By Heather Hartzell | [email protected]
Goldfinch, a new home and lifestyle boutique, opened at 806 N. Fairfax St. in March.
The store is a product of Akseizer Design Group, an interior design company that has worked on properties in the Washington D.C. area, New York, Miami, Massachusetts and the West Coast.
Co-owners Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown said they opened Goldfinch to share their love of interior design with others.
“[Goldfinch] was our ‘for fun’ store, just to see how it went,” Brown said. “Some designers dream of doing a store every now and then. You go and you love entertaining and you go to these stores and you see things you like, and you’re like, ‘Well, maybe I’ll open a store one day.’”
Goldfinch features a neutral palette, with items such as linens, dishware, kitchen supplies and bedding for sale. The Akseizer team together picks items for the store based on things they themselves enjoy using, Brown said.
“It’s really products that I think we all really like, especially [Brown and Akseizer] like and would use and would give to other people. I think that’s kind of the focus,” Marlene Cabezas, manager of retail and events, said. “I don’t think they went into this with an exact plan of, ‘We really want to cater to everyone in Old Town.’ It’s about offering really beautiful things and a wide range of things so that almost anyone can come in here and find something that they really love.”
Neutral-colored products throughout the store are meant to match most design schemes, Brown said.
“When it comes to houseware, dishes and stuff, we love white dishes,” Brown said. “When it comes to bedding, we love white bedding. Beautiful white linens always work, so we went with things that always work. And when it comes to some of the food items, brass is always popular, [and] that can go really well in a neutral kitchen.”
Though the team originally envisioned Goldfinch as a home decorating store, the boutique has attracted a base of customers who buy its items as gifts.
“We ended up with a lot of gifts, which is exciting because people seem to be liking that,” Cabezas said. “And [people] are excited to have a new gift store, especially this side of Old Town.”
Goldfinch’s gift selection includes everything from earrings and purses to tomato-basil-scented candles. Brown said they plan to eventually expand their gift options to wine and cheese.
Akseizer and Brown opened Goldfinch in March and have been relying on word-of-mouth recommendations to attract customers. The store will host an official grand opening on Sept. 20.
Despite having opened the store for fun, Brown and Akseizer said they have grand plans for Goldfinch.
“We never came into this thinking there was going to be a profit. Retail is a tough game,” Brown said. “It really was just to give a gift of our style, and we love the neighborhood, and we love being a part of the neighborhood, and this really gives us a chance to do that. Eventually, later down the road, we were thinking of expanding in some way. We’re actually doing really well, so I think that’s still an option.”
The aesthetics of Goldfinch, both inside the store and outside the storefront, are a draw for many customers. Cabezas says Brown’s attention to detail is a large part of what makes the store successful.
“Jamie does an amazing job,” Cabezas said. “He does all the flowers. He does all the gardening. He takes care of all of that.”
“[There are] a lot of locals that walk by and say, ‘Wow, this place looks so nice outside. We love that you plant flowers, that you take care of your garden,’” Brown said. “Because if you look [at other stores], some people open up shop and don’t care. We care about our appearance. We care about looking good.”
So far, Goldfinch’s aesthetic seems to be working.
“People seem to really love it, and the response has been great,” Cabezas said. “We really want this to be a place people feel comfortable hanging out.”