We had the good fortune of connecting with Claire Goodman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claire, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
The end goal is to own multiple boutiques. We would like to see GoodLove expand within the year, but regardless of when, we know that we will come to own a few GoodLove(s). They may all be a little different, as our store aims to cater to the women in our town and every town is different, but they will all foster the same concept: comfort counts. In terms of where I want to be professionally by the end of my career: I want to have created more than just stores. I want to create a community of women who aren’t afraid to love themselves and their bodies, no matter how imperfect they are. I want to empower women, of any age, to follow their dreams, to wear the bikini, to roll with the punches, to be confident, and to know that it is okay to not be okay. I want our brand to represent honesty. It is not good vibes all the time. It is okay to not like what you see in the mirror. It is okay to have a normal body. It is okay to do the crazy thing and start a business with your mom at 23 years old. So yes, I hope our brand is a lot more than just clothes and bikinis. And I hope that by the end of my career I have created a brand to be proud of. I hope I’ve hired women who share my goals and views. I hope I have mentored young women into becoming entrepreneurs. And I hope that I’ve proven to myself and others that brick & mortar businesses will continue to stand the test of time, no matter what you throw at us.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The business I co-own with my mother is GoodLove – a women’s boutique for swimwear and apparel. We place an emphasis on comfort and quality and aim to foster and cater to what we consider the “South Bay Aesthetic”: laidback, simple, yet sophisticated and fashionable. I think there are two things that set us apart: assisted swimwear shopping and approachability. My family has been in the swimwear business for over 40 years. It started with my father’s father in manufacturing. My mom’s first small business that she started nearly 30 years ago was a swimwear store in Deland, Florida. From manufacturing, to wholesale, to retail, she has seen it all; and as family things go, I somehow ended up being obsessed with swimwear. However, I always had that love hate relationship with it. I loved it but I hated wearing it, in reality. My mom happens to be the same way. But, I think that’s why we approach selling swimwear the way we do. Women need and want help finding a suit. Swimwear shopping is one of the most daunting and dreaded tasks for a woman and it is our goal to make that process easier and even enjoyable. There is a whole wide world out there when it comes to swimwear, and it is crazy to assume that any woman knows what style and fit will work best. So, that is why we offer assisted swimwear shopping. What does that look like? You come in and tell us a few likes and dislikes you know you have (we all have them – color, matching, style, coverage) and we will pick out 3-5 styles for you and send you into the dressing room. You will give us your feedback and we will keep handing you styles until you find one that works for you and that you feel good in. I am never going to sell a woman a swimsuit that she doesn’t feel good in. I know all to well what NOT feeling good in one feels like and I wouldn’t want that for anyone. And that brings me to the other thing that sets us apart: approachability. Whether it be telling you the truth about the bikini, catching us at work in our workout clothes, or selling clothes for everyday life, my mom and I pride ourselves on being approachable. Fashion can be scary. Creating a wardrobe can be intimidating. Buying new clothes for a vacation can be overwhelming. We get it and one of our goals when we opened the shop was to help women feel good about themselves, and I think in order to do that you and your merchandise need to be approachable. I could show up to work every day dressed to the nines, but that’s not what we’re selling. We are selling clothes for your real life – not the 5-10 times a year you get dolled up. We want to sell you comfort, and I’m not just talking about soft and cozy. I’m talking about ease and feeling good, so that is the atmosphere we aim to create in our shop. No frills. Real life. Approachable fashion.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite spot in our city is where you can find our shop – Riviera Village in Redondo Beach, CA. It is it’s own little bubble that makes you feel like you’re on vacation. It is also a small business oasis. I would take them to get coffee at Hi-Fi Espresso, lunch at Rockefeller Gastropub, and drinks at Riviera House or Rebel Republic. If we wanted a taste of old school, I would take them to the Bull Pen for dinner – big booths, live music, dark bar, big steaks and salads with a chilled fork. If we wanted a taste of new school, I would take them to Gabi James where you can pick your gin from a menu and order yourself a Spanish, Mediterranean feast. We would go to the beach that’s a mere block away and is a close comparison to the beach and esplanade you’d find in the south of France in Nice. We would ride our bikes all along the coast until we reach Marina Del Rey. I would take them to Playa Provisions because they have it all – impeccable sandwiches, decadent ice cream and their very own whiskey bar. And I would show them the tiny world that is Playa Vista – just down the hill from where I went to college. The list of things to check out in LA is endless, so I guess that’s my answer. Take them anywhere. Show them that every few miles in LA you can find a unique little city with it’s own best spots, stores, restaurants, people and sights. That is what I love most about LA – it is chalk full of uniqueness and all the “fun” isn’t in one spot.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The person who I would want to dedicate my shoutout to is in fact my business partner and the other owner of my business – my mother. She immersed me in the culture of retail and small businesses from a young age and it is for that reason I always knew I wanted to own a small business; although, I never could have imagined that it would happen at such a young age. And with that said, I would have to also dedicate my shoutout to my mentor of 5 years: Marisa Ronca of Marisa Nicole Events. She was my boss, and still is from time to time when I freelance for her, and she helped make me the entrepreneur I am today. She trusted me, encouraged me, and implored me to take on more than I could have ever imagined. I think I always knew I was capable, but she gave me a set of skills and ability to communicate and oversee with professionals much older than me in a way that made any doubt of capability go out the window. By 21 I was doing my first solo wedding and by 22 I had my own clients. Granted, by 23 I had opened GoodLove with my mom and decided to trade weddings for bikinis & clothes, but continuing to work for her while owning and running GoodLove was one of the greatest gifts. I had more learning to do and more confidence to build, and she helped me do that; so, for those reasons, I will be eternally grateful.
Robyn Cait Photography