The surf industry was once a niche market, but it didn’t take long before it fell victim to a cultural phenomenon.
The industry boomed and with it came cheap imitation products that left ‘real deal’ surf shops feeling cheated.
As sales have dropped over the past few years, surf brands have reacted by competing with the high street for this new mainstream customer. As a result, these brands have begun to lose their identity, which had a huge impact on traditional independent surf shops. Our core customer no longer wanted mainstream surfwear and we were forced to buy for two different customers.
We soon learnt that if we refused to introduce smaller, niche brands, we would lose our core customer, yet we still had to offer the established labels that the mainstream audience understood and associated with the lifestyle. Of course, this is a big challenge, but in order not to lose the surfers who help define who we are, we’re constantly on the lookout for brands to keep them engaged.
At the same time, we will continue to work closely with the well-known surf companies that have played integral roles in where we are today.
Two different audiences, one aim: to offer the best in surf and lifestyle fashion and hardwear from brands big, small and anything in-between.
- Becci Cornelius, Director of Ann’s Cottage, which has eight surf shops in Cornwall