Talking Shop | Cornwall Today August 2017
Last year, I was approached by the owner of a hotel on Cornwall’s north coast, asking if I might be interested in opening a shop on the premises. The establishment in question? None other than the incredibly fabulous and stunning St Moritz! Nestled between Rock and Padstow in a village called Trebetherick, with vast panoramic views across a turquoise sea, it really is in the most amazing location. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance – but of course, nothing is ever as easy as it seems.
Those who read this column regularly will know that sometimes, just very occasionally, I get a little over-excited, but when we first talked about the venture it all felt like a long way away, set far in the future. The trouble is, the future has a nasty habit of appearing suddenly round the corner. With a launch date in June, and it already being March, some serious planning was required. In an attempt to quash the gentle panic that had started to set in, I threw myself at it head first.
Aside from sorting out the building of the actual shop in the hotel lobby(which was no mean feat), the hardest part for me was always going to be deciding what to stock. Being a much smaller space than our Porth store, it had to be a select edit of what we sell there, but choosing made my brain hurt. What would the local customers and guests in the St Moritz hotel be looking for?
Unsurprisingly, most important for me was to bring a great big pop of summer colour, along with our favourite pieces. For guests, we had to cater for lots of different eventualities: a romantic weekend break, a family holiday by the sea or a business trip; and just as important to us are the needs of the local community. Whether they knew Roo’s Beach or not, we needed to keep the stock fresh, new and exciting, all summer long.
I decided to bring a collection that would excite and surprise: everyday essentials like swimwear, the best denim shorts (Levi’s, naturally), cotton vests for layering, Free People pretty floral camisoles for those hot summer beach days, gorgeous American Vintage knitwear for keeping the north Cornish wind at bay, and a smattering of Wildfox sweatshirts for people to covet – that “I just can’t leave without it” top which will become a favourite for years to come.
A month in, and what have we learned? Firstly, that hotels are interesting places when it comes to style. The guests come with their bags packed and a firm idea of how they want to look on their holiday. Invariably, they have packed in a hurry or in a different temperature zone, underestimating the coastal breeze. Cornwall doesn’t have a huge need for heels or kaftans; what one really needs on holiday is a really warm jumper and a great pair of shorts!
We’ve been overwhelmed by the collective positivity which has come our way, by people’s enthusiasm for what we’re doing, and most of all, how much everyone is loving this extra dimension that the shop is bringing to their St Moritz experience. After all, who doesn’t love a little retail therapy thrown in for fun? Feel free to pop by and say hi if you’re in the area. We’d love to see you!