The entrance to Key Largo is marked by a Wyland incredible wrap-around building mural, the perfect symbol for phase two of our trip: looking for retail partners who are excited about Water Gallery's artistic, ocean-themed bottles. We all know shopping is half the fun of going to the Florida Keys and you can't get a better fit for shopping in the Keys than the work of Wyland and Guy Harvey.
Since our bottles are limited-edition and pieces of art unto themselves, we wanted to find the right retail partners who really understand the beauty of our bottles and all of the special details about Water Gallery glass water bottles, such as the 22-karat gold frames and the incredible experience of viewing ocean art through water (little shameless plug there for us!).
While we didn't create these bottles for wholesale (our dream has always been direct to consumer), we do believe there are some special places in the United States where our bottles and drinkware will thrive. Without question, Florida (especially the Keys) is one of them. And so we knew we wanted to dedicate a large portion of our Florida trip to making these valuable retail connections.
Does it get more perfect than this awesome shop for Water Gallery? I mean, our Mermaid and Turtle bottles were meant for this place! This is Miller's Village, a gift shop with a gallery next door owned by the dynamic and welcoming duo Dale and Beth, who have a longtime friendship with "Bob" (Wyland himself!). Their nautical and unique gift shop is a fun fit for our bottles and we were thrilled to start an account with Dale and Beth here.
Our next stop after Key Largo was another Key by the name of Tavernier. We stepped into an intriguing gift shop called Souvenirs and Unique Gifts of Tavernier. This little shop shares a parking lot with an iconic and uber-popular deli called Chad's.
One look at our bottles and the owner of the shop knew she wanted them in her store. She was so struck by our Drew Brophy pint glasses in particular that she said "I'll take everything you have right now." We wish we could have fulfilled her request right at that instant, but we had to explain to her that this was only one stop among many to come over the next week! We couldn't unload all of our beautiful glassware in one spot. But we loved her enthusiasm and we are honored to be featured in her shop.
After Tavernier, we made our way over to Marathon. Shady Palm is a new art gallery that's taken Marathon by storm. Every local artist wants a presence there and we are no different. Although we are not artists ourselves, we felt that our product is special enough to be amongst the unique art of Marathon. We feel fortunate to partner with Shady Palm as one of our few strategic retail partners.
Another unique shop in Marathon that piqued our interest is called Casa Casa Interiors. This is a wonderfully appointed store showcasing amazing nautical home decor. The owner Julie Tong gave us the great advice to "slow down because you're in the Keys! We're on island time here." We loved that and tried to take her advice without losing any precious exploration time.
During our days of popping in and out of shops, we actually learned a lot about our Water Gallery brand. We saw the power and awareness of Wyland and Guy Harvey in Florida, how much people love the work of both of these talented artists, and also what a great complement and extension our bottles and drinkware are to the Wyland and Guy Harvey brands.
And going into so many unique shops, we were flattered by the praise and excitement we received from the shop owners. We heard so many reactions similar to "Wow, of all the items that we see each day, we've never seen anything like these before!" As our Florida trip unfolded, we realized how truly valuable it was to make connections in this special part of our country. Water Gallery and Florida are a great fit.