The Admiral’s Daughters apparel business is far from just another beach-minded clothing company.
The Atlantic Beach-based startup does feature mostly online sales of nautical-themed apparel, but it also seeks to connect the women associated with Navy-based men and other military families. “Apparel & community for hearts out at sea,” is the motto on the website theadmiralsdaughters.com.
“The inspiration for everything is incredibly natural because I live by the ocean now. I lived by the ocean my entire life,” said Lindsay Amerault, an actual daughter of retired U.S. Navy admiral James Amerault.
The 33-year-old Lindsay Amerault spent much of her life as a military child moving from base to base as her father rose in the ranks of the Navy eventually retiring as a three-star vice admiral after serving as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Logistics and Fleet Readiness at the Pentagon.
While James Amerault retired in 2001, he did spend part of his service in the Navy at Mayport Naval Station from 1995 to 1996, leading in part to his decision to retire there.
Lindsay Amerault was living in Bermuda and the University of Florida graduate had a stint as a graphic artist for ESPN sports television networks and at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
But in 2014, she began to move toward the startup entrepreneur for the business of The Admiral’s Daughters. Then, in 2016, Lindsay Amerault moved to Neptune Beach to be close to her parents and develop her new business.
While The Admiral’s Daughters is a for-profit business, James Amerault — officially the CEO and owner of the business — said he wanted it to also represent a charitable side as well.
The business contributes to the Navy Safe Harbor Foundation, which supports wounded and seriously injured sailors and Coast Guard service personnel. About $1 off of every unit sold is contributed to the charity. The business also contributes to other military charities and environmental causes.
The business generated about $20,000 in annual revenues from about 3,000 shirts and hats sold in 2016, so Lindsay Amerault still has to remain a freelance graphic artist to make sufficient income.
It’s Lindsay Amerault who is the clothing designer, graphic artist, sales person and general marketer. She has a design studio on the second floor of her parent’s home, in the Atlantic Beach Country Club.
There she drums up the images embossed on shirts and hats ranging from fish to anchors to waves, which all have connections to the sea. While the designs are created by Lindsay Amerault, a local printer screens the images onto the fabric of shirts and hats.
James Amerault said while The Admiral’s Daughters is still in the evolutionary stage, it’s grown much more than he could have expected.
“My impression is it’s been more successful than I might have thought,” James Amerault said with a chuckle. “I think it’s been fabulous.
“First of all, it’s given Lindsay and I something to do together, which I don’t think many fathers and daughters have a chance to do ...,” James Amerault said. “I’m the investor and I do the logistics of mailing and anything that needs to be done in that regard.”
For Lindsay Amerault, growing The Admiral’s Daughters is really about going from an online outlet to a more tangible approach to retail. She said she’s already landed about a half-dozen stores in the Jacksonville area to sell her merchandise and, someday, there might be a brick-and-mortar store. She acknowledged she’d like to emulate Salt Life apparel and sticker company, which started in Jacksonville nearly 20 years ago and now has a restaurant and shop in Jacksonville Beach.
“It’s extremely difficult. But it’s also very fun,” Lindsay Amerault said. “It’s navigating pieces of business that you don’t foresee or I don’t have experience with. There’s reaching out to the media and trying to make sure our brand awareness is constant and creating content. ...”
One area that Lindsay Amerault hopes to tap is the surfing merchandise industry. A stand-up paddle boarder herself, she said the interests are the same between surfers and nautical themes in The Admiral’s Daughters. She’s starting to attend surfing expos and conventions.
“Essentially, what I did was started looking at other brands that were like-minded and have the same demographic and try to mimic their strategy,” Lindsay Amerault said, noting social media is being given a greater emphasis and she has a sport utility vehicle image-wrapped in the company’s logos.
The Admiral’s Daughters largely targets girls in their late teens up to women in their 40s. But she also wants to focus on the 22 military bases in Florida, hoping to attract women related to military personnel or who serve in the military themselves.
“All the moms were the anchors of these families. They taught us and encouraged us on how to create families outside of just our own,” Lindsay Amerault said. “They were the rock when we were sad and missed our parents.”
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