It’s tough to make friends in adulthood. Without the confines of a classroom to force you together, forging new friendship relies on extending out beyond your comfort zone. Enter Vancouver Neatos interviews, where I introduce you to a new face in Vancouver every week (ish). Want to take part? Drop me a line.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Kate Reid, the owner of GOONHOUSE—an online shop that sells streetwear and vintage clothing. Growing up I really gravitated toward the DIY ethic, but the local punk rock scene scared the hell out of me. All these cool extroverted people doing shit their own way! I was totally intimidated. It wasn’t until I discovered feminism and identity politics that I really started coming into my own. I remember a co-worker lending me issues of Bust magazine. Reading about all those badass women doing their own thing was a big game changer for me. I started experimenting with style, and exploring the artifice of my outward self. Since then I’ve had a lot of fun playing with fashion. Once you start messing with your appearance, you realize how fluid your identity can be—it’s pretty liberating.
What is GOONHOUSE?
GOONHOUSE is an online streetwear and vintage clothing shop for badass goons. In high school I was the weird kid who ate her lunch in the art room; I guess GOONHOUSE is an extension of that—a fun way to meet some fellow freaks.
What are the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs? How do you think we can overcome them?
I’m not gonna lie, the cost of living in Vancouver is a big hurdle. Putting up a bunch of cash to start a business is daunting when your rent is so high. But that’s all part of the love/hate I have for Van. Most days I dig the scrappy small biz lifestyle, but other days I just want to run naked in streets like, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!
In general, I’m lucky that my family has always been on my side, but I know a lot of people struggle to find that emotional support. It’s hard to believe in yourself and your business when your loved ones tell you it’s a waste of time. That’s why when you find friends who believe in you and support you through your fumbles, you gotta keep them close.
What advice would you give new online shop owners?
Ha! Well since I’m still a new online shop owner myself, all I can say is keep it chill. Highs and lows are part of the game, so just try to roll with it. Also, good photography: get it.
What do you like best about living in Vancouver?
The rain. I imagine it’s a lot like Midwesterners feel about their winters: there’s a smug pride in weathering the storm for eight months of the year. In my head I’m this hardy homesteader woman braving the harsh elements, but the second I drain the hot cup of coffee in my hand, that fantasy dissolves pretty quick.
Where’s your favourite spot in Vancouver to set up a laptop and get shit done?
Honestly I rarely work in the city, but when I need a break I head to Old Crow in New West. It’s a hip little coffee shop run by the mega business babe, Stephanie Vu. Chill atmosphere, rad tunes, and Bows + Arrows coffee. It’s the best.
Can you share any resources you’ve found most helpful in your career?
Other lady entrepreneurs are awesome because they empathize in a way no one else can. My friend Sonia was been a big inspiration. She only started Woodlot last year and she’s already killin’ it! Girl Gang is a fantastic resource too. It’s like a direct line to other Vancouver women doing their thing. Their feedback and connections are invaluable.
What’s in the works for you right now?
I dig vintage because it’s an alternative to mass-produced fashion, so now that I’m looking for local manufacturers to make branded apparel for GOONHOUSE, it’s been tough to find sustainable shops. The challenge is finding a manufacturer in the Lower Mainland that’s down with using locally sourced fabrics and keeping its footprint small—and that doesn’t cost a billion dollars! If any of your readers know of a local, affordable green manufacturer, I’d really appreciate the connect. Otherwise I’ve been spending my time hunting for cool locations to shoot a GOONHOUSE lookbook—and re-reading #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal. Her story is super inspiring.
See more of GOONHOUSE on instagram!