CH2 CELEBRATE HILTON HEAD
By Kitty Bartell
Online Article Here
Like a novel made of paper and ink and cardboard, sitting on a library shelf, fashion is tangible and concrete and specific, made up of dresses, jeans, shoes, handbags, jewelry, etc., etc., etc. If fashion is the novel, then style is the words making up the novel. Style sends your brand out into the world, conveying feelings and emotions, and personality. “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak,” said Rachel Zoe, fashion influencer, stylist, designer, and business woman.
Christina Dzendzel and Blake Schmidt, owners of Coastal Bliss, their Hilton Head Island women’s boutique, have taken the language of style and made it into their own delightful art form. These long-time island friends merged their chic bohemian sensibilities, resulting in a truly blissful destination at their Shelter Cove Towne Center shop, opened in September of 2013.
Having studied at Savannah College of Art and Design, Dzendzel said inspiration for the store came about while she worked with a local retailer who encouraged and mentored her entrepreneurial spirit. “They took me in and taught me so much about retail. They made me one of their own. The owner is a powerful woman in business and she encouraged working for myself.”
Schmidt had completed her degree at Clemson University and was working as a retail buyer on the island. “Blake and I became very good friends,” Dzendzel said. “We both moved back here. Her husband and my husband are best friends. We were hanging out a lot and we said, ‘Let’s open a store.’”
“I think we’re fulfilling a need here on the island,” Dzendzel said. The idea was to create a store where they would want to shop, and they knew their purlieu would be the perfect place to let their creative and enterprising juices flow.
“We buy to fit the Hilton Head lifestyle,” Schmidt said. Buying for the shop is a creative process with parameter. Of course, there are budget considerations that guide their buying trips; however, it is the relationships the owners form with carefully curated designers that allows them to bring many lines not found elsewhere in the Lowcountry. “People are always saying everything here is so unique.”
“A line that’s really taken off and that we both like and can relate to is Show Me Your MuMu,” Schmidt said. “We fell in love with it the first time we saw it. The colors are infectious and make you smile.” MuMu is a whimsical collection on the elegant side of hippy-dippy-trippy, including flowy dresses, tops, and rompers.
BB Dakota is also one of their favorites, situated on the decidedly chic side of boho. “It’s very trendy for the price and has great quality,” Schmidt said. Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, along with their best-selling contemporary jeans, Henry & Belle out of Chicago, satisfy all manner of denim cravings.
Purposefully selecting lines that are exclusive to Coastal Bliss, and working to maintain affordable pricing, their clothing and accessories are absolutely wearable for the everyday woman.
Accessory-wise, “We are obsessed with Little Fish BOATEAK,” Dzendzel said of the local Hilton Head Island jewelry designer, whose pieces are airy, impactful works of metal and leather. “They’re beautiful statement pieces designed by Lissy Rawl.” All the Coastal Bliss jewelry lines intentionally pair beautifully with their fashion, including shoes, hats, scarves, bags, and more. Satchel, the handbag and leather goods line made in Savannah, Georgia are particularly supple treats to add to any outfit.
Intentionally gathering all the accoutrements necessary to create great style, the Coastal Bliss team reaches far beyond their charming storefront, utilizing social media savvy to connect to their customers. The results have been strong. With their website, and a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, social media is one of Coastal Bliss’s best resources for reaching their customers.
The “Show Me You Love Me” social media campaign was customer-generated from the beginning. “Really good customers started sending us pictures of themselves in Coastal Bliss clothes from somewhere around the world: Washington D.C., in front of the White House, a vineyard in California, New York City, and London, or wherever they were,” Dzendzel said. “We would post it on our webpage: Coastal Bliss goes to… That was where we came up with the idea of Coastal Bliss goes to The Heritage.”
“Our first Heritage season was April 2014,” Schmidt said. “We decided to do a photo contest, because we were getting more followers and more action. If they tagged us and sent us their pictures, the person with the most likes won a $100 Coastal Bliss gift certificate; second place won a $25 gift certificate.” Now in its third year, the idea is to find your Heritage style at Coastal Bliss, wear it to the tournament, take a picture and send it to Coastal Bliss using the hashtag #CBgoestoheritage (this is required). Voting will happen the week after The Heritage, and with the most votes, you could be shopping for your next outfit sooner than you imagined.
“People are getting really competitive about it,” Dzendzel said. “One customer sent us pictures every day from The Heritage. She wore Coastal Bliss every single day.” An essential part of a Coastal Bliss Heritage ensemble is their official tournament bag—official, because it is of the approved size allowed into the tournament (no larger than 6” X 6”)—and ever-so Coastal Bliss, as it comes in an assortment of fabulous colors, has four zippered pockets (perfect!), has both cross-body and wristlet straps (leaving your hands free to execute the requisite golf clap), and is always only $30.
“We both love fashion,” Schmidt said. “When customers are happy and they leave with a cute outfit and they feel good about it, it makes you feel good.”
“When we’re out and about and we see someone wearing Coastal Bliss at dinner, or in the grocery store, or somewhere else, it makes us feel good,” Dzendzel said.
Without saying a word, Coastal Bliss style speaks loud and clear, and it makes you feel good.
Coastal Bliss is located at 38 Shelter Cove Ln #126, Hilton Head Island in Shelter Cove Towne Center. For more information, please visit coastalblisshiltonhead.com or call (843) 802-4050.