15 March 2023
A bit of Bermuda is coming to Camana Bay this month, but in a way that reflects Cayman.
TABS Bermuda, which was founded by Rebecca Singleton in 2013, started out selling five colours of Bermuda shorts at an evening craft market in Hamilton. What differentiated them from other Bermuda shorts was the usage of colours and patterns that reflected Bermuda itself. The shorts were a hit.
One year later, a major retailer in Bermuda picked up the brand and then in 2016, Singleton – who is a born Bermudian – opened her own flagship retail store, which in addition to TABS Bermuda shorts, sells a full line of island lifestyle brands.
Once TABS Bermuda was well established, Singleton began thinking about an expansion beyond Bermuda. When she and her family came to Grand Cayman for a vacation a few years back, she got the idea of establishing a second store in Camana Bay.
“My kids really loved it,” she says. “They played in the fountains and when I went in the shops, everyone was very friendly and made me feel welcome.”
Singleton also noticed that the shops in Camana Bay sold the kind of high-end lifestyle products that TABS Bermuda sold.
“I felt like Camana Bay was a community that I wanted to be part of,” she says.
At its heart, TABS Cayman will be an “island concept” store that targets both visitors and locals. Although TABS Cayman will sell men’s shorts, they won’t be Bermuda shorts, which have no relevance in Cayman. Instead, the clothing, gifts and other lifestyle merchandise sold in the shop will reflect the Cayman Islands in multiple ways.
“We will reflect Cayman’s colours, prints, animals and flora,” Singleton says. As she has done in Bermuda, TABS Cayman will also embrace local entrepreneurs by carrying their clothing, art prints, jewellery, ceramics and other gifts. TABS Cayman will also bring in some international brands, being careful not to bring in brands already sold on Grand Cayman.
“As an islander myself, I’m well aware of how it works on a small island,” she says. “Our goal is to add value to Cayman’s retail sector. We also want to add an outlet for local entrepreneurs to sell their products and to help small businesses grow.”
Having a strong marketing background, Singleton understands that retail shops need to be about more than just offering products people want at prices they’re willing to pay. TABS Bermuda is well known for its creative and engaging advertising campaigns in Bermuda, but also for providing a welcoming shopping experience at their store.
“It's important to me that we create an immersive experience for everyone who visits our store,” she says. “As a mother of three little kids, providing a welcoming space for families makes a better shopping experience for everybody. With this in mind, we added a colouring area by the window for kids and a place for guests to sit while members of their party move about the store.”
Once TABS Cayman opens by the end of this month, Singleton will remain living in Bermuda, keeping in constant contact with the Cayman store management and visiting periodically. Opening a shop in one country while living in another might deter some people, but Singleton is confident she can make it work and still provide the shopping experience people in Bermuda have come to expect from TABS.
“For me, [TABS Cayman] gives me the opportunity to show my product, tell the brand story and offer excellent customer service,” she says. “This is what creates a unique shopping experience that keeps the customer, and their family, coming back.”
This article was originally featured in the March 2023 print edition of Camana Bay Times.