci Cornelius

Becci Cornelius

The retail industry is fast-paced and ever changing, and keeping your finger on the pulse is increasingly important. Ann’s Cottage has been part of the surf and lifestyle industry since the 1970s, and over the past 36 years we have witnessed many new trends and movements that have kept us on our toes.

Our passion for surf culture is paramount and is as strong as it has ever been here in Cornwall. Our core customers continue to support Ann’s Cottage. Being a speciality retailer means we provide items crucial to participation, such as surf equipment, apparel, board shorts and swimwear. At the same time, we attract customers who desire to be a part of that lifestyle.

A movement that has taken off here in Cornwall is stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Although not a new sport, it’s a recent fitness craze among celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Elle Macpherson and Kate Hudson - who have all been snapped doing it. As a result, SUP has taken off across the globe. Not only can you paddle on lakes, canals and rivers, it’s easier to learn than traditional surfing.

We have now added SUP boards to our board offering, stocking Red Paddle Co’s line in store and online. As a result of SUP taking off here in Cornwall, we are already noticing its influence on trends and buying decisions.

Being on top of the water as opposed to in it has had a noticeable effect - wetsuits are becoming more of a fashion statement; women’s suits in particular are sexier with very interesting shapes, materials and colours emerging.

A number of surf brands have taken huge steps in the design and fashion element to meet the demands of women wanting high style. Billabong has a spring capsule range, Rip Curl has the Bombshell series, Roxy has its XY and Kassia Meador collections, and O’Neill has Bahia.

Tuning into global influences, understanding shifts in buying habits and noticing what’s happening around us are all methods we employ to grow and adapt. Our introduction of SUP unveils another lifestyle for our customers to explore and love, and we wonder what’s next.

  • Ann’s Cottage won the Lifestyle Retailer trophy at the Drapers Independents Awards 2013.

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