(Today we profile a new business in the Hamptons. Our regular format returns later this week.)
We like those people who look effortlessly chic when they arrive/depart the beach. We are not one of them.
But here’s good news: With a few yards of cotton, we possibly could join the ranks of elegant beachgoers. Tideline Tunics (pictured above) are “clean and simple beach dresses” that are perfect for throwing on over a bathing suit and wearing throughout the day, according to creator Helen Feid.
Feid, who spent summers growing up at her grandmother’s East Hampton house, was inspired to start her line of all-cotton tunics two years ago. “My daughter, who is adorable and 26 years old, wears see-through sleeveless things,” she says. “I wanted something classic and simple, that you could also wear to the beach or if you had to run into the village.”
Feid, who has worked for Ralph Lauren and J. Crew, had memories of her mother and her mother’s friends looking “effortlessly great” and sought to recreate the bygone cover-up. Starting her own enterprise wasn’t easy, though. “I was always in design, not business,” she says. “Numbers and inventory” were challenging. Plus, “I needed to work out the kinks before getting a big order.”
She manufactured her first batch of tunics in New York, but as a small business, was always “the last man on the totem pole.” So she decided to try production in India. “I thought it would be cheaper but the delay in delivery and cost in shipping has held things up,” she says. “So I’m going back to made in the USA.”
So far, she’s had some early success. Her best seller is the ankle-length Christina ($180), named for her childhood best friend. “Last year, it came in stripes, but this year is solid navy or solid white,” she says. “It also comes in a really pale blue or shell pink.” (There’s also gingham and shorter lengths; take a peek here at Feid’s Instagram gallery.)
Feid’s tunics are sold locally at the Monogram Shop in East Hampton, as well as shops in other vacation destinations, such as Palm Beach, Fla., and the Bahamas.
While running her own line can be difficult, the best part is “shipping the finished product and then spotting my tunics on strangers walking on the beach or street in East Hampton,” she says. “I love to see my friends wearing them, too, but I’m not sure I don’t intimidate them into it sometimes.”
Is your business unique, or doing something innovative? Let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.