With its thatched-grass umbrellas, wicker furniture and massive beach mural, the new NautiGirl store off Bellwether Way could easily be mistaken for paradise.
The decorated coconuts, nautical motifs and smiling owner, Christine Palmerton, in floral heels and white linen capris, could convince one that this is a tropical resort in the Virgin Islands and not a retail store in Bellingham. That is, of course, until a glance out the storefront windows reveals dark clouds and pouring rain — in late June.
“Sometimes we’ll close down and sit back here, mix a margarita and pretend it’s sunny,” Palmerton said.
After selling merchandise online, at retail outlets and at boat shows for the last three years, NautiGirl Brands moved into its own 867-square-foot retail space on 2620 N. Harbor Loop Drive in May. The company specializes in boating apparel for women, although a men’s line, NautiBoy, has recently joined the myriad high-end boating lifestyle products the business features.
Palmerton said she was representing her company, Bellingham’s Par Yacht Charters, at the Seattle Boat Show a few years ago when she noticed an industry niche not being filled. After shopping around for women’s boating apparel and finding nothing, she decided to start her own business, beginning with selling clothing, tote bags, mugs and hats at the January 2008 boat show. When revenue for NautiGirl began to surpass that of her chartering company, she decided to sell Par Yacht Charters and invest fully in her new business.
NautiGirl is now being sold at The Tacoma Yacht Club, Bay to Baker Trading Company in Fairhaven and Roche Harbor Resort, and has had interest from places as far as Martha’s Vineyard. For more information, call (360) 671-6427 or visit www.nautigirl.biz.