When Roo Cross moved to Mawgan Porth in Cornwall, she couldn’t find clothes she wanted to wear, so she opened her own, highly successful, emporium. Words: Lucy Jenner-Brown Photograph: adjbrown.com


We always visited Cornwall when the kids were little, usually Trevone Bay near Padstow, and the more we visited and as my husband’s love of surfing grew stronger, the draw to spend more time in Cornwall became greater. We bought our house in Mawgan Porth initially as a holiday home, letting it out most of the year while we lived in Winchester. But it became harder to leave and we knew we had to move to Cornwall permanently, which we did in 2012.

We happened upon Mawgan Porth by chance and now realise how lucky we were to find this special spot north of Newquay. It’s a wonderful community fuelled by the Merrymoor Inn, the family-run pub at the heart of the village. I love living right by the sea on this rugged coast, and watching the extremes of weather roll in from the Atlantic.

I started Roo’s Beach seven years ago. I was struggling to buy the kind of clothes that I wanted to wear here, so it seemed as good a time as any to open a shop and bring the brands I love to Cornwall. With no previous retail experience, it’s been a very steep learning curve and I’ve made numerous mistakes – but I feel like we’re winning now with a loyal and ever-growing family of followers.

Customers love our bright colours and bold prints, and relaxed styles dominated by denim and knitwear – perfect for coastal living. We sell more yellow than any other colour, and we encourage customers to mix it up a little and to be young at heart. It’s very liberating introducing people to this open-minded way of dressing, we’ve even had an 80-year-old client leaving the shop wearing dungarees and feeling truly excited about her wardrobe.

When I’m not at work I like to walk on the beach at Mawgan Porth with my dogs and I run the coast path to Bedruthan Steps or to Watergate Bay and Porth, which is fantastic headspace and stress relief for me. I do my best thinking and problem-solving when I’m running, with the sea stretching out as far as I can see.

I love the independent spirit of Newquay. There’s a real sense of entrepreneurialism and eclectic individualism born from this community of travellers, surfers and bohemians. It’s an approach that fuels my inventiveness and keeps the business real. It makes me question my decisions, too, and how they’ll be received by such a discerning audience.

Find Roo’s Beach boutique (10am-5pm) and coffee shop (10am-4pm) on Alexandra Road, Porth, Cornwall, TR7 3NB or online at roosbeach.co.uk.

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