Your nostrils may find it before your eyes do, on the first floor in the center court at The Gardens Mall. Bunulu pumps its Australian Coast scent through the vents—fuming an aroma that takes you out of the store and plops you on a beach chair, purse replaced with a coconut speared by a twisty straw. “When you take that first deep breath you know, ‘OK, I’ve arrived,’” says Bunulu President Dave Alves. “It’s the beach; it’s the ocean.” It’s also sold in candle-form at The Gardens Mall shop, which opened in the fall, giving the active woman of every age a place to shop.
What to expect
Alves throws out the phrase “fashion meets function,” which is supported by racks of conventional clothing and surf-wear in bright colors and patterns. While the store carries traditional brands like O’Neill, Billabong and Hurley, it also gains its boutique-like clout for offering harder-to-come-by items like Seafolly bathing suits and YETI coolers. There are 80-plus brands to browse in the store and online, including L*Space, Duvin, Sun Bum Skin Care, Olukai, Alo and GoPro.
Something for everyone
“Our customer is an active, affluent, free-spirited woman who loves the outdoors,” Alves says. And while most of the store is dedicated to women’s casual, swim and activewear, a portion of the store also boasts menswear including board shorts to SPF T-shirts. It also works for any budget with prices ranging from $29 to $200-plus.
Localizing the brand
In addition to offering lesser-known brands, Bunulu also gains its boutique feel by displaying photos of local landmarks—such as the clock tower on Worth Avenue or the Flagler Memorial Bridge—on an inspiration board in the center of the store. Plus, there are wall-length murals of beach scenes in each dressing room that Alves says are meant for selfie-takers. “We really want to engage our customer,” he says, suggesting shoppers post photos to social media accounts and tag the store on Facebook (facebook.com/bunulustore) or Instagram (@bunulu). Shoppers can also visit the store’s other two locations in Coconut Point, Estero, and St. John’s Town Center, Jacksonville.
(Photos by Mark Steele/Mark Steele Photography)