Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Blue Jeans and Bikinis Eyes Sunny Days Ahead

Catlin, General Manager and Buyer, inside the boutique.

It’s a Tuesday afternoon. It’s quiet, a bit too quiet for Dollie Catlin, General Manager and Buyer for Blue Jeans and Bikinis, a high-end boutique at 971 Orange Avenue.

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“It’s quiet on the street,” says Catlin, nodding to the sidewalk. “There’s just no traffic. It’s not your typical January and February because of COVID. Those months are usually quiet, but this is different. But, we’re all in the same boat.”

But just then, a man walks into the shop, asking Catlin about one of the chic, printed t-shirts with the phrase “I Like Dogs, & Some People,” across the front.

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The much-loved t-shirt.

“It’s just so cool, I know she’s going to love it,” he says, purchasing the shirt. A few minutes later a lady walks in, visiting from Chicago. She wants the same shirt, but the man has just purchased the last size small. Catlin arranges to have the shirt shipped to the woman at her home. The woman leaves excited, delighted that the shirt will soon be hers.

“The great thing is, 90 percent of people who walk into the store buy something,” says Catlin. “People are just madly in love with the shop.”

Last June, Catlin, along with owner Rachel Wolfe, completely revamped the boutique. They bought all new furniture, lighting and mirrors. The result? A clean, uncluttered space that’s dripping in modern elegance.

Blue Jeans & Bikinis
The revamped shop feels clean and uncluttered.

“As buyer and manager, we got all new product,” says Catlin. “I wanted to update it and make it about luxury, and a quality of product that’s going to last.”

Blue Jeans and Bikinis features Hammitt handbags and wallets.

You’ll find hot items like Hudson jeans, tops and sweaters by Joie, high-end pajamas, lots of beach-y white for spring, Hammit handbags and wallets, and elegant (but fashionable) comfort clothes, like sweatshirts with the Hermes logo. They’re also unveiling a brand-new collection of swimwear: Catlin says they will feature bikinis and suits from Body Glove, Sky Swimwear, and Eden.

Blue Jeans & Bikinis

New to the shop? Homegoods, including fashionable little pictures and decor.

“Why not?” asks Catlin. “Everyone is at home.”

Some new home décor and art prints adorn the shop

But Catlin is hopeful that with easing COVID restrictions, especially for hotels, Blue Jeans and Bikinis will get more foot traffic. Catlin explains that most of their business is from tourists.

Despite all the challenges, Catlin says there have been some major COVID silver linings.

“When I first walked in here last spring for a part-time job, I never imagined Rachel would hire me on as general manager and buyer,” says Catlin. “The owner trusts me to open up the store, to fill it, and to take care of it. We are really starting to build a new clientele here. This is so positive.”

Catlin says that Wolfe is always encouraging her employees to stay upbeat and look towards the future.

“Blue Jeans and Bikinis will survive this unprecedented time,” says Wolfe. “I’ve never met a challenge I can’t handle, and our staff of ‘girl power’ will continue to grow my beautiful shop in Coronado.”

Grl Pwr
“Grl Pwr” and more.

Today, the shop is setting its sights on warm, sunnier days ahead, and putting out all its new swimwear.

“June, July, August, September, October, November and December…we blew it out of the water. We did so great,” says Catlin. “Hopefully, it will come again.”

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Christine Van Tuyl
Christine was born and raised in Texas, but moved to Coronado with her family as a teen in 1993. Although initially horrified by surfers, flannels and skateboards, she ultimately grew to love all things So-Cal. A graduate of UCSD, Christine got her first writing job on the KUSI ten o’clock news while simultaneously juggling a reporter position at the San Diego Community News Group. She worked as a public relations professional, a book editor, real estate professional, and a freelance writer before eventually succumbing to motherhood in 2008.A decade later, Christine resurfaced to start the Island Girl Blog, a Coronado lifestyle blog. In addition, she writes a monthly page for Crown City Magazine. Christine loves hanging out with her husband, Ian, and their two spirited daughters, Holland and Marley, who attend Village Elementary and Coronado Middle School. When she’s not working, you’ll find her practicing yoga, spilling coffee at school drop off, meeting friends for sushi, or sailing the Bay with her family and English Bulldog, Moshi. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:
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