Southern Tide, a Greenville, S.C.-based sportswear brand whose signature product is a polo with a skipjack logo, is instituting a new shop-in-shop program.
The design, Admiral Account, features fixtures and decorative elements inspired by the brand’s Southern, coastal roots including white-washed wood, antique metal and nautical rope surfaces and fittings. The centerpiece is a dinghy-inspired light fixture.
The first shop opened in Beau Outfitters in Charlotte, N.C., in December and the concept will be expanded to between eight and 12 additional retailers by the end of the third quarter, according to Southern Tide chief executive officer Christopher Heyn. They will include Country Club Prep in Charlottesville, Va.; Perlis in New Orleans, and Byron in Kansas City, Mo. The M. Dumas & Sons store in Charleston, S.C., which Heyn said was the brand’s first account, has had a Southern Tide shop, but the site will be updated to the Admiral Account design later this year. “It’s like being on your favorite back porch leading to the ocean,” he said.
In addition, Island Sport in Kiawah Island, S.C., is planning to open and operate the first freestanding Southern Tide store. “We’re calling it Southern Tide presented by Island Sport,” Heyn explained. “It’s opening at the end of March or beginning of April and will be 1,100 square feet. It’s a joint venture, but will have the same footprint and fixtures as the others. It’s sort of a shop-in-shop on steroids.” He said there are no plans to open any other freestanding stores at this time.
Since it was founded by 23-year-old Allen Stephenson, Southern Tide has grown its preppy-inspired sportswear brand into several categories, including swimwear, outerwear, sweaters, blazers and neckwear as well as women’s wear. It is sold in 750 specialty retailers in the U.S., and was purchased by Brazos Private Equity Partners for an undisclosed amount in August 2013. Stephenson continues to serve as president.
“Working with these ‘best-in-class’ stores offers Southern Tide a major opportunity to not only partner more deeply with retailers who understand our brand and our customer, but also to create a complete expression of the Southern Tide lifestyle,” said Heyn.
“Southern Tide has a unique grasp on the style and manner of the Southern man,” said Beau Outfitters cofounder Ryan Switzer. “The brand is very popular with our customers, so having a dedicated shop was a no-brainer. We were pleased to see how it drew in customers during the holidays.”
Although Southern Tide continues to have its biggest penetration in the Southern U.S., Heyn said its greatest growth is coming from other markets. “We originated in the Southeast, but we see our biggest growth in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast and we’re also pushing out West.” He said the brand is also carried in a few Nordstrom doors as well as Von Maur, but its primary focus continues to be specialty stores.
Heyn, who had been president of Nautica and ceo of Summit Golf Brands, was named ceo of Southern Tide last March.