“Behind every successful woman is herself.” – unknown
When Penny Goffman couldn’t find a local boutique that sold mother-daughter clothes, she decided to create it herself. Even more ingenious? She put that boutique on wheels. (Because fashion truck > food truck.) Named after her then 7 year old daughter, Jolie GOtique offered moms and daughters coordinating clothes that were standalone stylish.
As they often do, the business became a family affair. Penny didn’t want to spend money on pricey models, so she and Jolie were the faces of the brands. This resonated with Jolie GOtique shoppers, and what started small, soon became a thriving business. Penny hired sales reps and built up a successful e-commerce business. Penny also took advantage of selling on Instagram, a novel concept in 2015, but one that we all recognize as commonplace now. Throughout the years of high growth, Penny and Jolie were the faces of – and the brand – itself — modeling all of the new looks, popping up on social feeds, and offering both a break from reality and a very authentic glimpse into their lives. The brand was relatable and sincere, the work of a busy, entrepreneurial mom and her darling daughter. Once, a customer asked Penny if she had any other kids besides Jolie because they never showed up on social media (in fact, she also has a son).
As the brand grew, it garnered national attention from retailers and brands. This opened another door for Penny as a brand, as companies started asking her to host events and promote their products. In order to do so, Penny launched That Penny Life, a behind-the-scenes look at all the things Penny loves, wears, and is inspired by. This continued to grow Penny’s following, and she found her footing as an influencer. As Penny grew her second brand, she started running bigger events and quickly found herself in charge of large fashion shows for Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales. At the end of 2020, Penny sold Jolie GOtique so she could focus on fashion shows. Running these lucrative shows involved two weeks of high-energy, fast-paced work that Penny thrived on. A one-woman powerhouse, she would select the models, put the lookbooks together, style the models, then run and MC the shows.
On March 12, 2020, Penny hosted her final show in blue gloves and a mask. As we all have come to know, COVID-19 threw fashion retail into a tailspin, and entire teams of event planners and industry veterans lost their jobs overnight.
But what’s experience, if not to remind us of what’s possible when we really put our minds to it? With the wrench that COVID-19 had thrown into matters, Penny leaned into opportunity and took a job with HeyMama, a community for working moms who are balancing work, family, and life. Penny quickly proved herself indispensable at HeyMama and has since been promoted to Head of Community. A wonderful lesson in reinvention, Penny’s vibrant personality and love of helping others make her the perfect woman for her role. The lesson for us all? Lean into change, own your passion and creativity, and you will thrive. May we all be a little bit more like Penny.