We’re all in for all things seaside. So when we heard our friend Stephanie Stellwagen was opening a shop in the quintessential coastal town of Kennebunk with just that theme in mind, it was…*adds to summer bucket list.* Housed in a quaint cottage in the Lower Village of Kennebunk, steps from the famed port, the shop is a trove of well-curated, coastal lifestyle-inspired treasures (#dsgoods among them) to check the boxes of any summer shopping list. We asked Stephanie—who recently made the area her family’s full-time home—to share the inspiration behind Après Sea.
What gave you the idea to open? What is the vision behind the store?
I dreamed of opening my own boutique for as long as I can remember. Last summer, the idea really came to light and coincided with our family’s decision to move to Kennebunkport full time.
The vision behind Après Sea Maine was to create an elegantly casual retail destination in the heart of the Kennebunks, inspired by travel and my love of the sea. Having spent many summers in Maine, there is nothing I love more than an evening with friends and loved ones after a day at the beach. I wanted Après Sea Maine to encompass all of those elements from beach to dinner accessories & styles along with must-have home & seasonal entertaining accessories. The cottage boutique is located in the charming Morning Walk area in the Lower Village, Kennebunk area.
What led you to the shop’s location?
Kennebunkport has always been a very special place for us. My husband and I first came here ten years ago for a triathlon and have been in love with the town and Maine ever since. We were married here, bought our first home here—which served as a vacation home for the last five years—then decided to move to Maine full time last fall. The Kennebunks are such a special place and I knew that if I was going to do this that this would be the place it would have to be.
Why did you decide to carry Dudley Stephens in your store?
Yours has been one of my very favorite brands since I bought my first fleece three years ago. I really respect and admire the sister-founded brand for all their efforts in creating a timeless, high-quality and super stylish piece—and doing so in a way that keeps the environment in mind. The iconic fleeces can be casual or dressed up and really are worn by women of all ages. I also love that the company supports St. Jude and is always giving back.
I can’t think of a better place for Dudley Stephens than Maine; fleece weather is really 12 months out of the year here. When I would wear mine, I was often stopped at the grocery store and asked by my hair stylist where I bought my fleece. I recall many trips to Maine in the summer when I was not packed properly and did not expect the chilly drops in temperatures at night or in the mornings. It has been fun to sell them to women in similar situations. They have really been a hit so far here in Maine!
Maine-bound this summer? Visit Après Sea:
2 Morning Walk
Thursday - Monday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.