Fair Harbor is bringing a little bit of the beach to the streets of SoHo.
The sustainable swimwear and lifestyle brand will open its first permanent store at 19 Prince Street on June 11. The space includes a 700-square-foot retail space, a 400-square-foot outdoor deck and a 200-square-foot backyard bungalow.
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The space was designed by interior architect Chris Antista, a longtime friend of Fair Harbor owners Jake and Caroline Danehy, and is designed in part to replicate the house the siblings grew up in on Fire Island, where the community of Fair Harbor is located. It is bright and airy with stark white walls, wide-plank repurposed hemlock floorboards sourced from an antique farmhouse in upstate New York, custom-made birch tables, and light fixtures designed to resemble Delilah, the brand’s beloved orange 1974 Ford Bronco.
The “barefoot lounge” in the rear will include a backyard patio and bamboo garden as well as a “concept beach shack” with couches and coffee tables where customers can relax and check out the company’s collaborations with Taylor Stitch, Vance Joy and other brands, and will have a “nautical beach vibe, but elevated,” according to Antista.
There’s a replica of the Fair Harbor Community Association rules sign that is visible to guests arriving on the island by ferry. And there’s also a photograph of a sun-drenched Fair Harbor beach, which, along with the bright white decor, is intended to offer a “beacon of light and brightness” to the neighborhood, according to Caroline Danehy. Even the bathroom has a beach vibe with its tile floor and custom wallpaper created from one of the brand’s prints.
The seven-year-old privately owned Fair Harbor brand had operated pop-ups in Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan as well as Sag Harbor, N.Y., over the past several years that were designed and created by Antista. But this new location marks the first time it will lay down roots.
They said that although retail has always been part of their plan, they wanted to wait until they had enough product categories to fill the store and address the needs of the whole family. The Fair Harbor store offers the core menswear offering along with the newly launched women’s collection and the boys’ line.
“This is a unique opportunity to bring a little bit of Fair Harbor to life in New York City,” said Caroline Danehy. “We pushed off retail for a while because we wanted to be able to offer a plethora of clothing for the entire family.” While most of the mix is centered around men’s, with swimwear retailing for $64, shirts at $36 and pants at $74, the womenswear, which launched on May 5, is also offered. That includes tops, leggings and shorts, starting at $58.
Durand Guion, the longtime Macy’s executive who joined Fair Harbor as senior vice president and creative director last month, said he’s discussing the addition of some complementary third-party brands to augment the Fair Harbor assortment, but Jake Danehy said the initial thrust will be to get the company’s brand “up and running” first.
Going forward, there are plans to add to the categories offered by Fair Harbor, especially in the fall and winter, “so we can offer a coastal experience all-year-round,” Jake Danehy said. “This has to be a 12-month-a-year brand,” Guion added. “But we’re taking it step by step.”
The Danehys said they chose the Prince Street location because it’s close to their New York City headquarters, and the neighborhood attracts both residents and tourists. “There’s a real community feel,” said Caroline Danehy. The store will also serve “to establish the framework for an expanded retail strategy,” they said.
Jake Danehy said that while they’d eventually like to open stores in Florida, Texas and other states where their e-commerce business is strong, there are no plans to add other locations immediately. “We’re going to utilize this as a testing ground and then replicate it across the country,” he said. “But we’re not in any rush. We want to build out a four-wall profit and get real-time customer feedback.”
The brand started as strictly direct-to-consumer, but now counts Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and some 250 specialty stores as customers. In March, Fair Harbor received an undisclosed capital investment from Broad Sky Partners, a private equity firm that partners with middle market business services and consumer companies. The investment marked the brand’s first institutional capital funding. Gross sales last year reached $44.1 million, up from $2.3 million in 2019. It was named the second fastest-growing private company in retail by Inc. 5000 for 2020.
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