News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Every year the Frontier Awards celebrate the very best of innovation, creativity and excellence within the global travel retail sector. The 2021 winners were announced in a live ceremony in Cannes on October 27th, 2021.
Against extremely strong competition from six other leading brand entries including Bahrain Duty Free, CTC-ARI, Cyprus Duty Free, GMR Kannur Duty Free Services and the DFS Samarataine Paris Pont-Neuf store, who were highly commended, The Somers Isles Trading Company Ltd won the Best New Store Award for its’ Love Bermuda entry.
Winning in this category on a worldwide stage is all the more remarkable given that the runner up to Somers Isles was Samarataine Paris Pont-Neuf by DFS. Owned by LVMH and located in the heart of Paris, the 20,000 m2 store cost over $200MM to develop and was opened by President Macron earlier this year.
The Somers Isles Trading Company was awarded the retail contract in the new state-of-the art passenger terminal at the LF Wade International airport in Bermuda which opened in December 2020. The Somers Isles Trading Company was founded and developed by Bermuda resident, CEO and entrepreneurial owner, Rhona Sutton.
Ms Sutton’s vision was to set a new standard in airport retail and to create a truly outstanding customer experience. Love Bermuda stores celebrate the colour, vibrancy and life of Bermuda in a space where the customer experience is created through a welcoming environment, lovingly designed products, friendly people and excellent service. The Love Bermuda environment reflects the beauty and ‘sense of place’ of Bermuda where all senses are stimulated, including sight, sound, taste and smell.
Somers Isles researched the customer profile in detail and created a carefully curated mix of products designed to appeal to visitors and local Bermudians equally. In addition to the brand story, each Love Bermuda product has its own story to tell and is designed to celebrate the history and culture of the island. An enticing range of gifts and treats for women, men and children was created with uncompromising attention to detail. A bespoke champagne, wine and spirits range was hand picked by Somers Isles’ in-house connoisseur, while a carefully edited range of International brands was selected to surprise and inspire customers and reflect the ethos to offer “brands we love, brands with stories and brands with purpose.”
Somers Isles and Love Bermuda are proud to showcase the ranges of many local Bermudian brand owners and artisans, several of whom have never had a presence at the airport. Their stories are told in the iconic Moongate (the symbol of good fortune and love) created to provide a prominent feature for their brands.
Ms. Sutton’s talented design and product development teams in London and New York work closely with a customer focussed Bermuda based team to support the realisation of the vision.
While the onset of COVID-19 significantly impacted the numbers of flights and passengers, customer response to Love Bermuda shops and product ranges has been extremely positive. The key measure of conversion (numbers of customers buying) and average spend per customer have significantly exceeded expectations and industry benchmarks.
Rhona Sutton, Founder & CEO of The Somers Isles Trading Company Limited says: “Our vision was to set a new standard in airport retail by offering an elevated, curated and memorable experience designed for travellers to and from the beautiful island of Bermuda. The Love Bermuda brand was developed especially for Bermuda and to blend the best of the local brands and artisan creativity.
I am delighted that we have won this incredible award so soon after opening our stores in December 2020. To do so against such strong competition especially the LVMH owned DFS Samarataine store in Paris is really quite overwhelming. I’m sure that the worldwide recognition from our win will contribute to raising the profile of Bermuda as a wonderful travel destination. I am delighted that in being recognised with this award, I am also able to thank Skyport for the opportunity and for believing in us and the capability of our teams in Bermuda, London and New York to deliver on our vision.
As an entrepreneur and business founder, I’m thrilled to collaborate with so many Bermudian business owners and to champion the locally designed and produced brands. Through this exciting and challenging project, I’ve learnt more than ever the importance of believing in our vision and our ability to deliver. Knowing that I have a supportive and committed team and brand partners and businesses both in Bermuda and Internationally is vital to me. I am extremely grateful and want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who are on this journey with us, especially those who have been on board from the beginning”.
Aaron Adderley, Skyport President says: “We selected The Somers Isles Trading Company as our retail concessionaire for Bermuda’s new terminal because of the bespoke and innovative proposal created by Rhona Sutton and her team. We were thrilled to open the retail and duty free shops almost a year ago as they offer our passengers luxurious, quality items and many unique options from Bermudian artisans. This award is well deserved and we could not be happier for the Somers Isles Trading Company team. Love Bermuda truly takes the concept of Travel Retail to a new level.”