At the heart of their business is a simple idea – the round towel – that has taken the world by storm.
Stuck in jobs they didn’t love and living in Kingscliff where career options were limited, the pair decided to go into business together and launched The Beach People in the summer of 2013, working out of the garden shed of Victoria's beach house. Their first product was a round towel, or a Roundie® as they first dubbed and later trademarked it. Conceived and designed by Emma as a range of quality round beach towels in beautiful, hand-drawn prints in soft cotton and tassels, the first collection sold out in weeks, as did the second and the third. From the outset, the sisters established clear roles: Emma driving brand identity and design, while Victoria focused the business side, securing trademarks, forming entities, structuring accounts and setting up shipping, website, trademarks and the like.
Thanks to the round towel's artful, eye-catching designs and ultra-luxe feel, the brand's fan base went global. The Beach People Roundie became the must-have beach accessory of 2014, and has gone on to conquer the world. After their sell-out first season, The Beach People brand has expanded to a full range of beach-inspired accessories, and built global distribution. Emma and Victoria constantly innovate, designing more seaside luxe products to accompany their already popular range of Roundies. They have launched Petite Roundies®, stylish beach accessories and a spin-off bath collection, with more recent additions including a luxurious bedding and homewares range. The collections are, in 2018, sold in over 600 premium boutiques and department stores globally, including Bergdorf Goodman, Selfridges, Bloomingdale, Net-A-Porter, Revolve, Top 3 by Design and Ace Hotels.
The success and rapid growth of The Beach People has much to do with social media, staying true to its roots as a seaside brand and building a strong community in the crowded retail marketplace. Parlaying the success of their design icon, the round towel, into a comprehensive brand and sustainable business has been the focus from the outset, however the journey has not been without its challenges, and the sisters recently found it necessary to restructured the company’s United States operation in order to streamline it for future growth. Emma and Victoria remain focused on beach-relevant high-quality products and offering their fans and followers an opportunity to create a deeper connection, using platforms like Instagram and Facebook Live to share The Beach People story and lifestyle.
Responding to their customers’ desire for ethically-sourced options, Emma and Victoria have made changes to their manufacturing process, last year moving part of their production to a village in Guatemala where they have partnered with the local community to re-open a textiles factory that has been dormant for two decades, bringing new industry and sense of purpose to the town. They are experimenting with more sustainable materials and hope to bring a bamboo-based range of bed-ware to market in 2018. The Beach People also supports The Great Barrier Reef Foundation with contributions from the sale of select items, reflecting its commitment to the environment that inspires its iconic designs.