Cool coastal style & wildlife conservation: Bayview Prep

When we ran across a coastal clothing company called Bayview Prep, something definitely caught our eye. The cool baseball caps pictured on their Facebook page had an unusual, some might say rare bird on the logo. It's a roseate spoonbill, in fact, jauntily wearing a bowtie! Intrigued, the Island Runaways wanted to know more. Why the spoonbill, which is a beautiful Florida waterbird with pale pink coloration and a large rounded bill? Why the name Bayview? What, in other words, is their beach-inspired clothing all about? And most important of all, how do we get our hands on one of their adorable t-shirts?

(An awesome t-shirt with the spoonbill logo. Photo courtesy of Bayview Prep.)

It turns out that Bayview Prep designs and produces fantastic t-shirts, baseball caps, and accessories out of their headquarters in St. Pete, Florida. ("Bayview" refers to Tampa Bay, which is, coincidentally where one of the Island Runaways -- Laura -- hails from.) What truly impressed us was their goal to make a concrete contribution to wildlife conservation in the Sunshine State. Fortunately, CEO and co-founder of Bayview Prep Robert DeKorte kindly took some time to tell us more about this intriguing venture and to share photos of some of their best-sellers...

Island Runaways: So, first of all, I love your logo. It's so original. How on earth did you decide on the roseate spoonbill, instead of, say, another bird?

(The roseate spoonbill logo. Image courtesy of Bayview Prep.)

Robert Dekorte/Bayview Prep: Bayview Prep is a coastal style clothing company and the Roseate Spoonbill is a coastal wading bird which is indigenous to Pinellas County. Also, the roseate spoonbill is on the water tower in my hometown of Seminole, Florida. It is the largest and highest bird up on the water tower, so naturally, growing up and looking at the water tower every day to and from school, that bird in particular always kind of caught my eye.

The species population is stable in Pinellas county, but in the Everglades and other wetland regions throughout Florida, the species has been on a slow yet steady decline for the past few years now. This is where my company and I need to step up. Bayview Prep is working on 9 current and future projects with the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. These projects typically range anywhere from 1 to 5 years in length, with 3 continuous projects spanning the entire life of the donation tenure.

(A roseate spoonbill. Photo by Holmes Palacios, Flickr.)

Island Runaways: That's really admirable. So, Bayview is a "philanthropy clothing company." What inspired you to go that direction, and donate a percentage of your profits?

(The coastal style of Bayview Prep. Photo courtesy of Bayview Prep.)

Robert DeKorte/Bayview Prep: I have always believed in giving back; that includes animals as well as people. I have also always been fully aware of the past and current problems facing the well-being of the planet and its ecosystems. Ever since I can remember, one of my main goals in life has been to give back to an environment that has been mistreated and neglected for far too long. With the classification of the roseate spoonbill species being “imperiled," I just naturally saw it as an opportunity to funnel some of the money I am bringing in back into the environment.

(The baseball cap with the imperiled spoonbill. Photo courtesy of Bayview Prep.)

Island Runaways: Where do you manufacture these terrific items? Robert DeKorte/Bayview Prep: We buy our garments direct from a U.S. based clothing mill that operates mainly in the northeastern part of the country. (However, this manufacturer sources their clothing from Mexico.) Having said that, all the rest of our production work is done solely here in the USA. The designing and screen-printing for the shirts is done locally in Orlando, Florida and throughout Pinellas County and all other products we offer are completely manufactured in the US. We believe in keeping almost all of our work here in the United States, and would love to eventually be able to say that all production is completed here in the USA.

(Our kind of island style. Photo courtesy of Bayview Prep.)

Island Runaways: That's great that you're doing so much locally. I also see you're based in St. Pete, just across the bay from my own hometown, Tampa. Some of our readers probably don't realize there are some fantastic islands in this part of Florida. Can you name a few of Bayview Prep's favorite islands and beaches in the area?

Bayview Prep: There is basically one big barrier island spanning the entire length of Pinellas County. This barrier island is home to places like Honey Moon Island, Clearwater Beach, John’s Pass, Treasure Island, Pass-A-Grille and goes all the way down to Egmont Key. The barrier island is home to some of the best beaches in the entire state, which frequent many annual top 10 nation-wide beach lists. My personal favorites along the barrier island include Clearwater, Madeira and St. Pete Beaches and each beach has it’s own unique vibe and offers many different perks. Clearwater has some of the cleanest beaches around, and Shephard’s Beach Resort offers some of great bars and is always a fun time.

(Pass-A-Grille Beach. Photo by psyberartist, Flickr.)

However, St. Pete beach will always be my favorite solely because of the memories I have formed there with my friends and family. Whether it was days spent at Upham Beach or on the sand behind the Don Cesar, cruising around Treasure Island, or nights spent at the Sloppy Pelican (a favorite bar of mine) I'll always remember those times. The days I've spent on St. Pete Beach with friends and family will always be some of the most memorable and fulfilling.

Island Runaways: Robert, thanks so much for taking the time to tell us about Bayview Prep. Congratulations on founding this company. It's inspirational, the kind of giving back you're doing. I know that your t's and baseball caps will really appeal to many of our Island Runaways friends.

Be sure to check out Bayview Prep's latest styles on their website. You can also follow their tweets on Twitter, see their pics on Instagram, and check out their Pins on Pinterest. Oh, and last but not least, you can follow them like we do on Facebook!


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