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Popular Beach Shade Takes Over NC Beaches

Source: AXIOS Raleigh

If you stroll along the North Carolina coastline this summer, you’ll likely find a striking sight: vibrant blue and turquoise canopies dancing in the breeze. If you go during the peak season it almost looks like a takeover of these canopies pointing in the same direction dancing in the wind. Might be an idea to generate more clean energy down the line now that I think about it. 

This visual spectacle isn’t just a trend; it’s a testament to the rapid rise of Shibumi, one of the most sought-after outdoor brands in the nation. Shibumi has rapidly expanded its footprint, captivating beach enthusiasts worldwide with its lightweight, wind-powered sun shades.

What you may not know is that Shibumi was born in Raleigh. Brothers Dane and Scott Barnes and their friend Alex Slater pondered alternatives to traditional beach umbrellas during their family vacations at Emerald Isle. Drawing inspiration from kitesurfing gear, they embarked on a mission to craft shade solutions that feed off the ocean breeze.

The initial prototypes, dubbed Shibumi Shade in homage to their former residence in Chapel Hill, were handcrafted and distributed through grassroots channels. Demand surged, necessitating the hiring of professional sewers and the establishment of a warehouse in Raleigh. While initially self-funded, Shibumi secured a line of credit from a bank to accommodate the escalating orders.

The pandemic proved a turning point, propelling Shibumi into the limelight as beachgoers sought outdoor solace. Sales soared, prompting the founders to commit full-time to their venture. Shibumi has sold over 300,000 shades, garnering praise from customers spanning 800 beaches worldwide.

Today you can find Shibumi in major retailers like Dicks Sporting Goods and REI, expanding its reach to enthusiasts beyond its coastal roots. Despite imitators attempting to emulate its success, Shibumi remains steadfast in safeguarding its intellectual property, limiting its product offerings to signature hues of blue and turquoise.

Looking ahead, Shibumi is strategizing its trajectory for sustained growth. While its flagship shade boasts significant potential for expansion, the company is diversifying its product line. Innovations like a quieter shade for windy days and accessories to adapt to varying beach conditions are already gaining traction. 

While Shibumi has seen major success, it’s worth noting that some beaches have bans on large shade providers. Horry County, South Carolina the home of Myrtle Beach has banned usage during peak beach season. You may use it there after Labor Day. Read more here.

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