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America’s Cup uplift for Vineyard Vines

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Cup cheer: Shep Murray, left, and Ian Murray, right, co-founders and CEOs of Vineyard Vines, with Somers Cooper, second left, CEO of AS Cooper & Sons, and James Boyce, of AS Cooper & Sons, with the America’s Cup trophy at the Vineyard Vines store on Front Street (Photograph by Raymond Hainey)

Bermuda’s Vineyard Vines store has massively exceeded sales expectations, the brothers behind the brand have revealed.

Shep and Ian Murray, who founded the US brand with its distinctive pink whale logo nearly 20 years ago, said its first international venture had proved a huge hit with residents and tourists.

Shep Murray said: “It’s been great. The cool thing is it works. It feels natural.”

Ian Murray added: “It’s not only sales, more the open arms with which Bermuda has received us.

“We weren’t anticipating it would be so well received — it was a true representation of the hospitality of Bermudians.”

And Shep Murray said: “With our whale being Bermuda pink and the island being where both Ian and I went to on our honeymoons and on holiday with our parents, it really seemed like a great thing to do.”

The brothers, whose firm is the official style partner of the America’s Cup, were speaking as the race trophy went on display in the Front Street store, owned by AS Cooper & Sons, on Friday.

Mr Cooper said that the exclusive Vineyard Vines Bermuda-themed collection had been a huge hit with residents and visitors alike, while America’s Cup-branded items were also flying off the shelves.

He added: “The first anniversary of our opening is coming up, so it’s hard to say, but we feel the America’s Cup product is in more demand than the rest of the great product we sell.

“The tie-in with the America’s Cup has been a positive thing and created international interest and international sales. We noticed that from the beginning when we opened last July that there was a strong interest from tourists.

“Outside of the America’s Cup, the Bermuda-branded product we have has resonated with both locals and visitors.

“You can only get it here, which is the big bounce. People can’t buy it online or in another store.”

Mr Cooper said: “We’re very happy with the sales volume at the store — we feel the tie-in with the America’s Cup has definitely helped us.”

And he added the latest catalogue from the firm featured Bermuda photoshoots and had gone out to 1.3 million homes in America.

“Bermuda looks magnificent in this publication.”

Shep Murray said that the firm, which specialised in casual wear, had introduced technical clothing like gilets and sailing jackets to their range to celebrate the link-up with the yacht racing competition.

He added: “It’s just been a great experience and a great opportunity for Ian and I to meet new friends — people who share the passion for the good life.

“We hope we can make Bermuda proud with quality product and have a home here.”

Shep Murray said: “We just wanted to have fun and try something, so that’s what we did, and Somers has been an amazing partner.

“We want to try and be part of the community — what’s been really awesome since we opened here is that Bermuda has become a year-round destination.

“The America’s Cup sponsorship has been fun for our brand, but also fun for us because Vineyard Vines now has a home here.”

Cup queue: crowds line up outside the distinctive Vineyard Vines store on Front Street where the America’s Cup was on display (Photograph by Raymond Hainey)