Ariane Goldman is a style soothsayer. She has the uncanny knack to predict where and when a trend is bubbling up and then produce must have apparel that satiates consumers distinct needs. Before her iconic brands, Twobirds and Hatch, hit the scene, bridal parties and expectant moms were relegated to hum drum styles that were unflattering and had an expiration date. Her vision of creating chic, wearable styles for pivotal life moments made women feel that they had real, stylish choices, and that they were certainly not forgotten, and if anything, shone brighter.
Melissa: You have launched two incredible brands in the last 10 years. Both companies are disruptors in industries that have been around for a very long time. Was that always your intention or was it happenstance?
Ariane: I was actually a consumer…a consumer looking for something that didn’t exist. So I think what happened was that I decided to do something about it and because there was no industry that was providing what I needed, it turned out that whatever I created happened to be a disruptor because it didn’t exist. I had no idea that I would be here today.
I just knew that there was an opportunity to give product in an area that wasn’t being served. Being pretty savvy business-wise, fashion-wise, and my parents being entrepreneurs, also knowing that there were factories in Midtown, all helped. Also, when you ask questions and knock on people’s doors, you can figure stuff out. So having that knack, knowing that there was a need and having a huge hustle and drive, just inherently. You put all those together and say, let’s do this. The beauty is, it’s also been a challenge, a big challenge. But in these niche markets, being a disruptor is quite an uphill battle. It’s both the notoriety of being one of the only players, but it’s also tough because you’re going after a small market. There’s both sides of the coin.
Melissa: With both bridesmaid’s dresses and some maternity wear there is this constant refrain of “oh you can totally wear it again”—sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. So is that saying of “you will wear it again” really true for both of your brands? How, does that go into your design process?
Ariane: I mean that was the whole proposition—how do I feel like myself when I’m getting ready for a wedding.? Why do I have to dress, spend—and this was 10 years ago— 300 bucks on a dress that I want to burn. Then the dresses end up taking way too much width in my closet. It doesn’t make sense on every level. So, how do I feel as my best self and is this something that I would want to wear and buy anyway for that wedding, but then it actually would be what I have to wear for the wedding. Similarly, with maternity, it was more, “why can’t I feel like me, but also have a belly, and decide to rock it or not rock it and choose to do it my way.” That just means clothes, I would buy normally that allow for a belly that don’t scream maternity.
Then you start to design, all clothes that make room for the belly and call it a maternity solution. All of a sudden, you have a line that actually was started from beautiful clothing that you would wear anyway. I feel like it’s full circle. Start with the idea of what you would want to wear and no matter what that can be forgiving on your belly, and create a collection around it, and let people know that you’ve got them covered.
Melissa: How many collections do you put out per year? Does it follow the same fashion schedule or a more seasonal schedule?
Ariane: A more seasonal schedule, for sure. I mean, think about when you were pregnant, it’s buy now wear now. You are not thinking about what your body is going to be like over the holidays. Right? So you’re not pre-ordering months in advance. That’s the beauty of understanding what’s happening in the market and being able to react to it and pull the trigger quickly.
We are also pretty savvy in the sense that we send a lot of fabric to New York from abroad and we watch what’s working online, and then we’re able to chase demand around the winners. We’ll cut and sew what’s working based on demand.
Melissa: I’ve always thought that Hatch fit so perfectly with the west coast lifestyle, the designs always spoke to me. You opened in LA not too long ago, how has that market received the brand IRL? How is LA different from east coast versus online? Did it exceed your expectations?
Ariane: First off, LA is such a huge market for us and I absolutely love it there. I will say that I’ve been very surprised at how differently women shop. People told me clients wouldn’t cross the street at the Brentwood Country Mart and it’s true, it’s really hard to get them to cross the street. We have a beautiful bungalow house, which I’m so proud of, and it’s just so dreamy. My entire intention with the space is to make women feel comfortable. My retail expression is creating a space that you walk into and feel like you don’t want to leave.
LA is just the perfect example of that feeling. But getting women to get in their car, drive and shop is just a different beast out west. Whereas in New York, you have girls in Brooklyn drop off their kids and they come right to the store or I get them to events all the time. It’s just an interesting, different model but LA is doing great for us. I love it! Next up is San Francisco which is a really huge market for us and I am interested in cracking that nut too. We are scouting locations in San Francisco so we’ll probably do Dallas first, then opening Upper East side next month (March). I am really excited about Upper East side!
Melissa: Where do you draw inspiration for your designs and for your own day-to-day workwear? Was it how you felt when you were pregnant and post? Is it from travel magazines?
Ariane: Yes, all the above. RIP magazines because I miss them so much! But I will say in all honesty, with two kids and two businesses, I’m finding the time to be inspired more and more challenging. So travel is definitely one of them. It used to be about me, for I’d say the first five years, just designing for what I want. Now things are changing, I have to be very aware of what this next group of women are looking for. I’m very open to what my team talks about and what I’m seeing out there. I watch girls like Something Navy and seeing how these girls are approaching fashion. So staying on my toes in order to continue to be modern. If I want to be the maternity brand for the Glossier girl, I have to get into her head and understand what she wants. I moving out of this world into Eileen Fisher and maybe a little Chico’s too [laughing]!
Melissa: Me too and Ann Taylor! [both laughing]
Melissa: For the new mom out there, there is a tendency to want to hide under a ton of layers post baby and cocoon in workout gear or resign to stretchy pants prison. What do you think are the pieces that they should be buying during their pregnancy and post?
Ariane: I was just at school drop off and a couple of the moms in my youngest daughter’s (Georgie’s) class were both in the cashmere sweatpants. To me, on a day like today, why wouldn’t you be rolling into your day in cashmere sweatpants with a belly or not, right? Definitely, some cashmere basics for the win. I designed them because who doesn’t want to basically go to sleep, wake up and go to school in cashmere.
I also love our slouch dress, it is an amazing silhouette. It was one of our first pieces and it’s been in the collection every year since. It just drapes beautifully. It allows you to wear it with a sneaker or heel. You can just be one and done, which is the whole premise of Hatch. Lastly, I would say jeans, because you can try and hold out for as long as possible. But then month five when your button is popping, it’s time to just replace your skinnies or your boyfriends with, something that you can wear and feel like yourself. Our denim program is pretty amazing and it’s such a fast growing category for us. I would definitely go there.
Why wouldn’t you be rolling into your day in cashmere sweatpants with a belly or not, right?
Melissa: What are your daily particulars that you never leave your house without? What’s your morning routine like? Whether it’s skincare, jewelry, shoes…
Ariane: So, I sleep in my rings. I wear my baubles all the time. I wake up when my first daughter gets on the bus at 6:57, so I have to be bright and chipper at 6:30. I go out at night so you can only imagine the early mornings. It’s our time together because I get home from work around seven, so the mornings are critical to have that bond while my husband sleeps. Then my second daughter goes to school, I drop her off at nine so that gives us a couple of hours to play. I typically set her up with breakfast. I will watch or read the morning news and then shower, get her dressed, hang out with her, play salon, catch up on some emails, and then get her to school.
Personally, I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to me regimen so I wash my face, take a shower or bath, moisturize, use a little something that makes me glow and then hopefully I’ll brush my hair, but not all the time. The mornings are just natural. And again, it’s a good day if I get to look in the mirror, I’m not going to lie, it’s not about me anymore.
Ariane: Twobirds is my baby. Literally, I worked in corporate America for eight years prior to jumping ship and realizing that I have more to give, and so I have such a love affair with the fact that I actually broke ground and started something really cool.
I got on the Martha Stewart show. I opened in markets like Australia, Toronto and London. It was an awesome experience. My husband travels for work, he’s a cinematographer, so before kids, it was a way for me to see the world, but also hustle and express myself. So Twobirds is wonderful. The beauty about that business is that you’re not recreating a collection every season. It’s much more of an oiled machine in the sense that women need this dress. For every girl you market to, five girls are buying it. There’re no returns, you get paid up front, there’s no inventory. It’s golden. It gave me such confidence to start Hatch that had I known then what I know now.
So, I run both of them but Hatch just requires a lot more of my creativity and my time. I went from a founder entrepreneur into a CEO role and that’s definitely a learning curve for me, because I just want to be inspired constantly. Being a people leader is way different.
Melissa: During your own pregnancies, did you veer towards tight, body-con pieces or more flowing clothing?
Ariane: Boho, flowy girl, but something with a little drape or something that made it look like I actually cared and tried in the morning. Hatch was inspired when I was pregnant with Charlie and I just realized, I just want to feel great, but nobody is curtailing this conversation just me. I have a rack of vintage muumuus, my mom’s stuff from the South of France, and all these wonderful things. I would get stopped in the street in those things and people saying, “wow, you look awesome,” with my belly. That’s when I decided to turn it into an actual conversation. I liked flowy, easy, drapey, chic, like avant garde but with a belly.
Melissa: Do you have a typical uniform you wear every day? Any daily particulars when you get dressed in the morning?
Ariane: I’m quite eclectic. I grew up uptown but I’m very high / low. So it just depends on my mood or what I’m doing after work. Even if I’m feeling crappy and I didn’t get any sleep, I try to either do a cashmere onesie, something a little chicer than just sneakers. And sometimes I’ll dress up and be a little more in a Chanel jacket and jeans. So just high, low, comfortable, eclectic, but always with something that shows that you actually give a shit.
Melissa: Do you find now with the trend of people wanting to go back into their closets, re-wearing things that they’ve had, the Real Real’s of the world, that people are understanding the Hatch model better?
Ariane: I mean the fact that people are more conscious about it is amazing. That’s the proposition of Hatch is that you’re investing in something that’s not disposable. Right? What’s cooler than that? A lot of people ask me like, why don’t I do swaps, like Hatch swaps for people. It just defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to say here is that you can actually have a blouse that makes you feel great, that you would buy anyway and by the way it also works when you’re pregnant. The fact that people are more conscious and caring more, just helps solidify that what we’re doing is right on target.
Melissa: Any travel plans?
Ariane: Yes, I’m taking my kids to Morocco for spring break to get inspired!