WORDS Sílvia Carvalho d’Almeida PHOTOGRAPHY João Rafael (Parte o côco)
In 2019, Bruno Almeida was studying hotel management when he decided to start his own business. Initially, his idea was to sell second-hand surf-related articles, but he soon realised his role was just an intermediary, and that was not his intention. Instead, he wanted to create something with its own signature.
At the end of 2019, Bruno met his fiancée, fellow surfer Camila Sousa, at the beach. They both enjoyed the surf culture, so they joined forces to accomplish the dream of a business which reflected their personalities. The idea evolved during the pandemic when the couple both skateboarded to keep themselves occupied. Then, one of the skateboards broke.
With time on their hands, they decided to build their own skateboard from wood. With no machinery, the project was created entirely by hand.
From this lockdown project, a brand emerged. Today they sell all sorts of products related to surfing. Camila and Bruno, now 19 and 22 years old respectively, live in the Algarve, Camila in the Galé and Bruno in Albufeira. The initial idea of the project was to sell directly to the public. All the items are personalised, and they receive requests for their products from their Instagram account – their website is still in progress.
They started by selling only skateboards, but today they also sell necklaces and keychains. The main difference between their necklaces, and those which are found in gift shops, is that theirs are handmade, and personalised, which makes each of them unique.
They also designed a special product, the Hoomau, an intricately made necklace with decorative beads and a miniature wooden surfboard strung together on cotton wire. Their inspiration came from Hawaii. Completely handmade and waxed to be waterproof, they present it in a very creative way. All the details about how it is made are written on the back of the product along with a personal message to the recipient.
With time, they have found their own space to create these delicate pieces of craftsmanship, and also their first machines to cut the wood, but all the retouches are made by hand since they explain, “machines do not make things as perfect as we would want it.”
They did not have any support whatsoever to build their business, all of the expenses came from their savings. However, the Câmara of Albufeira is now helping them to expand their business.
Camila still studies at night to complete high school, but the rest of her time is fully dedicated to the business. Bruno was attending university but has paused his studies in Hotel Management to work full-time on growing the business.
Now they are starting to sell their products to stores, which brings more and more responsibility and time to manufacture, market, and manage the business. They consider themselves to be craftsmen, and although they know they should sell their products for a higher price Camila says, “we know Portuguese people do not spend much money on certain things, and we want to keep our products accessible for normal people.”
With the up-and-coming surf culture in the Algarve, there is no doubt this enterprising couple are surfing the waves to success.
Instagram – Surf the Wave