Daily Pilot Newspaper - Local paper for Newport Beach & Costa Mesa, California.
They are bedding on success.
For The Guys
Newport Beach residents Doug C. Smith, 28, and Edward McLean, 27, are just two surfers trying to make a living. They never thought they would do it be selling bedding, though.
But six months ago, the former neighbors founded Dean Miller Hawaiian Island Prints, a company that specializes in Hawaiian-style comforters and pillowcases.
“The whole company started as us trying to make bedding for ourselves,” Smith said. “You try to find bedding for guys and there’s nothing out there. You have two choices: solids or geometrical patterns.”
Nearly three years ago, McLean, who is an avid surfer, wanted Hawaiian-style bedding. He went to a fabric store, pinned some stuff together and took it to a dry cleaners to get it sewed up. Friends and visitors loved his creations. But McLean, who was working as a corporate trainer for bartenders and traveling a lot, just didn’t have the time to pursue the business.
That’s where Smith came in.
Yin and Yang
Smith and McLean had been neighbors in Newport Beach five years ago. They maintained their friendship, which was largely fueled by their mutual interest in surfing and other water activities.
McLean describes himself as the “ideas” end of the partnership. Smith, on the other hand, is the one that makes things happen. “It’s a yin-yang kind of thing,” Smith said.
One class away from his MBA at Chapman University, Smith said he’s always intended to go into business on his own. He describes it as an “entrepreneurial spirit,” but others might call it a “problem with authority,” Smith jokes.
They launched the company in January and began marketing their product two months ago. The bedding comes in 14 different brightly colored designs and varying patterns of surfboards, Hawaiian and Polynesian motifs and other symbols of surf culture.
Smith and McLean, of course, use their own product at home. Smith prefers blue dancing hula girls to McLean’s more wholesome red surfboards. Both of these patterns are limited edition, a unique characteristic of the business.
Who Is Dean Miller?
Smith hit on the name Dean Miller while surfing in Kauai. Locals there told them of the Hawaiian legend. And although McLean and Smith repeat the legend often, they won’t attest to its truth or validity, they said.
Miller, it was rumored, lived in the majestic beauty of Kauai’s rain forest. He hunted wild boar, fished the awesome ocean, surfed the mighty waves and bathed in breathtaking waterfalls.