At New Dune Market, find ethical imports, carefully curated

GLOBAL GOODS: Shop owner Emily Raleigh researches the origin of every product she sells, whether it’s a handcrafted candle holder from Kenya or a ceramic coffee dripper from Japan. Find something to accentuate a culturally rich life. (Photo taken by Jack Reynolds)

Beach Haven has a new retail store that looks more like a museum than a boutique. Just as an art curator carefully selects paintings for an exhibition, Emily Raleigh, owner of The Dune Market, researches the origin of every product she sells. And, like paintings in a museum, many products are displayed alongside blurb explaining the story, whether it’s a handcrafted candle holder from Kenya or a ceramic coffee dripper from Japan.

The brand’s slogan, “Thoughtful Products for Coastal Living”, reflects Raleigh’s emphasis on the origin of its products.

Once Raleigh found the storefront, she focused on finding products. She buys based on specific core values ​​to ensure products are ethically sourced. She therefore often speaks to brands to better understand their production process.

When deciding on a name for her brand, Raleigh opted for “The Dune Market” because, she said, the sand dunes embody the tranquility of LBI. The word “market” was important to the name of the store, as it communicates a multi-faceted market containing several different self-contained sections. His has one for home decor that features plenty of vintage items, one for wellness products, and a bookstore for organized beach reads.

Raleigh had a grand opening on Memorial Day weekend after being open for limited hours on the weekend to keep the store running smoothly. She hopes all types of customers can find something to add to their home or lifestyle.

So far, many Raleigh customers have heard of her through her videos on TikTok, where she documented the journey of building her store and brand.

“Over 50% of the people who come through our doors are from TikTok. It’s amazing and I’m so grateful for that,” Raleigh said. “I wasn’t doing it as a marketing gimmick. I was just doing it for fun.

Whether a customer is a follower or just quits, the amount of thought that has gone into every aspect of the market is evident from the first step inside. In the fall, Raleigh said it plans to open an online marketplace so people around the world can access its selection of products that do good for others.

“You can buy things that will serve a very good purpose in your home or in your life, but also have a very positive impact on others,” she said.

The Dune Market is located near the home of Raleigh, who grew up in Brant Beach. Her family began living on LBI year-round when she was 14. She attended school in Toms River while involved in swimming, sailing, surfing and all the other joys an LBI childhood has to offer.

“There’s nothing like growing up here, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to do that,” Raleigh said. “It shaped my life a lot.”

Although Raleigh loved the simple life she and her family led on LBI, she was always enamored of city life, so she decided to attend Fordham University in New York.

“I wanted to be where things were happening and decisions were being made, and there’s nothing like New York for that,” she said.

Raleigh studied Marketing, Communications and Media Management, and Digital Design. As a student at Fordham Business School, she took many courses that not only prepared her to handle the technical side of running a business, but also taught her how to create emotion and meaning behind a brand.

While at Fordham, Raleigh ran her first business, Spire and Co., an inspirational media company for young women, which she started when she was a senior in high school. This business grew much faster than Raleigh had anticipated, and although it is no longer in business today, it taught him many invaluable lessons about running a business.

“It was a crash course in business. I learned so much. I also learned a lot from my mistakes, and I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t doing this, that’s for sure,” Raleigh said.

After graduating from Fordham in 2016, Raleigh moved to Boston, where she worked in brand development while running her business. She then moved to Hoboken a year and a half later and continued to work and run Spire and Co. out of New York. At the start of the pandemic, Raleigh and her husband decided to return to LBI to stay with her parents and then make it permanent.

“We got here, and we were sitting on the beach and we just looked at each other and said, ‘Why would we leave? ‘” she said.

When Raleigh decided to return to LBI, she also began to consider the idea of ​​creating her own brand of coastal living on the island – something she had thought about for much of her life. Once she started discussing the idea with her family, she decided to quit her job to commit to building her brand in July 2021.

Raleigh began looking for a location for her brick-and-mortar store and followed Amy Haeberlein, the owner of Birdy’s Café and Artisan Market in Harvey Cedars, to learn the ins and outs of running a business on LBI. Raleigh said Beach Haven is the perfect location because there is a large community among shop owners and the area also receives a lot of foot traffic.

—Erin Flaherty

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