Bridgehampton boutique Blue One has made a name for itself with its attention to customer service and unique offerings unavailable anywhere else on the East End. The owners and real life couple Crystal and Jarret Willis took a break from their busy schedules to tell THE DAILY SUMMER how they make it work.
How are things going with the business?
Crystal Willis: It’s crazy. We were just saying we’re running around with our heads chopped off. All of a
sudden the store is booming. People are coming in and want to talk and shop.
Jarret Willis: I would say the Hamptons is overwhelmed at this point in the best way. Despite the fact that Europe is open, most if not all our clients are staying here this summer. The people who would travel to Europe, which is a bigger percentage than you would think, are all here. A lot of people doubled down during COVID in their estates here.
They sold their New York apartment or extended the size of their footprint in the Hamptons. It’s great for
the Hamptons as a whole! It will be the busiest the Hamptons has been in decades. Maybe ever.
What is the Blue One aesthetic? What will customers find in your world?
Jarret: Our business model was being the anti–department store. You’re going to have the polar
opposite experience of what you’d find walking into a department store. It’s inviting. It’s about the brands
you aren’t going to find anywhere else. It’s as if you were walking into our home. We treat you with the
same genuine kindness and respect. That’s a big one. Everyone, no matter what shape or size, is treated
equally. I spoke to someone yesterday who was on the verge of tears with how well she was treated here and
how poorly she’s been treated in other establishments.
Crystal: We get that a lot. Customers have said they go into stores and people don’t pay attention.
Jarret: It’s not something we have to think about doing. It’s just who we are.
Crystal: It’s party central in here! You come in here on a Saturday and people are hanging out. We’re all
laughing, having conversations. It’s a carefully curated store on both the men’s and women’s sides. We’ve
gotten to know our clients. People want new and fresh again. People want to get dressed again!
Being a small business owner can be difficult. What are the challenges?
Crystal: The employee situation! Having the right employees. We were scrambling. We’re in a
community where there’s not a huge pool of people to hire. It’s not like the city where you have so many
people. We want to make sure our clients are being taken care of when we’re not there. It’s not like a
summer job where you sit behind a desk all day. We interact with every single customer that comes in.
What are the perks?
Crystal: Being able to take off when we want! We don’t have anybody to answer to. We have each other! But that’s about it. Jarret: It also gives you creative control, which is nice.
Crystal: It’s rewarding! What’s your working dynamic like? Jarret: I listen to what she says! Like I do in personal life. As long as you know she’s in charge, any marriage works. Crystal: You pick your battles.
Jarret: I don’t say this a lot, but I think we do a good job of respecting each other and listening to each other. There are certain strengths that I have and certain weaknesses. We can identify what they are after two decades together.
Crystal: And knowing what each other is good at! We’re a team for 21 years. We feed off of each other because in the end, we have the same goal. Even our employees who started this year have said it’s amazing how we interact with our clients. We take it for granted because that’s who we are, but it’s interesting to see other people sit back and comment on what a team we are.
Do you share a similar sensibility when it comes to style?
Jarret: I think so! I think that’s the only way something like this works.
Crystal: We push each other when we buy. It was a difficult year to buy because we couldn’t go to the trade shows. We missed it. Hopefully this year we’ll get back to the city and do the buying because the touching and feeling part of it is so important. We’ve been able to pair up with some cool brands this year that are just starting out that are more focused on sustainability.
What are some of the new brands you’re working with? |
Lace, Demarson jewelry, Vanita Rosa, Noam, Marissa Webb, Rose Carmine, Oceanus Swimwear, and men’s lines from Lo.White and Nifty Genius.
Jarret: We’re also doing some pretty cool collaborations. We’re doing one with Del Toro, which is relaunching its brand. We’re doing something unique and special with them.
Crystal: I’ve been working on a mommy and me collection with [children’s brand] Sammy + Nat. I always buy stuff for [son] Jacobi from them, and I thought it would be so cute to do a collection that’s only for the Hamptons. It’s a custom Hamptons print that we’ll do other things with. We just put it on the floor and people are freaking out. It’s a 10-piece collection, including pajamas for moms and pajamas and daywear for babies and children. I’m doing this with Samantha Benson of Sammy + Nat; we’re both female-run businesses. A client brought me a piece of Sammy + Nat clothing and I posted Jacobi in his outfit. Samantha commented and I told her we had a store and we’d love to do a collaboration. That’s how it started!
You’re also doing some trunk shows this summer.
Crystal: We have this nice lawn in front of the store, so we’re going to set up out there. We’re going to welcome Lady Lancaster, Kimberly Taylor, Hayley Style, M. Cohen jewelry, Designer Revival, and Favorite Daughter. Come to our great lawn and shop!
Can customers still make private appointments with you?
Crystal: We’re still doing that and curbside. We even drop things off on the way home! We were always doing it, but we did it a lot more during the pandemic.
Is your website still on fire?
Crystal: Yes! People found us more during the pandemic. We also carry designers you don’t see everywhere. When people would google certain designers we carry, they’d find us, which is great. Our website business has soared through this. We have repeat customers who live in Texas and Australia.
Jarret, what are you doing in real estate?
Jarret: I have taken on a new role at Bespoke Real Estate as head of VIP relations for Bespoke’s Parallel Program. In this full-time position, I’m heading the growth of a new unprecedented division of Bespoke’s parent company, an invite-only platform tailored for top-tier professionals. Bespoke Parallel secures a best-in-class experience for our partners’ networks. With ongoing entitlements and referral compensation that exceeds the industry standard, our value proposition to our Parallel Partners is unique; we offer a company-wide approach that mitigates the pitfalls professionals typically encounter when referring business to a single agent. We have offices in the Hamptons, Miami, Palm Beach, and NYC. We are without question the leader in residential luxury. Bespoke only takes listings of $10,000,000 and above. This year, we’ve already eclipsed last year’s sales total of $1,200,000,000. I can be reached at email@example.com.
How has parenthood changed your lives?
Jarret: It sounds corny, but our son has completed our lives. It wasn’t planned. It was the best surprise. Every day we love him more. We’ve fallen more in love through this process. It’s been magical. Crystal: It gives life a purpose. We thought work was everything because we’ve worked so hard our entire lives. To have this happen is crazy. Everyone said I was going to love it, now I get it. We feel complete now.