By Ginger DeShaney
In Good Company at 653 E. Broadway is so much more than a gift shop. It’s also a safe space, a supportive environment, and a meeting place.
“The goal is to build a presence in the community around the shop that is a space where people go to feel good,” said owner Kait McKenna. “I want the shop to be a bright spot on the street where people can come to a meeting place … A space that they can trust to buy meaningful gifts. It’s a space for people to express their individuality and spread kindness through gift giving and meaningful conversation.”
In Good Company displays an LGBTQ flag in the window, which “is representative of a safe space for the LGBTQ community even beyond shopping,” said Kait, who is engaged to Emily Radkowski. “It’s a space that people have come into and said, ‘Hey, I also am part of the LGBTQ community but I haven’t told many people yet.’ That kind of just shows the power of space.”
The majority of the items in Kait’s shop are handcrafted, from candles and jewelry, to crocheted animals and pottery, and so much more. Between 50 and 65 makers from the United States and Canada are represented — and celebrated — in Kait’s shop, including Kait’s mom, Sandy, and Kait herself (she’s an amateur ceramicist).
“It’s a gift shop with unique products made by real people,” she said. “The idea of supporting other people is really at the center of everything; hence the name In Good Company is about the people. When you’re buying a gift … there’s additional meaning to that when you know that somebody actually sat there and spent the time on it, so when you look at the products that way, it takes on a different meaning, which I think makes the best gifts.
“That’s the common ground that we all can appreciate is that there was one single person who was probably sitting at a 9-to-5 somewhere and said, ‘I’m going to do something else,’ and that’s how all these products came to be. Those are the people who come in the shop and appreciate the shop most, people who have that little spark inside of them that says, ‘Huh, I can make something or I can open a store’ … The shop is a culmination of so many people.”
In Good Company opened in June and Kait loves seeing her customers return: People will come back and tell her that the recipient loved the gift. Or a recipient will come in because they loved the gift so much and wanted to see what’s in the shop. “And that’s what’s really important to me is building community and building excitement and a place that people want to go.”
The spark for owning a shop was instilled when Kait, 34, was a young girl in Somerset. “I always loved to go shopping with my mom,” she said. “I think that’s where it came from. My mom always loved going into little shops. I think the idea of the charm of a small shop was kind of always there. It feels nostalgic, walking into a Main Street shop, so I think that was always in the back of my mind.”
Quarantine, when people were sitting with their thoughts, was kind of a turning point for Kait: “If you were thinking about doing something other than your 9-to-5, what would that be? The idea was always in the back of my mind to have a small business of my own.”
Her aha moment came when she found the perfect location. “It was an idea that became reality when I found this space,” she said, noting she always knew she wanted to be on the east side of South Boston.
Kait was an interior designer for a large architectural firm in Boston. She takes pride in her work in Boston. When she’d go into different firms, she’d think, “Oh, I’m in this specific place in Boston and I get to make this place really beautiful.” And she feels the same thing with her shop. “It’s a chance to create something, like placemaking … a place to create something for other people to enjoy.
“I always knew that creating space and environments was something that really energized me.”
Kait jokes that she accidentally quit her interior design job. “There was a moment in time where I thought I could do both,” she said. “The more I started to build out the space and feel so connected to it, I knew it had to be all or nothing.”
In Good Company’s Full Moon Circles and Community Nights are more ways the shop builds community.
Full Moon Circles — which take place around the full moon because it represents being intuitive and creating new energy — entail journaling, meditation, and a sharing circle, said Kait, who is also active in the yoga community. The next few Circles will be held at Local Maker Studio on West Broadway.
One of the recent Community Nights was with the Clay Lounge, where Kait takes pottery classes. This month, there will be another In Good Company/Clay Lounge Night. If someone wanted to take a pottery class but had no one to go with or they didn’t want to go by themselves, they could go with the shop, Kait said.
“It’s a way to build community and meet other people who are like-minded and want to go do something creative.”
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ingoodcoshop/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InGoodCoShop
- Website: https://ingoodcoshop.com