About Us - Our Story
Premier Cruise Gear is a subsidiary of Premier Award Group Inc., a trophy and awards corporation located in Georgia. Premier is a family owned and operated corporation started in 2010 by the owners, Mike and Karen Kelley. The Kelley's are avid cruisers.
While cruising through the Panama Canal one Christmas, Karen noticed many fellow cruisers having issues with the wind blowing their towels off of their lounge chairs. She also noticed that people were having a hard time locating their chair after visiting the pool since every chair had the same blue towel. An idea was sparked!
We spent 10 months working on the design. After 6 prototypes and 4 cruises on 3 different cruise lines the final design was created. We personally tested the Lounge Chair Covers on Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean ships before adding the product to our site.
* Update 2023 - we have discontinued our Lounge Chair Covers due to rising material costs. We have since introduced our new product The Towel Anchor!
After speaking with fellow cruisers, we decided to increase our cruising and beach themed merchandise. We started with shirts, hats, tote bags, mugs and other items. While testing and using our products, some items like t-shirts were discarded. We decided there were too many other companies already designing t-shirts and wanted to focus on our unique items. We may reintroduce t-shirts and tank tops in the future though.
So new product lines were created. While on a cruise testing products in 2018, I noticed door decorations on several cabin doors. While they were cute, they were ordinary and not customized. Another idea was sparked!
Returning home full of excitement, I started researching door banners and door magnets. While there were several other companies offering door magnets, they were all small and a lot of them are printed on an ink jet home printer. That would not do for me. I wanted large, custom magnets with bright and colorful art work. We use a sublimation process which produces bright and colorful art work. This process requires a special printer, special paper, special ink and a commercial heat press. Fortunately, our awards business uses all of those key items so we were ready to go.
I spent months designing, testing, re-designing and testing the banners and magnets. Since we always test new products on ships personally...it was time to cruise. The banners and magnets worked perfectly. We received such positive feedback from not only our fellow cruisers but also the ship's crew members. Everybody loved them. So it was time to get them on the site!
The door banners and magnets to this date are our most popular item. We have created thousands of custom designs and are always striving to come up with new and unique designs.
Once our website got up and running, I decided to check out Etsy. For those who do not know, Etsy is a marketplace for "homemade" items. We were a perfect fit. I got the Etsy website up and running quickly. And the results were amazing. So now we have two sites. When we first started the cruise gear line, I had looked into Amazon but at the time they did not have a section for "homemade" items. But now, yes they do! So in October of 2018 I started our Amazon site. After a few hours of posting our items, we had our first Amazon order! Right now, we have this website, Etsy and Amazon. I tried E-Bay for a couple of months, but it did not seem to be the right venue for us.
* Update as of 2023 - due to rising Amazon seller rates and restrictions, we no longer offer our products on Amazon. While I use Amazon to buy numerous products for personal use, the fees were just too high to continue selling on their site.
We are constantly design new art work, creating new product lines and re-vamping our current products. Our newest item is The Towel Anchor. I am really excited about this product. It is designed to anchor your towel to your lounge chair. It is small but mighty. It fits easy into your suitcase. It is machine washable and is available in multiple trim colors and with your custom text. We have sent out several free samples to customers who tested them on their cruises. All of the feedback was amazing.
So that is our story....this all started while on a cruise. We continue to cruise every year. We have a set schedule now where we will be cruising in July and January. Not only for a vacation but to stay current on cruising trends and to test/develop new products. We do close the shop during this time but we post the close dates in advance so that our customers can plan their orders accordingly.
Feel free to contact me with any special requests, comments or questions. I can be reached by phone from 9 am - 4 pm (est) at 770-617-9351 or anytime by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks and Happy Cruising!