Shorts company opens store in Hamilton
Bermuda shorts company TABS has opened its first store.
The company, which began life online three years ago, has branched out into a bricks-and-mortar presence.
And owner Rebecca Singleton said the new store was an ideal showcase for an expanded range, which now includes men's polo shirts with an island twist and a children's collection, alongside shorts for men and women and swim shorts.
“It was the next logical step for the brand's progression. For me, it was just the next step,” she said.
“We also have a very big product range so I wanted to show that off.”
Ms Singleton has partnered with top local designers, including artist Graham Foster, whose prints are used in the swimshorts range, jewellery designer Rebecca Little, who has created jewellery using the distinctive TABS — The Authentic Bermuda Shorts — triangle, and Danielle Clark, who partnered with TABS to create detailing for the polo shirts, which come in a variety of colours inspired by Bermuda.
Meanwhile, local interior designer Catherine White was drafted in to help create the shop floor of the Reid Street store, which is next to the Walker Arcade, while glassblower Laura Smith made the distinctive glass chandelier and door handles for the changing rooms.
Ms Singleton said: “This is also a chance for local artists to showcase their work and tell our story. Visitors come in and read the story behind each product. The store gives us an opportunity to do that.”
She added that the new store, which opened only a few days ago, had already attracted a positive response from customers.
Ms Singleton said: “It's been really great. Everyone who comes in loves it. A few people have said when they come in it's like going swimming. It's a great space.”
The store also features Bermuda shorts cut especially for women, as well as the official America's Cup collection and dressier cotton linen blends.
Ms Singleton said: “I had a good ten-year plan, there's definitely a structure to it.
“It's also listening to my customers and cementing an idea; you rely on them a lot because I want to create a product people want.
“A lot of customers said they wanted shorts for a wedding, so we did some in cotton and linen in two colours — red coral and 'something blue'.”
She added she had deliberately concentrated on highlighting other designer items with a Bermuda flavour.
“I like to call it my local love section. Brands I really love and which tie in with TABS as well.
“It's a TABS store, but I wanted to do a lot of 'exclusively for ...' things as well. It's just more fun things to sell.
“Colour is a big thing for me. Colours in Bermuda are so inspiring. We have 20 colours of shorts now and six shades of blue.”
Ms Singleton said that the America's Cup next year had helped her decide to take the plunge and open a store.
“I'm going for it because of the America's Cup — it's the right time to do it. I have a large enough product range now and I felt now was the time to make that jump.”
And she said she hoped the polo shirt range, at present only in men's styles, would become as big a part of the range as the signature shorts.
Ms Singleton added: “I'm hoping they will become one of our staple products and I plan to change the colours regularly.
“I'm very conscious about making the product people want and it has to fit in with the Bermuda lifestyle.”
But she said she expected the online store, which has attracted orders from as far afield as Africa, Australia and Europe, to continue as a mainstay.
She added that TABS had partnered with courier firm DHL this year which had been “fantastic” for the business.