Nestled on the quiet New York City block of Crosby ME Street between Grand and Broome, is the hangout spot for any day of the week. Since opening in the summer of 2009, the shop has established itself as the go-to boutique for cool clothing, serious surf gear, books, coffee and the destination for local and visiting creatives to share surf stories, brainstorm new projects or to just hangout in the back garden amongst vintage motorbikes, scooters and funny caterpillars climbing amongst the flowers and surfboards.
Along with partners Morgan Collett and Josh Rosen, Colin Tunstall has created this unique atmosphere making them the laid-back darlings of celebrities, surfers, skaters, photographers, filmmakers and everyone in between. On a lazy weekday morning, Freunde von Freunden talked with Colin at his Bowery apartment and then followed him on his morning routine, traveling the few blocks with him to the shop.
Tell me about your apartment… How long have you been here?
Well, I’m on the Bowery in New York City. It’s in a fast-changing neighborhood that used to be mostly kitchen supply and lighting showrooms. I’ve been here for 4 years watching the change come down the block.
What’s your favorite feature of the apartment?
I love the white floors and open layout. I have a bunch of windows but don’t get too much direct sunlight so the white floors really open up the space and give the space a gallery feel.
I can’t complain. Maybe noise from neighbors from time to time, but it’s New York City.
Let’s talk about Saturdays… How did the concept for a Manhattan surf shop develop?
We felt like a proper surf shop and the lifestyle that we were living and working in the city and surfing was missing. My two business partners and myself were at a point in our careers where we wanted to do our own thing so we moved quickly and worked our asses off to make it happen.
What exactly is your role at Saturdays?
I’m the Creative Director. Visualizing the brand and directing through all the spots were we meet our consumers.
How would you say the three of you compliment each other?
We knew we had a good partnership because of our differences. We’re all from separate parts of the country but with similar interests. Myself having a creative background with 10 years of Art Direction and Morgan and Josh having sales experience working in wholesale for high-end fashion brands.
What do you want to see develop for Saturdays?
We have a ton of new things we’re working on. It’s really exciting to have the opportunity. We’re planning on opening a Tokyo store in March and hoping to have another store in Manhattan soon as well. We’re also adding more and more products. We’re really trying to fully encompass the lifestyle of our brand. Other media projects are in the works as well, to further help define who we are and share with our customers.
What’s been the most rewarding moment or aspect since opening Saturdays?
It changes everyday, but I would say it’s been the growth. From opening the doors and selling the first surfboard to seeing our first tee shirts on the streets and then on the stage at Madison Square Garden. Also our community. Getting to know so many people in our area. It’s a great feeling to be home. As far as the most frustrating, there’s day-to-day issues every company has. Part of running a business is figuring them out in the best way that reflects you. I’d say the most frustrating part was the first 2 years and not being able to surf as much cause we were busy working. We’re getting better at making time to get in the water now though.
How often do you get out to surf?
During the summer, it’s whenever there are waves. It was pretty mellow the first part but late summer and early fall has been pretty consistent.
Other than NYC, where are your favorite surf spots in the world?
Oh man, why are you making me answer this? It’s a never-ending list. There are so many places, from east to west coast. Puerto Rico, South America Mexico and so on. So many.
NYC living can often be stressful or overwhelming and I’m sure surfing helps balance that, but what else do you do to relax, unwind and shake off the city?
Skate, Snowboard, eat and drink. I haven’t really wanted to unwind since we started though. I keep winding myself up.
Tell me about your time in Savannah and when and why you moved to NYC?
I was at Savannah College of Art and Design and I worked for a small magazine called Contents while in school and then later when I was out. I really liked publishing so I moved to NYC to work for magazines. I got a job the first week I moved here at Marie Claire… and then moved on to Esquire, GQ… New York Magazine.
How would you compare NYC and Savannah?
Savannah is at a slow pace, but in a good way. It’s a beautiful southern city with a lot of characters. Since it’s a giant Art school it has a ton of international students. It’s a creative international hub, kinda like NYC in that respect I suppose…
What is your favorite thing about NYC?
The diversity… The work ethic. And the opportunities. My least favorite is that winter lasts about 2 months too long.
Do you ever see yourself living somewhere other than NYC?
I don’t see myself moving away completely. It feels like home here. It would be nice to balance it with somewhere else though.
NYC has been described as a city of contrasts and contradictions… In that vein, what is your most beautiful or iconic New York City story?
There’s a lot going on in NYC everyday. Always something new, better, different. What I like about New York is it weeds the bullshit out. You can only last so long on words. You need to back them up. The truly admired establishments in this city are the ones that last.
Have you ever seen an ugly side to NYC?
Yes… Lots of ugly sides. But I think that’s the beauty creatives use here everyday for inspiration.
Thank you for the nice talk!
We recommend to check out Saturdays to get some inspiration on what to put on these years christmas wishlist and their for beautiful surf related imagery.
Photography: Ailine Liefeld
Interview: Chris Ambrose