Kristin Sheeler Expands Her Boho Beach-Town BannerK
ristin Sheeler got her start in Montauk selling swimsuits of her own design out of backyards. The popularity of her designs led to pop-ups at hotels for the summer and, soon after, her own freestanding boutique, Nibi Montauk. Now she’s moving into Bridgehampton. This July, Sheeler opened her third East End boutique, Nibi Bridgehampton, expanding her clothing curation and designs. Different from the bohemian, more casual styles of the Montauk shop, the Bridgehampton location offers a more polished look for East End beachgoers. The designer has them covered, whether they’re at Ditch for the day, grabbing a bite at Pierre’s, or spending a night at Crow’s Nest.
The designer sees things going in a bit more muted direction. She’s noticed this summer’s style moving away from bright colors and pom-poms, a popular fashion trend that surfaced around 2016, back to the classic East End neutral and clean look—a style Sheeler calls “barefoot luxury.”
She began selling her suits at impromptu trunk shows in people’s backyards.
Sheeler started her fashion career at Ralph Lauren through the ’90s, but left that position in 2001 to travel to Costa Rica and Bali to perfect her surfing, after catching the bug in Montauk in 1998. After that excursion, Sheeler picked up where she left off, but with Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Aeropostal over the next ten years. But over that time Sheeler fell more in love with Montauk and surfing, which prompted her to leave her position as the vice president at Delia’s in 2014 to pursue designing her own swimsuits. She began selling her suits at impromptu trunk shows in people’s backyards and in Montauk restaurants until she met Collin Wood, who agreed to give her a four-by-six room at Atlantic Terrace Hotel in Montauk to start her own boutique. This small space became the original Nibi Montauk, Sheeler’s unique, personal beach lifestyle brand.
Maybe when Sheeler built out the interior of the Atlantic Terrace location herself in 2014, nailing in her own wooden shelving to display the bathing suits, kimonos, and jewelry she designed the previous year, she already had an eye toward expanding further. Her customers adored Sheeler’s affordable yet different designs, and the warm reception she received allowed her to expand the shop to another room at the hotel, which helped solidify her reputation around Montauk.
Last year, Sheeler had the opportunity to open a second location in town, where she added not only new designs, but also a sweatshirt and swim hut, which includes a more casual clothing selection and an embroidery machine to revamp old pairs of jeans. As her shops grew in popularity, Sheeler made her mission as a boutique owner to design beautiful pieces that not only reflected her surfing background and personal lifestyle but also that empower the different types of women that walk into her store on a daily basis. She says now that she hopes to expand her brand to other beach towns across the U.S., specifically Malibu, to spread the famed Montauk beach lifestyle nationally.
At Nibi, Sheeler also hosts in-store events with other female business owners around the East End to help other creatives build their own beach brands. Businesses have included LXMI, an all-natural skincare brand, and Unemployed Denim, a street-style, custom denim line, which is currently available at the Montauk location. At the Bridgehampton location, the CEO and Designer of Syrena Swimwear on August 17 and 18, and Legends of the Spa will host a spa day August 25. Surf-inspired art by Julie Goldestein, a California-based, wood-cut block maker, is also available for purchase at the Montauk location.