By Holly Tishfield
When Michele and Whitney Toomer, a mother-daughter duo from Atlantic Beach, first opened their beachy/boho inspired shop in 2016, they did not expect it to be anything more than an online operating system.
Sailors Siren, as the shop was affectionately named, began by appearing at pop-up shops in the region, everywhere from Atlantic Beach to Tallahassee, where Whit and Michele promoted their online business.
After the success of their online shop, the pair decided to open their first brick-and-mortar store in the Neptune Beaches Town Center, a little shop on the second floor of a small building on First Street.
While in Neptune Beach Sailors Siren established itself within the community, but Whit and Michele felt that their business needed more room (both literally and philosophically) to grow, so in 2020 they made the move from Neptune Beach to Jax Beach by opening a storefront on 3rd Street.
In a previous life, Whit ran the digital division of an ad agency, and now she runs the sourcing/operations side of things with Sailors Siren. Her mother, Michele, is more of the main shopper, she said. Michele works “quality control” of products, ensuring their durability and uniqueness.
“That is always our goal,” said Whit Toomer, “finding unique and local Southern American-made items.”
Sailors Siren sets itself apart from other beach boutiques by offering one-of-a-kind, handmade items carefully selected from other local business owners, such as candles, jewelry and home décor.
“We have met some fantastic people,” said Whit, speaking about the move to Jax Beach and joining the community of tight-knit and supportive business owners.
As a female-run company, Whit explained that being a business owner with her mother has been a wonderful experience.
“It is about the balance of everything. As women we are the mom, the doer, the wife – we manage so many facets of life, but to take on a business is to really take on an entire other portion of your life,” she said. “You have to love it, and you have to love the people you are doing it with.”
With the pandemic hitting last year not too long after they opened their new storefront, Sailors Siren is excited to welcome customers back with open arms. To shop with Whit and Michele and support local businesses, visit sailorssiren.com, or pop into their shop at 415 3rd South, Jacksonville Beach.