Q&A: HATCH Founder and CEO Ariane Goldman

Headshot of Ariane Goldman, HATCH CEO
Ariane Goldman, Founder and CEO of HATCH

Ariane Goldman is used to life-changing events informing her retail brands. Goldman’s professional career began at American Express, where she worked in the marketing department. In 2007, Goldman left to launch Twobirds New York, a collection of bridesmaids’ dresses designed to be wrapped in more than 15 ways to flatter women of all shapes and sizes. In 2010, Goldman was pregnant with her first child when she grew frustrated by the lack of stylish wardrobe options for expecting women. Seeing yet another void in the market, she created HATCH — chic, timeless pieces women could invest in during pregnancy and continue to wear afterward. What began as a line of classics has evolved into a full lifestyle assortment, featuring ready-to-wear, intimates, accessories and beauty embraced by celebrities (Emily Blunt, Natalie Portman and Kerry Washington), royals (Meghan Markle) and everyday mothers-to-be.

Focused on developing the HATCH retail presence throughout the United States, Goldman is currently intent on creating a physical community space that provides education, information and connection for expecting mothers and all women in its flagship locations in New York City and Los Angeles.

What led you to retail entrepreneurship?

With both Twobirds and with HATCH, I had a need that no one else seemed to be filling. I became engaged while working at American Express — I was early in my career, finding myself managing more and more people and not using my creative side. That changed when I went shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses. Like a lot of other brides, my bridesmaids represented different body types. There was nothing out there to make my girlfriends feel beautiful and look great without spending a lot of money. So, I found the fabric and had the dresses made.

The reaction was amazing and after the lightbulb went on, I quit my job and started Twobirds from my apartment. It was born out of a simple concept — one dress that can be wrapped endless different ways and worn over and over again. Women can wear our convertible wrap styles 15 different ways, so they’re truly the gifts that keep on giving. Recently we’ve added occasion and swim lines that carry the same ethos of our bridal collection. Our showroom and headquarters are located in [New York], but we also have an at-home sample try-on program. We also sell pocket squares and ties for groomsmen. We have global distribution across multiple channels — more than 100 bridal boutiques across the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, direct-to-customers worldwide ecommerce for special occasion, swim and bridal, and through retailers like BHLDN and Rent the Runway.

What about HATCH?

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, Charlie, I was frustrated by the lack of clothing options available to women like me. I wanted to celebrate all the wonderful changes my body was experiencing during pregnancy, not hide behind my bump. I wanted to feel confident, comfortable and stylish. There wasn’t a maternity line speaking to me at the time, so I decided to create a brand that could help women feel the most like them during this special, but also slightly terrifying, moment in their lives.

What describes the HATCH customer? How do they influence what you design and manufacture?

Because many of our HATCH employees are mothers themselves and have experienced pregnancy and all the magic and stress that comes with it, we feel like we understand our customer and what she needs. We know she’s someone who cares about what she wears and takes pride in her personal style, but doesn’t want to stress over it. Our job is to provide her with easy solutions before she knows she needs them.

There is so much noise and information in the pregnancy space, and we want to streamline that for her and offer her timeless essentials, both in fashion and beauty, that she can invest in and enjoy for years to come. Our clothing is wearable, easy and helps her get out the door with one less thing to worry about.

What did you have in mind to offer?

We want our customer to feel beautiful, confident and that she shouldn’t have to sacrifice her sense of style or point of view simply because she’s pregnant. All of our styles — whether they’re bodycon looks, flowy, drapey pieces or our amazing denim silhouettes — follow the same ethos of fitting specifically to a woman’s body as she embarks on the changes ahead of her. She should celebrate her changing body with clothing she loves that supports her during the journey and afterward.

You’re working with Current Elliott on an exclusive denim collection. Are there any other collaborations on the horizon?

We launched our denim collection with Current Elliott in June 2016. It’s been a great way to offer our customer easy, comfortable denim pieces that can round out her wardrobe and offer her stylish solutions throughout pregnancy and in the months following. We don’t have any collaborations to name at this time, but we’re always keeping eyes open to new opportunities when it feels right.

You mentioned you want to stay connected with your customer before, during and after. How do you do that?

We stay connected with her by offering her valuable support and information — whether through our expert series, panels and discussions at our retail stores, or through our online content destination. The HATCH woman knows we have her back throughout her journey as she navigates the ins and outs of her new life as a mama.

Can you talk about the flagship stores in New York and Los Angeles? What’s the vibe and how do the physical stores help you stay connected?

Our lifestyle stores are a physical extension of the HATCH brand. It’s where women can come in and get styled in our latest clothing collections or peruse our mama-safe beauty essentials, or treat themselves to some sweets from our Cravings Bar. They can also pop in for an expert discussion, panel series or a fun event featuring female entrepreneurs. It’s intimate, friendly and supportive, and we hope they not only shop with us but come to connect with other women experiencing the same roller coaster they’re on.

Can you share any next steps?

We want to be where our woman is, so for us that might mean standalone retail stores in key markets throughout the U.S. There aren’t any specific areas under consideration at this time. I can say, however, that we are currently building out a new online lifestyle destination that we are very excited about. We’re also eyeing opportunities to expand our retail presence in some key destinations to reach more HATCH women where they live.

Janet Groeber has covered all aspects of the retail industry for more than 20 years. Her reporting has appeared in AdWeek and DDI Magazine, among others.