In addition to high-quality craftsmanship, Shop Good’s Audrey Falk says that every item in their inventory must come with a good story. And it’s only fitting, since this unique clothing and accessories store has a great story itself.
The dream behind Shop Good began with $200 and a borrowed screen-printing press. Audrey and husband Justin began screen-printing t-shirts with social justice themes to sell at local events. “Justin and I have always been involved in nonprofit work in some way,” Audrey explains. “The value of generosity and hard work for a good purpose has been passed down to us by our parents. But we started to become really interested in finding new ways for charitable work to sustain itself more practically than through direct donations, particularly because most of the efforts we’d been involved in were severely underfunded, understaffed and narrowly focused.”
As shirt sales increased, the Falks added fair-trade international goods to their inventory, including paper bead jewelry from Uganda and hand-dyed fabric from India. “Our products were mostly what you’d expect from a typical fair-trade store, such as handmade items you might spy in a street market in Thailand or South Africa,” Audrey explains. “They were products whose design embodied the exotic locales we were importing them from. Everything came to us through our existing connections with nonprofit work around the world, so the projects and people our sales supported were very personal. And things really took off from there.”
Opening a Storefront
In developing their concept for their retail storefront, the Falks aspired to carry only products that are friendly to the planet and the people upon it—products that their customers could feel good about buying. Originally opened in the Plaza District in November 2009, Shop Good was relocated the following August to its current location just east of Broadway Avenue in the 9th Street district near Automobile Alley.
The Falks work diligently to ensure that all products in the store are produced by a manufacturer with excellent ethical standards—utilizing fairly traded goods and services, healthy working conditions and environmentally responsible production. Customers can check the tags on items in the store to see exactly how their purchase will contribute to a charity or community in Oklahoma City or around the world.
“We’re extremely selective about the social justice products we carry and missions we endorse in order to ensure that each company is tangibly affecting real change in a dignified and responsible manner,” Audrey explains. “You can find almost anything at our shop, including men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, bags, grooming supplies, locally roasted coffee, potted succulents, even prescription eyeglasses. And every item’s been hand-picked by our team for it’s great craftsmanship, everyday value and meaningful story.”
Curating Shop Good
“Since we moved downtown, we’ve defined our own aesthetic, merging generosity and industry more seamlessly—more Midwestern general store and less North African bazaar, more curated and less eclectic,” Audrey notes. “Justin is our buyer, so he spends a lot of time researching and connecting with sources for ethically-made products that are a good fit for our shop. Most of our decision-making is intuitive, but we start by only carrying products that we would use or wear ourselves. Anything in the shop is something we fell in love with and just had to share with our customers.”
Before bringing a product into their store, the Falks work closely with suppliers to ensure that no harm is being caused to people or the planet in the manufacturing process. “Retail ethics are super complicated, so even though our conversations with a supplier involve third-party factory audits and details about raw material sourcing, our decision to buy usually comes down to relationships,” Audrey explains. “We really take time to get to know the people whose products we’re passing along to our customers. Other standards we have for our products are high quality craftsmanship and, of course, a great story.”
Many of Shop Good’s most popular T-shirts are designed and hand printed by the Falks, or designed in collaboration with local artists. “Our T-shirt designs are inspired by local art, Okie culture and our Thunder obsession,” Audrey says. Customer favorites include their classic OKC Thunder shirt and the Downtown Transit shirt ($24 each).
Shop Good is also a showroom for Warby Parker Eyewear, an online company that provides custom, vintage-inspired prescription eyewear ($95). For every pair purchased, Warby Parker donates a pair to an individual who doesn’t have access to quality eye care and whose life will be changed by the ability to see.
Audrey also names their Smell Good Daily Tonic ($28) for men as a customer favorite, especially in the Tobacco and Smoky Fig scents. “It’s subtle and earthy enough to avoid pretentiousness, but plenty robust that one spray does the trick.”
Shop Good’s exclusive jute-and-leather Oklahoma City market bag ($68) is handmade by artisans in Bangladesh working to build a better community. “It’s one of adds. “We love that it’s sturdy enough to haul groceries on our walks to our neighbors at Native Roots Market, without sacrificing style.”
Giving Back Locally
For those items in the store that aren’t intrinsically connected to a charitable cause, Shop Good gives 5 percent of the sale price back to the local community. The store’s current local nonprofit partner is Positive Tomorrows, the only private, tuition-free school for children who are homeless in Oklahoma City. “Positive Tomorrows is a place of hope for kids who are living in chaos, and the staff there is committed to giving these young ones and their families all the tools they need to get back on their feet and transition back to public school successfully,” Audrey says. “The work this small but passionate group of people is doing is absolutely revolutionary. And we are thrilled to be able to be a part of it through the support of our customers.” Over the last eight months, Shop Good has donated nearly $7,000 to Positive Tomorrows.
The Future of Shop Good
As the store looks to the future, they hope to expand both their sales team and inventory, and to continue offering quality products that support good causes in our community and across the globe. “We hope that in five years our charitable contributions will be at least five times what they are now,” Audrey concludes. “But no matter how big we grow, we’re committed to keeping our mom-and-pop shop feel. You’ll always be able to get friendly service and score something one-of-a-kind or hard-to-find at Shop Good.”
“Our products now reflect over thirty different charitable causes that are supported by our customers’ purchases. We feel so proud of the collection we’ve pieced together and so thankful for our loyal customers who’ve supported us throughout every transition, keeping us grounded to our mission: to make looking great a little friendlier and giving back a little simpler.”
3 NW 9th Street, OKC
Open Monday–Saturday, 11am–9pm
What do customers say most? “Our customers are so enthusiastic about our merchandise and about doing something good. Our usual conversations with them are either about choosing the perfect gift for someone they love or about one of the causes we support.”
Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor and Online Content Manager at MetroFamily Magazine.