I wanted to take a moment to write a thank you letter, to all of you, because the only way we survive this situation, pandemic, time period (…nightmare?) is with your help.
The amount of support we have felt and received over the past week has been heart-warming, to say the least. Heck, it got to the point where I started crying on my personal Instagram stories because I truly cannot believe the amount of people that have rallied around me, us, and the shop. I am 25 years old and my friends are of similar ages. I make mention of this because a lot of them don’t have large dispensable incomes, but here they are spending their hard-earned money on the shop’s website. Then there are the insta-story reposts, emailer campaigns, person-to-person conversations, and more ways (I’m sure) that they’re using to support us & spread the word that we need help now more than ever. Small businesses will only survive this with the help of their customers. Honestly, we may only survive by the creation of new customers. We know that this virus has affected everyone - some harder than others - so we know that some of our customers can’t support us right now, and we completely understand that. We don’t want to see anyone struggle, but here we are… struggling with you.
I’m not sure if this statement has ever been more true: the struggle is real. If you notice the only other blog post that I have on here (“Why we waited to sell online in an online world.”) talks about selling online and why we waited to do so. I have never wanted to hug my past self more than I do right now. I want to hug her because we had this site waiting for us when all of this happened. We have a way to operate our business in a world where you are being told to stay at home & indoors. We have a way to make money. We have a way to try and weather this storm. This doesn’t mean the last week hasn’t felt BANANAS. Every day it was, “get as much on the site as you can - go go go!” Then it turned into, “don’t bombard the people… do it in batches!” AKA do as much as you can, but not too much. Long story short, I’ve kinda felt like there was no winning all week long, but then on Thursday there was this moment where I got multiple orders (each one w/ a note from the customer, saying thank you or “I love you” or “you’re doing great!”) and again I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry because it gave me hope. It gave me hope that we will get through this and that we will be stronger for it. If this situation has taught me anything, it has taught me that adverse moments promote strength. Challenges promote creativity. Struggle promotes comradery. This community, Riviera Village in particular, has come together in a way I never thought imaginable. We are all struggling, but we are all doing it together - and in that tragically unfortunate circumstance, we see the most beautiful forms of kindness.
So, thank you. Thank you to our customers. Thank you to our supporters. Thank you to our community. We are going to survive this. Our business is going to survive this. But, we really can’t do it without you. Unfortunately, we don’t really know how long this is going to last, and I think that might be one of the scariest parts. We don’t know when business will go back to “business as usual”. We don’t even know when “life” will be business as usual. These are unmatched times. We’ve watched sports be cancelled, entire seasons post-poned, schools go to online, colleges sending their students home, huge events re-scheduled, and business after business shut their doors. I can’t help but say that my heart goes out to everyone because this virus and this situation has affected every person in some way. But I do ask this: consider your situation. Consider that some people may need more help than others. You’ve seen the tweets that have gone viral, the memes that warm you heart, and the videos of pure acts of kindness. We need more of that. If anything, may this crazy time remind us how much we are capable of, how easy it is to be nice, and how fortunate we really are. May it allow us to appreciate more. I know that when this is all over I will not be the same person, and for the better. Trying times make for better humans, and I believe that.
We will never stop saying thank you to our customers. We will never stop working hard and doing whatever we can to be here to serve you. I know that may sound silly because we sell clothes, swimwear and apparel for a living, but we sell so much more than that. Believe me or not, but we do. We have built a community of women - women who are honest, hard-working, and down-to-earth. We have tried to foster acceptance in being comfortable - who said fashion has to be uncomfortable? Who said finding a swimsuit to feel confident in has to be near impossible? Who said shopping has to intimidating? Who said women have to keep pretending that they aren’t TERRIFIED to go into a dressing room with a bikini? We are here because we get all of that. We are here to sell a lot more than clothes, and I hope that if you’ve shopped with us than you know that. We have met more amazing women in the last 2.5 years than I ever could have imagined. I consider myself so incredibly lucky, and I know my mom does too. Our lives are forever changed because of this 1,097 sq ft rectangle and the community it’s in. So on that note, thank you Riviera Village and thank you to the South Bay. Our little slice of heaven has never felt as heavenly as it does right now. The sun is shining and the support is over-flowing. If we keep it up, we will all get through this.
Stronger united. Better together.
We love you all, and we will be forever grateful.
All the love, health & sanity,
From the moment we opened our doors, a little over a year ago, we were asked if we were going to sell online, or if we already did. The question began to morph into: when ARE you going to sell online? It was and is assumed that brick and mortar stores will never survive unless they also sell online.
Now, I can't be upset by this assumption because here we are, a little over a year in, starting our online store. However, we aren't starting it out of survival or as a way to keep our doors open. We always planned on having an online store... always. We are starting it because it is finally time and we are finally ready.
Opening a business is a huge venture, and for us it was a giant leap of faith. This isn't a pet project. This isn't just making a life-long dream come true. This wasn't and isn't risk free. This business was one GIANT risk, but damn are we happy we took it.
So, how did we know we were ready? Well, we finally feel like we have both of our feet on the ground.
This venture will always be a roller coaster, but you can't let that stop you from progressing. The key to managing stress, I believe, is knowing when you can add more to your plate and when you cannot. Now I'm no expert at stress-management, and I still feel over-whelmed in the day-to-day of business owner life, but I was ready for a little more stress (as crazy as that may sound). We were ready because the concept and feeling of being stagnant was causing us stress all on it's own. Opening this online store (heck, designing this website) felt like this huge mountain that I was never going to be able to climb up. But, in my true "English Lit major" form, I told myself I should just treat it like a giant essay. Everyone knows those projects- the ones you can't bear to start because you feel like you'll never get through it? Well, as many wise professors taught me, the best thing you can do when a paper feels too daunting, is to just start. Write a paragraph, make an outline, or even just write the first sentence of each paragraph. So that's what I did- I just started.
I took the plunge because we want to reach more people. We want to share our outlook on swimwear and apparel with more than just our sleepy beach town and all the lovely people who stroll through it.
Nonetheless, being ready NOW means we haven't been ready these last 15 months. I told you how we knew we were ready, but the real message in all of this is why we waited.
So, why did we wait to sell online in an online world?
We waited to sell online because our customers come first. Now that may sound backwards to you, but I assure you it's not. We waited because we knew how much work it would be, and we simply didn't have the time to dedicate to such an under-taking. If we were going to do it we were going to do it right. It was never about the sales, and always about our customers experience.
We wanted to create a user-friendly online store. We wanted to have the time to fix the glitches. We wanted to take orders and ship things off with as much ease as possible. We know that glitches will happen, there will be bumps, but we wanted to be ready to deal with those bumps. And in all honesty, we weren't ready to deal with those bumps a few months ago, let alone 15 months ago when we opened. GoodLove went from a concept to a reality in 4 short months, and 2 of those were spent building out our location. We were like chickens with our heads chopped off. I mean hey, we did it, and damn were we proud, but it was a CRAZY four months.
We wanted our customers to have the best experience they could without actually being with us in the shop, and that's where the real truth lies. Online world be damned, we waited to sell online because we are here to sell comfort, not just swimwear and clothing. We understand how terrifying it is to get into that dressing room with a bikini. We relate to the little voice in your head that thinks, "ugh, is that really what I look like?" We get it. We also get that most women fear swimwear because no one ever bothered to talk to them about sizing, or help them understand why one cut looks better on them than another. It's similar to that moment a lot women have when they go to get properly sized for a bra and they realize they've been wearing the wrong bra size for over a decade. Swimwear is just like a bra - you need to be properly fitted. You need to try on more than you want to just in hopes to find one that you feel confident in. It is hard for us to wrap our brain around selling swimwear online because it's in our nature to want to help you find the one you feel your best in; but like I said, progress is necessary. We are progressing into a new territory, and we are trying to find ways to take your store experience and put it online. Hopefully when this site goes live you'll be able to messenger me about sizing. I will be there to answer your questions. I will be there to offer my opinion.
And, as far as clothes go, we had our same concerns. We are about comfort. So much of our buying is focused on fabrics, and we were concerned that our apparel may not translate into online because you can't feel it. We like soft things. Whenever anyone asks me how to describe the shop I always end up with the same answer: everything feels good. Our things are soft, comfortable, cozy. Almost every day I have a customer tell me, "oh my goodness, everything in here is so soft! I just want to touch it all." First, I assure them that they can (touch away!), and second I explain that we like to look good, but feeling good is more important. Why waste time wearing something that is uncomfortable? From our basic tanks, to our tops, dresses, pants, cover-ups, and even our swimwear, we aim for comfort.
So, that is the real reason why we waited. We wanted to know exactly who we are and what we are about, as a store and a brand, before we opened our doors to the world wide web.
Shopping at GoodLove is an experience we put a lot of careful though into, and we wanted to be able to share that with all of you. It's like walking in and buying something from a friend. There's no pressure. Sometimes we are here in workout clothes, most days I don't wear make-up, you can find us listening to oldies, top hits of the 2000s, or Swedish house music, and you can always find honesty. We are never going to put the sale first. I'm writing this as our first blog post because I want you (whoever you are) to know that. We are here to spread a little love and to help you feel good. Selling clothing and swimwear is just the fun part...
We waited because the internet wasn't going anywhere. We waited because we care and take pride in what we do and what we are about. We waited because we are human. But now, the wait is over.