Eat Your Water has officially launched their Darby Street store
With open arms (and a whole lotta hype) the Newcastle community welcomes local independent surf label, Eat Your Water, into their first-ever physical storefront space on Darby Street.
An overwhelmingly successful launch in the lead-up to Christmas saw crowds lingering excitedly at the shop windows from the early hours of the morning, watching with anticipation as the small team set up to open their doors for the first time. Queues wound down the street as far as Baba Yaga, as a mixture of locals and fans who’d travelled from further afield waited patiently for a first peek.
The team’s relatives spent the day driving between the warehouse and shop, collecting and delivering more stock when racks and shelves began to look depleted. They were fuelled by lollies and energy drinks and taken aback, to say the least.
His entrepreneurial flair is evident, but the owner and founder, Liam Scanlan, has created a chilled-out, relaxed work environment aligned with the brand’s effortless coolness.
He’s accompanied by Xanthe Fardell, Bon Morse, and Dale Dalton—all responsible for design, sales, packaging, distribution, and an extensive list of other duties that keep the brand afloat and growing. All in their 20s, with limited previous retail or business experience, the brand’s demonstrable popularity is truly commendable.
“It was pretty crazy, the response we got. People were outside before 7.30 in the morning dripping head-to-toe in Eat Your Water gear,” says Xanthe.
Created on a whim, Liam says he could never have foreseen this path in his life; the brand’s conception was impulsive, inspired by a lack of faith in the traditional 40-hour work week more than a specific desire to build and own a business.
“I had no background in business—I didn’t do it at school or anything and I thought I’d be a scientist. I’d just started uni in 2015 and I was sitting outside Pinky’s Convenience Store at the Callaghan campus.
“It was literally impulse, I just designed the logo and opened up an Instagram account. I’d always thought that Eat Your Water would be a good band name but nothing ever came out of that.”
The first four or five years saw Liam juggling all responsibilities on his own.
“I was trying to learn all the essentials in the early days—accounting, designing, marketing, and website building—I spent most of my nights on Google trying to figure all that out,” he says.
His perseverance and work ethic speaks for itself. Eight years on, and Eat Your Water feels like less of a brand and more of an institution, a lifestyle; it’s understated, nostalgic, and quietly rebellious. Its identity conjures images of life totally intertwined with nature and the elements. Its aesthetic celebrates the uniqueness of Australia’s native flora and fauna.
Bon, the brand’s primary designer, says “I draw a lot of inspiration from the Australian outback and the countryside, and you can see that in a lot of my designs.”
“We’ve grown up a lot as a brand so these days we’re going for a bit of a grungier aesthetic but still tying it back to the flora and fauna which our brand was kind of built off, just not as colourful and kiddie anymore,” says Liam.
In their Darby Street location, products and attire are perfectly complemented by the physical space—it’s bright, airy, and high-brow. Xanthe’s partner, Elliot Kingshott is credited with managing most of the fit-out and bringing the details together.
“There were a lot of tedious things we had to think about—a reception desk, a centre desk, custom coat-hangers … I think we’re all heaps happy with the result, but without Elliot, it’d look pretty shit, to be honest!” says Liam.
If their warm reception pre-Christmas is anything to go by, one thing is for sure: Eat Your Water is in the midst of a growth spurt, a brand to watch as they embark on a rapid and inevitable upward trajectory.
“It was interesting transitioning from online to a physical space and it was really cool to see the response our brand actually gets. There was a good collection of everybody there, people from all walks of life, which I think shows that everyone gets around our brand and enjoys it” says Liam.
As the team settles back into their store after Christmas, they’re working closely with their small, family-owned manufacturers in Indonesia and China to navigate stock levels, establish inventory systems, and nut out other areas of running a physical space that they have not previously had to consider.
While Eat Your Water continues to evolve, Novacastrians will undoubtedly be out in full force celebrating what the brand stands for—lifestyles inseparable from natural surroundings, that hinge on slowness and simplicity and that in doing so, call conventionality into question.
Be sure to head down to 167 Darby Street to check out the store for yourself, grab some locally-designed apparel, and give the team a well-deserved grin and a big pat on the back.