When you drive through Bodden Town, you’ll see a signpost beside the road, indicating that you’ve found So-Chlo – a local surf wear company with big ambitions. Designed to perfectly fit the island landscape, this rustic, funky boutique features a sandy floor, with hangers and shelves displaying quality apparel, Havaianas flip-flops, Sun Bum sunscreen, and a fridge stocked with Red Bull.
Owner Richie Franks has created a brand that reaches beyond the Cayman Islands market, as he’s already offering worldwide distribution. It is a completely local product, printed onto soft, strong material made to last, feel great, and look fantastic.
“My background in outdoor sports was one of the main inspirations for the So-Chlo brand,” says Franks, “as well as wanting to create a genuine, island surf wear company. It’s perfect lifestyle apparel, for keeping cool and looking effortlessly stylish [laughs].”
The So-Chlo name
So what does So-Chlo stand for? It’s derived from “Sodium Chloride,” which happens to be in the seawater all around us, and is therefore a fitting name for gear designed and produced in the islands. In keeping with this nod to the local environment, Franks has ensured that the packaging for international orders is completely biodegradable, which he believes is a first in the industry, saying, “As far as I know, we are the only global surf wear brand to ship all our products in biodegradable packaging.”
Customers will receive an attractive box, printed by So-Chlo in Cayman, and inside they’ll find their order in a biodegradable protective bag, wrapped in tissue paper.
“Not only did I want the packaging to be eco-friendly,” says Franks, “I also wanted it to make an impression. Quality and work goes into our clothes, so why shouldn’t our packaging be held to the same standards? It makes receiving our products that much more of a great experience for our customers.”
Concept and designs
As a grass-roots brand, part of the core philosophy of So-Chlo is to produce as much as they can in-house. They make their own hangtags, and screen print by hand. “So much of the essence of brands has been lost with outsourcing manufacturing and making a profit, that people pushed aside quality and forgot about their customers,” says Franks. “By keeping production in-house as much as we can, we can control the quality, stay true to our roots and are able to print fresh designs as soon as they are ready.”
The So-Chlo shirts come in a variety of colors, in slim, flattering cuts for both men and women. There are also hoodies for the cooler temperatures, again, sporting the famous So-Chlo logo.
The plan is to start adding their own rash guards and board shorts to inventory in the near future, along with other products down the line.
As part of their approach, So-Chlo also supports young athletes. “The idea is to support talent and help them get the exposure they need to become a success in their chosen sports,” says Franks. “Hopefully, as the brand grows, we will be able to do even more to help and support our team riders.”
The So-Chlo shop has got a quirky, quintessentially island vibe, stocking everything you need to stay cool and look cool on the beach. Just look for the signpost as you make your way through the charming district of Bodden Town. It points to a true local original that will soon become a worldwide name.
So-Chlo Ladies Tees are now available at The Cabana-A Lilly Pulitzer Signature in Camana Bay!
The So-Chlo shop is located in the eastern end of Bodden Town, next to Chester’s Fish Fry.
Open Mon-Sat, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tel: 938-3940
Check out the website at so-chlo.com and the Facebook page under So-Chlo.