About a year ago, Goldfinch, a home goods boutique store and lifestyle brand in Alexandria, opened its doors with the main goal of bringing personal touches back to retail. In an interview for Northern Virginia Magazine in our June 2019 print issue, co-owner Jeff Akseizer said, “In large department stores where you have personal shoppers, how personal is it, really? 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.”
Akseizer, along with co-owner Jamie Brown, focused on the in-store experience for shoppers. So, what happened to that strategy after COVID-19 hit Northern Virginia, forcing stores across the region to close their doors to the public? Goldfinch turned to the online experience, of course, but remained committed to adding personal touches for their clients. Find out more about Goldfinch’s strategy during the pandemic, how Akzeizer and Brown are staying positive and what to expect next from the brand, below.
When Goldfinch first opened it was all about the experience of coming into the store and shopping in person. But, the pandemic has restricted that option for clients. How has Goldfinch adapted? Are products now available online for shipping?
JB: Absolutely! We have a fantastic online shopping experience at shopgoldfinch.com with free shipping on all orders over $50. We remain committed to bringing the Goldfinch experience to our customers while implementing heightened health and safety standards. The world may have changed for a while, but our passion for design through home and lifestyle remains steadfast.
JA: We’re still all about the details. Marlene, our retail manager, has really been the heart of our operations and has kept that close connection with our clients. From cheerful gift wrap and handwritten notes that extend a personal connection with each online order, to sourcing personalized gifts for distanced loved ones, she has truly extended the Goldfinch experience to our online customers.
What was it like to have to close your doors after the stay-at-home order was announced? How are you feeling now?
JA: Our hearts were broken along with so many other local businesses, but we are a resilient team with a positive mindset. We’ve embraced the opportunity to connect with new and existing customers online, and to expand our reach geographically in the process. We feel very hopeful for the future and look forward to welcoming the community back into our shop when the time is right.
What have been the main changes in your day-to-day operations?
JB: Our team is collaborating remotely and, of course, we aren’t able to have face-to-face interactions with our community, which is truly what we miss the most. Despite these circumstances, we are focused on providing prompt and thoughtful client services, often shipping or personally delivering orders within 24 to 48 hours.
What have the responses been like from your clients? Overall, do you feel supported by the community right now?
JB: We are incredibly grateful for the support we’ve received from our community. We have received so many kind words from new and longtime clients alike expressing appreciation—it’s been really heartwarming.
Are you doing any special offerings during this time?
JA: We are constantly updating our social media and online shop with exciting new products and specials. We are also incredibly passionate about giving back to the community and have donated a portion of our proceeds to support Feed the Fight DC in the midst of this challenging time.
JB: As for the shopping experience, we offer complimentary local delivery to Alexandria, Arlington and DC, in addition to free shipping on all orders over $50, virtual consultations and private shopping appointments.
What is keeping you hopeful and positive right now?
JA: The endless energy of our dynamic team and the wonderful feedback from clients is what makes our day-to-day operations thrive. We are hopeful that our doors will reopen again soon, but in the meantime, we’re finding joy in every personal delivery, care package and surprise gift we share.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JA: We want everyone to know that we are 100% here for our clients! Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries or special requests.
JB: And, some big news on deck, starting this June we’ll be offering local wine delivery! Cheers to that. // Goldfinch: 806 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria
For more stories in our Retail Therapy series, which interviews Northern Virginia business owners on how they are adapting to the COVID-19 era, subscribe to our weekly Shopping newsletter.