Today we’d like to introduce you to Claire Goodman.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My mom and I took a plan that we had always fantasized and talked about as “down the line” or “maybe someday” and turned it into a “today” plan.
Both of our lives had hit a crossroads, and we were both in the same predicament: what do we really want to do? We weren’t interested in being millionaires, but we didn’t want to pick paths that didn’t bring us joy just for the sake of a paycheck. We wanted something of our own. So, we started thinking, “should we just do it? should we take a huge risk, and make the store we had always talked about?”
After a month of keeping our eyes open for retail space, but not actively looking per se, I walked right past our current location after my daily trip to my local Starbucks. I saw the FOR LEASE sign and I could just feel it- this was going to be it. This storefront was going to be the mother-daughter store we had always envisioned. We signed our lease on Labor Day of 2017 and we opened November 17th.
A week before we signed our lease, we sat down at a coffee shop and wrote a 5-page business proposal- who would our customer be? What would we sell? How would we advertise? We came up with a name, a concept, and most importantly a brand – we knew it would never just be about selling clothes and swimwear. It was going to be selling our brand, which really is just us.
It is our mother-daughter relationship, our relationship with our community, other women, our bodies, our self-love, the importance of being comfortable. So in ten weeks, we turned a gutted shell into a store, and in a little over a year, we have turned that store into a brand that centers around love and comfortability.
My mom and I both had our separate experience in retail, and it is the combination of our differed experience and our differed skill sets that have gotten us to where we are today. We make a good team. She has over 30 years of experience in sales, merchandising, and small business ownership & management.
And for myself, the daughter to this mother-daughter team, I have learned from both big-brand and small business retail stores. I taught myself how to merchandise after working in the wedding industry for two years. But most importantly, I have an English degree.
My most important job is explaining our story, verbalizing our brand, and fostering what we wanted to do – be more than a store.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I don’t know if anyone could have a “smooth” road for their first year of business with a brick & mortar store or any business for that matter. So no, it has not been a smooth road; nevertheless, here we are.
Our biggest struggle was the construction we faced on the outside of our building. It was scheduled to take place Jan-March of 2017, which we figured would coincide with the natural lull that retail faces in those months, but instead it started in June. Our business was covered in scaffolding for two full months. We sell swimwear, so you can only imagine our heartache when we found out. We had placed orders expecting the construction to be over.
We still had a successful summer, but we had planned for new exposure and simply more accessibility. We went all summer with no sign, and we are positive that we missed our “tourist” market because of the scaffolding. We weren’t able to advertise in the ways we planned because we had no visual to point people in the right direction – we had no idea what our business would look like, not to mention no store numbers.
Obviously, money is always a struggle. Your first year is simply a challenge. You don’t fully understand who your customer is – what size is she? What does she like? What is her preferred price point? We simply took every day as a learning experience. We are very grateful to now have figures and selling reports to better inform our merchandise and our spending. You have to be willing to learn. You have to accept that you may not always get it right, and that is what the sale rack is for.
Also, we both have other jobs. We do this so that the store doesn’t have to fully handle our own financial needs; however, it is hard to find that balance. It is hard to shift your brain over, to not feel overwhelmed, and to make sure that we are spending enough time in the store together. It was a struggle adjusting at first, and we still hit bumps, but we also know that both of us will do whatever is necessary. We just make it work. You have to be able to expect that of your business partner.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with GoodLove – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
GoodLove is a brick & mortar retail store that sells women’s apparel, swimwear, and accessories. We are hoping to be online in the next few months. We are known for everything in our store being soft and comfortable (even our suits!).
Fabrics and how things feel are key for us. Because that is the cornerstone of our store, we struggled with the idea of going online, but we also know that if we want to grow then we need to be able to reach more people. In terms of clothing, we are known for having quality apparel that fits a customer base that can sometimes be neglected: 30-65-year-old women.
Our clothes aren’t crazy trendy, they aren’t low-quality “once-wears,” and they aren’t dowdy for the sake of comfort. Our clothes are fun little twists on classic bodies that are also comfortable and flattering. But the key for us and what sets us apart from a lot of the stores or brands that cater to our largest customer base: price. We are a price-conscious store that won’t break the bank, and I think that is what our customer appreciates the most.
We are very proud of our ability to find comfortable, good quality clothes that can be sold at a reasonable price. In terms of our swimwear, we do carry some higher end brands that are quite expensive, but we also have an affordable swimwear collection. The way I always describe our overall swimwear collection is “curated.” My mom started working in swimwear when she was 25 years old, and she did everything from retail to sales to owning her own store (and here she is doing it again).
My father was in swimwear sales, and his father owned one of the most iconic swimwear manufacturing companies in the United States. So, needless to say, I have been around swimwear my whole life. We know a lot about swimwear, which is why our collection is curated. We don’t have wall to wall swimwear. We hand select our swim with our customer in mind.
For this reason, we know every suit in our store, and how it fits and what kind of body it caters to. What sets us apart? You can walk into our store, and we can pull swimwear. Tell us what you like, what you don’t like, your size, any preferences, and I or my mom can hand you 5-10 suits. That makes me proud. It makes me proud because buying swimwear is terrifying for most women, so if I can make it easier than I’m proud of that.
If they leave with a suit that they feel good in, then I’m ecstatic. We aren’t here to push swimwear. We are here to help women find what they are looking for, which is to feel good in what they have on.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are planning to be online by the end of February! We are nervous, and it is a very large undertaking for this two-person duo, but I think it is a very necessary and exciting step forward for us.
Our plans for the future: another store. We plan to have at least two brick and mortar stores. In the meantime, we plan on spending 2019 doing a lot of pop-ups to test new locations and customer bases!
- Address: 257 Avenida Del Norte
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
- Website: goodloveapparel.com
- Phone: 310-316-4850
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @shopgoodlove
- Facebook: @goodloveapparel
- Yelp: yelp.com/biz/goodlove-redondo-beach