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TABS to take a bit of Bermuda to Cayman

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Rebecca Singleton, centre, with TABS colleagues Charley Roblin, left, and Hayley Burchall (File photograph)

A popular clothing retailer in Bermuda is set to go international.

The Authentic Bermuda Shorts shop, commonly referred to as TABS, is to open a boutique in the Cayman Islands.

Located in the heart of Camana Bay in the capital, George Town, on Grand Cayman, it will have an island concept, embracing creativity and local entrepreneurs, the company said.

The store is set for a soft opening in a couple of weeks, with an official launch party at the end of March.

Rebecca Singleton, the owner and designer of TABS, said expanding beyond Bermuda has been a goal of hers for a few years.

She added: “The traditional business model for retail is to sell wholesale, but then you are handing your brand over to someone else to sell, and you lose control. When the pandemic hit and some of our outlets could not pay us, it really pushed me to challenge this business model.

“As much as possible, I want to be in control of my business. I want to hear customer feedback from the source and be able to adapt and pivot to their needs.

“So much of selling is about positioning and storytelling and by opening my own stores I can create a retail experience that sets TABS apart from the competition and contributes to the local retail market, too.”

A trip south laid the groundwork for the choice of the new store’s location.

Ms Singleton said: “I went to Cayman on holiday in 2018 and saw the similarities and embraced the differences (with Bermuda). It felt very fortuitous as there happened to be a retail space available in the perfect location when I started inquiring, last year.

“There are a number of Bermuda businesses with offices in Cayman that I already worked with, so it didn't feel like a daunting experience. Of course, once you get beyond the initial excitement and introductions, it has been a considerable amount of work.

“Going back to start-up mode in a new country has been a steep learning curve for me and that, compounded with considerable production and shipping challenges, has meant delays ... but we are almost there.”

The shop will be staffed by Cayman residents; Ms Singleton will remain with the flagship store on Reid Street in Hamilton.

Rebecca Singleton, the owner and designer of TABS (Photograph supplied)

TABS, founded in 2013, opened a retail outlet in 2016.

Seven years on, Ms Singleton said: “Expansion is a calculated risk for me. It's time. We still operate like a start-up and have only just begun the next chapter. I'm excited to see where this journey leads us.”

She added: “I am going to give the brand a few years to establish itself in Cayman and, if a success, will then look to our next challenge.”

As for TABS’s “secret”, Ms Singleton said: “The secret? Honestly, I think it is because we genuinely enjoy what we do. There is a ton of hard work but also a lot of laughs.

“I think that 'joy' seeps into our creativity and products, our interactions with our customers, and ultimately gets us out of bed in the morning ready to take on the world.”

Bermuda retailer TABS is to open a store in the Cayman Islands (Image supplied)

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Published February 16, 2023 at 7:48 am (Updated February 16, 2023 at 7:48 am)

TABS to take a bit of Bermuda to Cayman

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