“Each and every stop throughout my journey has led me to this point in life,” said Caitlin Peck, Le Surf Bungalow’s founder and graphic designer. “I can’t help but believe it was all perfectly meant to be.”
The brand itself encompasses the simple, serene, and joyful love of the beach. With each crewneck, t-shirt, and tank embodying the carefree and simple moments of life. Caitlin’s designs range from positive logos to sketches of people in nature or the water, where her effort is to just spread a little more happiness in the world.
Caitlin currently resides in Ocean City, where she’s developing her brand while being a mom to two young boys and working at 7th Street Surf Shop. Working at 7th Street has allowed Caitlin’s workshop and creativity to expand, but there were steps in her career that she will always accredit her success to starting when she was a kid.
Inspiration landed right in Caitlin’s lap at a very young age.
“A lot of my interest in art came from my grandfather and father. Woodworking and making anything by hand were always passions of theirs. My grandfather built his house from the ground up and was constantly making art in his workshop, whereas my father specialized in carving and 3-D designs,” said Caitlin. “Although I always had a love for artistry, being around them was encouraging and eye-opening.”
In addition to the people in her family who shaped her love for art, Caitlin was always in awe of other artists and the professional field.
“I’ve really taken a liking to work of specific surf artists,” said Caitlin. “Julie Goldstein, who creates beautiful work of women on the water, and Andy Davis, whose style is more cartoonish. The community itself is extremely inspiring.”
Creativity being instinctual, Caitlin always followed the path of design. Throughout high school, art classes were her main source of enjoyment. So much so, that she decided to further her education at Rowan University, studying fashion design and marketing.
Following her years of schooling, Caitlin began to transition into the retail side of design, where she worked at a small skate, surf, and snow shop in Haddonfield called The Powder Room.
“Learning from the owner of the store, I would watch as each piece of clothing was cut and sewed. Overtime, I was able to start making clothes of my own,” said Caitlin. “When I heard that there were plans to close the business, my husband Calvin and I immediately jumped to take over. We owned The Powder Room for about four to five years. Unfortunately, the economy left us paying to simply keep the store afloat, and it was no longer profitable. I knew it was time to move on and Ocean City seemed like the perfect place to do so.”
Though she grew up going to LBI, Caitlin spent numerous summers in Ocean City and knew the area very well. After closing The Powder Room, she found work at the 7th Street Surf Shop, designing and printing her very own apparel in the upstairs workshop, and her husband continued his Ocean City Beach Patrol lifeguarding career.
Although there was incentive for Caitlin and Calvin to create a new home in Ocean City, the real influence came when thinking of the life they wanted to give their sons, Cooper and Waverly.
“Deciding to raise our children in this town was one of the best decisions we have ever made,” said Caitlin. “Everyone is always looking out for one another here, and it really is such an amazing community.”
For Caitlin, the most challenging, yet rewarding transition of them all was becoming a mother.
“After having my first son Cooper and being a mom for the first time, I began to lose my own sense of identity. Everything is so unknown, and all you care about is doing everything right for your child, but in the midst of it all, you forget to give yourself time and grace,” said Caitlin. “All my life I have struggled with anxiety, saying yes too often, and spreading myself a little too thin. This is why I started my Instagram page @thelittlebungalow. It is a mixture of DIY projects, art and crafts, and my family. The small outlet not only kept me sane, but also allowed me to take time for myself. It brought me back to me.”
Caitlin also writes a craft column inspired by her @thelittlebungalow page for Ocean City Magazine each month.
Alongside of her personal page, Caitlin continues to produce apparel for 7th Street Surf Shop and for Le Surf Bungalow. Seventh Street owner Larry Friedel remains one of her biggest supporters when it comes to following her dreams. You can find Le Surf Bungalow apparel at 7th Street.
Le Surf Bungalow is intended to inspire people, connecting them to the sea and surfing, but also to make them smile.
“There are moments when I create something where the giddiness and excitement is such a feeling; it makes me want to pass that onto others,” said Caitlin.
Working to be the best mother, wife, and entrepreneur; Caitlin remains busier than ever, but has never been more at peace with what her life has grown into.
“I love my job and the people I work with so much. I make stuff and create for me, and I really have reached that point in my life where I am genuinely content,” said Caitlin. “I will always want to grow the brand, but at the end of the day I just want my family to be happy and healthy.”
Find this and more in the September/October issue of OC mag