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When it comes to the beachy life, I'm a bit of a late bloomer. Having grown up in Southern California, it was always something I took for granted. While my classmates were skipping sixth period to surf at Strands Point, my study breaks were heavier on foreign films and vinyl collecting (yes, I was that guy).
But after spending a few long winters on the east coast, when I came back to California to settle down, 24/7 beach access was as mindblowing to me as it always should've been. Now I never miss an opportunity to get my toes in the sand, and my formerly pasty-white complexion is now bedecked with some pretty respectable tan lines – this summer, anyway.
Where I've yet to level up is in my accessories game: the most hardcore beach bums have their chairs, umbrellas, and blankets ready to go, while I'm always scraping around the bottom of my laundry pile and hoping my SPF is enough to cover me.
That's why I was so bowled over when I came across Business & Pleasure, a brand that makes the chicest beach essentials this side of the Pacific. Aside from the brand’s statement piece, which it very confidently calls "The World's Best Beach Umbrella" (spoiler alert: I just might agree), Business & Pleasure offers everything from outdoor furniture to perfectly coordinated cooler bags. The brand delivers not just on aesthetics, but just as importantly in functionality – which is no big surprise, considering the brand was founded by a couple of beach boys themselves.
Because just like my favorite movie musical Grease, B&P began as a love story on the sand.
THE HEAD AND THE HEART
For Australian co-founders Ollie Edwards and Lachlan Leckie, the beach isn't just a backdrop; it's an origin story. It's where they met their so-called "Classic Cali dream-girls," both falling head over heels on vacation (like you do), and keeping the flame alive by meeting up on either shore whenever possible.
Their answer to turning those beach days from pleasure into business, as it were, came when Leckie learned how to handmake umbrellas. After discovering a stash that were made in their home country in the '80s, he learned the trade from Australia's "last living umbrella craftsman" and eventually produced a product that felt destined to sweep the market. Combined with Edwards' years of experience in the online retail space, the two became a creative and commercial yin/yang alluded to in the brand's name, different in skillset but united in a cohesive vision.
That vision has allowed B&P to expand its product line rapidly while still maintaining a clear aesthetic of laidback, luxurious beach-inspired furniture. Since its launch in 2017, B&P has started retailing all over the world in stores like Selfridges, Harrods and Moda Operandi, while opening its first brick and mortar location in my hometown of Laguna Beach, CA. With planned expansions into beach clubs and resortwear, it's clear this duo is just getting started – and lucky for us, their products are also all available online.
With a whole array of products to choose from, allow me to spotlight a few of my absolute favorites: two flavors of umbrellas and the softest, most striking beach towels to go along with them.
ELLA, ELLA, EY EY EY…
First things first: let's talk colorways. While the Antique White beach set is the epitome of timeless, and the '70s Cinque Panels are retro in the best way, it's the Check collection that really captured my heart. Available in Vintage Blue, Vintage Gold, Vintage Green or Dusty Pink, these umbrellas ($199, on sale from $299) have real, sophisticated wow factor.
The checkered pattern brings personality in spades, and is supported by a rock-solid framework: the pole isn't just made from reclaimed timber wood, its hinge allows for 180 degrees of motion. Yes, you read that correctly. No more moving your umbrella around to stay out of the sun; this angular adjustment can move your patch of shade anywhere you like.
The adorable, scallop edge canopy is also water- and UV-resistant, blocking out 98% of rays and providing UPF protection of 50+. And as one of the brand’s Premium umbrellas, it has a span of 6 feet and a height of 7 feet, meaning it's wide enough to shade multiple pals of yours and strong enough to hold up to any gusts of wind. But with a set-up time of 1 minute, it's as easy-breezy a companion as you could ask for on your day off.
We were so smitten with the beach umbrellas that we turned our attention to the more permanent variety for our new backyard – the Market Umbrella collection. Having already graced some of the most chic boutique hotel pool decks across the states, these gorgeous umbrellas are a stunning shade addition for your home porch, pool, or patio.
We were taken by the bold ‘Bottle Green’ colorway – matching our lush oasis backyard vibe. But it was the inner pattern that had us truly smitten – the exact same tile design as the Hotel San Cristobal where we had recently wed in Todos Santos. Talk about kismet! We had to have it.
The Market Umbrella features 8 bamboo ribs combined with alloy steel connectors and a substantial rope pulley system for easy opening and closing; it’s a well crafted and sturdy umbrella that oozes quality. We combined it with the 55 lbs White Classic Base to complete the look and ensure our umbrella wasn’t going anywhere even in windy conditions.
Still, lounging under even the best umbrella just isn't the same without a comfortable towel. Which brings us to…
TIME TO TOWEL DRY
Let's be real: color coordination is the way to go here. Keeping within the Check collection, B&P offers towels in the same exact colors and styles – not to mention a Beach Bag, Cooler and Tote to go along with it. The Vintage Gold Check Towel ($59, on sale from $79) is my idea of heaven, made from 100% cotton that weighs in at 600 grams per square meter. That's the kind of heft that makes toweling off feel like a trip to the spa, while soaking up water fast and drying even faster. And at 34" by 66", this towel is indulgently big – but, crucially, can be washed and dried with no fussy instructions.
With both the towels and the umbrellas marked down significantly now for summer sales, there's never been a better time to buy B&P. Even if you're landlocked and just want to bring some breezy fun to your yard days and picnic hangs, Business & Pleasure delivers the one-two punch of style and functionality you need in outdoor furniture. With that showstopper umbrella standing out as just the tip of the iceberg, there's a whole world of laidback luxury right at your fingertips.
5 MORE REASONS TO MIX BUSINESS & PLEASURE:
1. Cash isn't always king – you can also pay for your B&P goods with the brand’s very own Pleasure Points, a rewards system that you rack up every time you purchase.
2. For when matching is the #1 priority, B&P makes it easy to shop by color, organizing its product lines into styles as specific as Vintage Yellow Stripe and crimson-colored Le Sirenuse.
3. Think you know what a beach chair looks like? Think bigger. B&P sells tommy chairs, sling chairs, 2-piece chairs and directors chairs – the world is your recliner.
4. If you really want to throw down, grab yourself one of these gorgeous palm yachts, full-size picnic boats available in equally gorgeous pink and sage.
5. We're far from the only fans singing B&P’s praises: Business & Pleasure has been featured in outlets like Architectural Digest, Goop, Martha Stewart Living and Oprah's O Magazine.