St. Ives is integral to the Hager-vor story. It’s where we have our first and, at the moment, only store but the town ran through our brand DNA before a brick-and-mortar store was even a consideration.
Similar to Godrevy in our previous blog post, I have a lot of family connections to St. Ives and ended up spending a lot of my childhood down there. I have memories of going down to the Clotworthy’s store, owned by my family, and wanting nothing more than to be over on Porthmeor beach surfing. I’d sit and look out of the door onto Wharf Road. The one that runs right along the harbour. I’d catch the occasional glimpse of someone running past with their wetsuit on, their surfboard in hand and want nothing more than to be joining them.
Let’s rewind a little bit. Clotworthy’s is something I’ve mentioned a lot in the past but I’ve never given a lot of blog space to. That’s coming in the future, I promise. But, for now, I’ll give you a brief overview. It’s a group of clothing stores that has been run by my family for 100 years and is still going strong. It was the first store to stock Hager-vor back in 1999 when the brand first started and the reception we received was incredible. It was clear St. Ives liked what we were doing as a brand and we wanted to keep riding that momentum.
St. Ives has a vibe to it that’s unlike any other Cornish town. There’s a real sense of an artistic community there — likely a by-product of it being a historical artists retreat — and I think people just get ‘it.’ They understand the thoughts and the visions behind the product. St. Ives itself is filled with independent stores — those ones where the people working are so ingrained into the store/brand itself and speak with passion. This has always resonated with us and it’s something that we try and instil in our store every day.
We love how St. Ives is almost like a little island cropping out of Cornwall. On one side you have the harbour and Porthminster beach and then a quick walk through town and you’re on Porthmeor looking out in a different direction. The narrow streets really reinforce how small the town is — within 10 minutes you can be on the other side of town — but you’ll inevitably be caught up a handful of times to stop and appreciate what’s going on around you.
One of our earliest Hager-vor experiences of St. Ives and the surrounding areas was sponsoring the Penwith lifeguards who operate from Godrevy on the north coast around to Perranuthnoe just past Marazion. Seeing the lifeguards wearing the Hager-vor name at all the spots I’ve frequented throughout my life was a great feeling.
Choosing St. Ives as the location for our first store was a no-brainer. We’d already established a foothold in the town but it was also a location that we felt a personal draw to. It took us until 2017 to open our own brick-and-mortar store, but we haven’t looked back since.
If you ever find yourself in St. Ives, be sure to pop in to the store. We love meeting the Hager-vor family and hearing your stories of Cornwall and the brand.