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Dana Point News - Local newspaper for Dana Point, California
Published May 1, 2014

Beach-Inspired Bedding Business Finds A Home

Story and Photos by Sara Gold, Contributing Writer

Online shopping wasn't big in 1999, but that didn't stop Doug Smith from launching a Web-based bedding and home-decor business. Fifteen years later, Dean Miller Surf Bedding is thriving, and its first storefront opened in March in Dana , Smith's hometown.

The company's name was inspired by the Hawaiian legend of Dean Miller, an adventurer who supposedly bathed in waterfalls, hunted boars and slept on a bed of flowers. The showroom, located above Cycleogical, and Dana Point Grooming in the Hennessey's Tavern plaza, gives visitors a taste of the business's beach and Hawaii themed offerings, which include comforters, duvets, rugs, curtains, and pillows. "It's not an office," Smith said. "I was looking for a smaller place that's quirky and unique, like our brand."

The Beginning of Beach Beddings

Smith said the idea for Dean Miller Surf Bedding came when he was 27 and attending a friend's party in Newport Beach. "I saw some Hawaiian shirts laid out on a bed, and the idea just clicked," said Smith, now 42. "I wanted to do something that had never been done before and just kind of went for it." Smith, who had recently earned his MBA from Chapman University, initially hired sewing contractors to create the orders. With grassroots marketing and a $10,000 startup fund, Smith was able to spread awareness of his brand, and Laguna Beach's Hobie surf shop became the first retailer to sell Dean Miller products. It wasn't long before the company's increasing sales required Smith to move the "cut and sew" operation to a small manufacturing site in Santa Ana. He moved to a larger spaces before finding his current 2,500-square-foot facility in Santa Ana five years ago. Smith continued commuting daily to Santa Ana even after he and his wife moved to Dana Point 10 years ago. New he is grateful for his two-minute commute to the Dana Point showroom, through he visits the Santa Ana site about twice weekly.
"I love Dana Point because of the small-town feel, the beach and the people," Smith said. He also enjoys surfing at Strand and Salt Creek beaches.

What's for Sale, Where to Buy

Dean Miller Surf Bedding offers more than 100 bed and decor items, with comforters the most popular, Smith said. Products also can be custom made, he said, and all orders are completed with-in a week. "I like the design aspect of creating fun, unique products," Smith said. "I come up with the concept, and then other people bring it to life." Smith hires artists from California and Hawaii to create the fabric designs. Prices are $20 to $30 for a pillows and cushions, $40 to $50 for curtains and rugs, and $100 to $150 for comforter sets.
"People have always had a love the beach," Smith said. "With Dean Miller I want to bring a little of that 'aloha' indoors."