Sarah, we first met back in 2019 when you attended the launch of our first season when you were an editor at Town & Country.Life has changed a lot since then; what do you miss most about your days in that kind of an editorial role?
I miss being surrounded everyday by genius writers and editors that really pushed me to rise to their intellectual level of creativity. Some days, of course, I miss the shocking access (parties, trips, gifts!) to EVERYTHING an editor at a top magazine is granted! But I admit, any day of the week, I love working from home and being able to set my own hours more than my old seemingly glamorous Devil Wears Prada life. This will be invaluable when the baby arrives this fall!
You started your brand a mere month into covid; why hats and why then?
I had ambitious plans to open an antique store with decor and fashion finds when I moved to Bermuda. I was actually working towards that idea and designed a small batch of original sun hats for a hat wall within the space. When I launched SarahBrayBermuda.com in April 2020, I also sold vintage linens and antique tabletop treasures… but truthfully the hats took off more than my vintage finds did! And afterall, it was COVID and a storefront just started to seem increasingly illogical. So, I just continued making hats. But I would love to still open an island antique shop one day!
What doors has Sarah Bray Bermuda opened that have been unexpected? What projects or collaborations have sprung out of the creation of this business have been most fun or rewarding?
The most rewarding part of running a small accessories business is seeing my gorgeous, interesting and generous customer STUN and THRIVE in my sun hats! I am always blown away and touched by their kindness to support my tiny brand and post completely unsolicitedly.
You have moved a number of times in the last 4 years - New York, Bermuda, now Florida - if you could steal some characteristics from each place and blend them into a perfect city, what qualities would those be?
Yes! We are just spending part-time in Florida and “testing it out” like so many former New Yorkers! Everyone under the age of 50 who has moved to Florida during “COVID times” seems to have had the same idea—good weather, low taxes, retirement-life-come-early! Since I was a young editor at House Beautiful, Veranda and ELLE Decor, I have been keeping a Flamingo Park dream house Pinterest board. It’s crazy that I dreamed of living in this specific Palm Beach historic neighborhood 12 years ago and now we are fortunate to have a 1920s Florida bungalow there for part of the year. But, Bermuda is our home for most of the year.
Bermuda is a super safe island to raise a young family. My husband was raised in Bermuda and grew up spending his childhood freely exploring the mid Atlantic’s crystal clear waters and playing golf surrounded by waves crashing. It’s a magical place to grow up. Even today in 2022, there is …. No Amazon delivery! No chain restaurants! No big box stores! It is majestic isolation.
Did covid have a lot to do with the evolution of your professional path? Could you have imagined this path had covid not occurred?
COVID certainly forced me to think outside of the box. However, I moved from New York City to Bermuda pre-COVID, because my husband is Bermudian and he was working in Bermuda at the time… therefore, I had already quit my former career as a magazine editor and was well into attempting to establish a new career and life in Bermuda. COVID has normalized the idea of working remotely and running business from anywhere in the world, which has allowed so much flexibility and freedom. I feel so fortunate that our world is in this forgiving and accepting mindset as I enter motherhood.
What are some of the brands who also started in covid that you’ve enjoyed watching grow (and who you have supported) over the last two years?
An amazing Bermudian childrenswear brand that only specializes in boys clothes, Henry Duvall. I am expecting a boy and have already purchased several pairs of traditional Bermuda shorts for little ones from this charming fellow island shop.
What is most exciting to you about motherhood?
Getting to see the world in a new way through a child. I can’t wait to adventure, grow and explore with my family!
What has you losing sleep at night, in terms of nerves?
Ignorance is bliss over here! I am actually not worried about anything because there is no turning back. I figure women have been having babies since the beginning of time (in caves and fields!!), so we will survive anything that comes our way in this 2022 world we have been gratefully born into.
Have you enjoyed entering the community of motherhood or have you found it opens you up to opinions or advice that is unwelcome?
I have loved entering the community of motherhood so far! I welcome all advice and am so lucky to be surrounded by young moms where we live in Bermuda and Florida.