Inside Look: Poolside Collective At The Montauk Beach House
Poolside Collective is an eclectic concept shop offering an artful array of one-of-a-kind pieces from around the world, all available poolside at the Montauk Beach House. Ashleigh Hults and Lee Ann Bulgin, the masterminds behind the boutique, sat down with us to discuss Poolside’s story, aesthetic and what you can expect to find this summer. Read all about it below and then stop by for some shopping and sipping!
I understand you ladies met at the MBH last summer, how did the friendship develop into a working relationship and what inspired the two of you to collaborate on this project?
Yes! We met last summer at the MBH’s Lululemon event and started collaborating on events right away. We immediately realized that we had a similar aesthetic, which is important for a creative partnership. We kept in touch all winter and Poolside Collective just happened pretty naturally after a few phone conversations. We trust and respect each other, and have different skill sets, which makes the partnership work really well.
What are both of your professional backgrounds and how have they informed Poolside Collective?
Ashleigh: I have a pretty diverse professional background. I started my career on the trading floor working at Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs. I loved thinking strategically about ways to scale businesses and decided to move into the creative world full-time to pursue this passion with consumer brands. Over the past few years, I gained experience in advertising, branding, events, social media, marketing and PR. As a result, it’s important to me that Poolside is both a successful business and a unique experience. We created the shop with built-in discovery to encourage content creation and it has been exciting to see that play out live since launch.
Lee Ann: Growing up in Sag Harbor, I’ve worked with a number of retail boutiques across the Hamptons and in Palm Beach. My experience with start-up businesses and brand relations has really helped shape the point of sale opportunity within Poolside. Shifting gears into the art world I worked with an art consultant in Southampton and NYC, which introduced me to another creative world. Poolside brings things I know, love and have always wanted to creatively express together.
You offer quite a range of eclectic brands, from loafers made in a french atelier to San Lorenzo Bikinis. How do these brands come together to form Poolside Collective?
Story telling is central to the Poolside experience, and each brand participates in that. Many products we carry are unavailable in any other retail shop in New York or even the United States. For example, Oh My Collection is an apparel brand from Barcelona and their crop tops are one of our best sellers. You simply cannot find their product at any other retail location in the USA. We also work with some direct-to-consumer brands, such as the newly launched Bikyni, that shoppers wouldn’t otherwise be able to see in person, feel, or try on. This makes it fun for us and creates an exciting discovery experience for shoppers.
How would you describe Montauk style and how do these brands represent it?
Montauk style is really unique. It’s a perfect mix of high/low, so we try to curate a selection of brands with that in mind. We have menswear that looks great on women, such as the jerseys from New York Sunshine and Baja sweatshirts from Goodlife Clothing. We sell Galet loafers from France that you can throw in the washing machine, and our new HARARE caftans are gorgeous and luxe, yet totally casual in vibe. Adding a pair of sustainable hardwood sunglasses from Finlay & Co. adds that organic instant cool factor that is so Montauk.
Lee Ann: Worldly
Who is your customer and what makes the MBH the ideal location for this endeavor?
We have something for everyone in the shop. Our ideal customer is someone who is excited about discovering new brands and has an appreciation for something different. We love to attract people who have a sense of humor and can get down with a tiny bikini bottom. The MBH embraces all things unique and creative and that’s exactly what the Poolside experience is all about.
Tell us a bit about your partnership with Zico, Illy, and Honest Tea. How did they end up becoming involved?
Ashleigh did an event partnership with Zico last summer. We feel that there is no “organic” way to provide marketing opportunities for brands in Montauk. You may see branded buses and shuttles, but that is a bit too obvious for us. We felt that working with Zico again this summer was both a natural extension of a great working relationship as well as a creative and unique way for Zico to gain exposure in their target demographic. Illy and Honest are Zico’s sister companies and loved the idea so decided to participate too. We love stocking the shop with great beverages and being able to offer them to shoppers is such a treat!
Any plans for PC beyond the summer season?
Yes! We are actively thinking about the next chapter of Poolside Collective. A natural fit post-summer season is Art Basel, Miami Beach. Stay tuned!
Guest Written by Ashley Karhoff.
Original Photography by Sasha Landskov.