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.