I first met Rachel Bobis last summer at the Brooklyn Surf Flea and fell in love with her line of brightly colored and boldly-patterned decorative pillows and surf socks. Come to find she is also a Long Beach, NY resident and fellow surfer making her extra cool in my book. A year later Surf Chic Designs is flourishing with a collaboration with top NY photographer Matt Clark and a wide range of products. We spoke with Rachel about her business and where she sees it going.
What was your major inspiration to start Surf Chic Designs?
My major inspiration to start Surf Chic Designs actually came from my friends who run a fundraiser every year for Mustaches for Kids. I saw some mustache print fabric and wanted to make a pillow for my friends to support their efforts. I posted a photo of it on Facebook and the next thing I know I’m taking orders, expanding fabric selections and products and doing interior design.
I have always had a passion for design. I used to play around with sewing when I was younger and was really into photography and collages. Every time I made something my design and inspiration seemed to come from the ocean, beach and surf culture and lifestyle.
What’s the toughest part about being a small business owner?
The toughest part about being a small business owner is learning to manage everything on your own; especially finances, taxes, the ins and outs of how much to order, how much to make, etc. I have found some great mentors and often bounce ideas off of them so that has helped tremendously. I love being my own boss but it takes a lot of discipline (especially when it’s nice out and I would rather be surfing or at the beach) to stay on task and be productive daily.
How did you start surfing?
I have always loved the beach and surf culture but didn’t start surfing until I was about 18. I grew up in Florida and decided one day to go for it and I have never looked back since then. I have been blessed to travel all over the world (Indonesia, Australia, Sri Lanka, Puerto Rico, Panama, Nicaragua, California, Costa Rica…) and have made some amazing friends and have gained some beautiful memories and inspiration.
Where do I see Surf Chic Designs in five years? I would love to see Surf Chic Designs pillows and accessory bags in surf shops all over the country and online as well. I would like to be doing steady interior design jobs, especially for stores, boutiques and surf shops in coastal communities. I would also like to be profitable enough to be able to not only sustain business and profit but to also donate profits to local charities, scholarships, etc.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Rachel. We are looking forward to seeing Surf Chic Designs grow.