Thanks in part to the strong following she developed through her website, clothing designer Brooke Rodd has had items sold through popular online retailer Zappos and been featured on the Sundance Channel’s “All on the Line” show.

But the Web success still left her with a void.

“I’ve been online for almost five years now, and I realized pretty fast from being online that I didn’t want to be a wholesaler,” said Rodd, who made her first foray into the brick-and-mortar world last month when she opened Jellyfish on Ocean Park Boulevard. “I enjoyed the connection with people more than just having the quiet, e-commerce identity. I still love e-commerce, but I missed connecting with people.

“I was doing a lot of local sales, and every time I was out at a party or sale supporting one of the schools, I realized that was why I wanted to do this. And I’ve always wanted a shop, so it was a natural progression.”

The resulting boutique, which is just east of Bob’s Market on a lively block between 17th and 18th streets that has several other shops and eateries, features women’s clothing, home decor and gifts in a bright, laid-back atmosphere.

Rodd, who has lived in Mar Vista for about five years, said the location and vibe of the area enticed her to open the shop in Santa Monica.

“This neighborhood, I’ve watched it grow and kept my eye on it,” she said. “This is a real community. People know each other, they walk around. And there’s no real shopping area for this part of town — Sunset Park, Ocean Park, Mar Vista — but this street has major potential.”

A mother of two and Ironman triathlete who spent her formative years on Long Island, Rodd said her beach-influenced style isn’t coast-specific. Although she didn’t study fashion design, she broke into the industry as a freelance photographer who started assisting with styling her subjects.

“I realized I cared more about what the girls were wearing in my photos than the technical aspects of photography,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Hmm.'”

That revelation led to the creation of Brooke Rodd Designs, and her items are now for sale in an Ocean Park store that is accented with soft sky blue flooring, framed posters of beach scenery and hanging translucent light bulbs that remind the owner of jellyfish tentacles.

Colorful clothing hangs on the side walls, and a center table displays a variety of accessories. The inventory includes shirts and dresses as well as light outerwear, lingerie, sandals and jewelry, while mugs, air plant holders, perfumes, balms and birthday cards are among the assortment of gift items. Everything is under $150.

Merrie Mac Seaman, who often walks in the area after visiting her chiropractor, spent time in the shop early Friday afternoon. It was closed the first time she saw it, so she was glad to browse the selection.

“It’s great,” said Seaman, who made several purchases. “It’s open, it’s bright and beachy, and it’s simple but there’s lots to find. It’s exciting as a customer to see something new.”

Rodd said it’s been challenging to get Jellyfish up and running on her own, but she hopes to hire part-time help eventually.

And she’s been encouraged by the foot traffic and feedback.

“It’s been very rewarding,” she said. “People like to shop and touch things. When people saw my clothes in person and had the opportunity to try them on, they bought them more. You can’t take away the experience of coming into a place that feels good and the instant gratification of buying things in a store. That’s never gonna go away. So I think there’s been a big turn back towards brick-and-mortar.”

jeff@www.smdp.com

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