Two things happen when you open the doors of Goldfinch: a wave of beautiful, delicate smells from the store’s collection of candles infiltrate your olfactory system; and a small, black French bulldog rushes to greet you.
“This is Lulu,” says Jamie Brown, co-founder of the Alexandria home goods boutique, of the dog. “She runs the place.”
Brown, and business partner Jeff Akseizer, opened Goldfinch in late March to “engage with the community and engage the community with our products,” says Akseizer.
The men are the designers behind Akseizer Design Group, an award-winning firm that specializes in interiors, architecture and branding. “All the things we’ve done over the last 15 years have been very well received and people are always calling us and saying, ‘How can I get that for my home?’” says Akseizer. “So we just thought, let’s keep our eyes open and look for a retail space to bring our products to market.”
Every item in the store, from the antique tables to the framed art on the walls, is for sale, and hand-picked by the Goldfinch team, including candles, cocktail glasses and napkins, coffee table books, lights (the store has an entire wall dedicated to showcasing its display of lights for purchase), purses and jewelry—even some food products.
“You have to touch all five senses in a home,” says Akseizer. “That really is what makes a great home, and entertaining in your home is really important, too. You want your guests to experience those five senses, as well.”
Goldfinch’s overall aesthetic really does feel like you’re walking into a dinner party at a friend’s house—it’s a welcoming environment that you’re automatically envious of. You want your home to look like this.
Take, for example, the dining table with a full set of plates, napkins and cutlery. It looks fancy—something you’d put out for a holiday gathering—but it’s quirky and fun, too. The plates feature dragons as the main image of their design. “I love to entertain and make people happy, and I think entertaining and having a beautiful place setting really makes people happy,” says Brown.
And at Goldfinch, that’s what the store is all about—making shoppers happy. “In large department stores where you have personal shoppers, how personal is it, really?” says Akseizer. “We want to be beyond that process and say, ‘Hey, listen, we can personalize not just the experience, but the actual things that you’re looking for.’ I think that’s a lost art in the world of retail.”
As for the name itself? Goldfinch comes from the paint color, “goldfinch,” which is a favorite for Brown and Akseizer to design with, as well as the whimsical bird. And the period at the end of the company’s wordmark logo? “Once you’ve been here, you don’t need to go anywhere else,” says Akseizer with a slight, giddy smile. “It’s Goldfinch. Period.” // 806 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria
Father’s Day Picks
Brown and Akseizer’s top four recommendations, all available at Goldfinch, for getting Dad that something extra special.
Infused with black truffle essence, this hot sauce “comes from California and goes great with Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower,” says Akseizer. // Truff Hot Sauce; $19.99
Give Dad what he’s really craving: whiskey cocktail recipes and a cookbook featuring meals all made with craft beer. // Cooking with Craft Beer, $27.50 and Whiskey Cocktails, $5
The Barnyard Decanter and Glass Set is made of luxury crystal, and is hand-engraved in the Czech Republic. The set includes 10 double Old-Fashioned glasses, featuring farm animal designs. “It has the little foot of each animal on the bottom,” says Brown. // ARTÊL Barnyard Decanter and Glass Set; $2,399
This kit comes with a travel-size moisturizing body wash, shea butter lotion, triple-milled bar soap and a natural soy wax travel candle. // Barr-Co. Travel Kit; $38