A neighborhood love story
Like a lot of love stories, In Good Co. owners Kait McKenna and Emily (Em) Radkowski’s began four years ago with the help of a wingwoman. In this case (and in very 21st century fashion), the wingwoman was Bumble.
After living in Boston for years and finding that dating women in the city wasn’t easy, they both enlisted the help of a dating app. While Em was open to meeting anyone, anywhere, Kait set her location radius to only one mile away because she didn’t want to leave Southie, she says. Em has a different take: “She targeted me!”
Their first date was at North Square Oyster. Although Em had dated women before, her unusual nerves indicated that this one was different. Nothing calms the nerves like some oysters and wine—although it might have had the opposite effect in this case, because Kait was not a fan of the oysters Em ordered. Thankfully, it clearly wasn’t a deal breaker, seeing as they just got engaged at the end of July.
Kait knew that she wanted to propose first and knew that Bethany Beach, DE, where Em’s family vacations every year, was the place to do it. They had talked about getting engaged and had been designing rings with private jeweler Hannah Florman, but neither knew when the other would propose.
After recruiting some helpers from Em’s family, Kait devised a plan. While Em was getting ready for “dinner,” Kait would escape. Em would be told that one of her sisters was sick and that she should go check her and Kait’s bedroom to see if she was in there, where she would be welcomed with music playing, sunflowers, and a note from Kait that said, Meet me at the beach.
Once she got to the top of the dune, she saw a setup of her favorite blooms—sunflowers. She was so eager to get there, she took the wrong ramp and had to walk a 50-meter long “walk of shame” while crying happily. Spoiler alert: Em said yes, and the entire beach filled with family and strangers erupted in cheers.
As if a proposal didn’t create enough excitement and additional things to their plate, the Southie locals had just opened up their new gift store the month before, making this one of their most meaningful summers yet. But they’re undeterred: as Kait says, “We knew we had to go all in!”
Both women grew up in small business families and loved the community and creativity that came with it. The pandemic allowed them to work on their communication, vulnerability, and discussion of values and priorities. Between Kait’s idea, the moral support from a therapist and Em, and a storefront on Broadway that they couldn’t resist, the small business wheels got turning in January and In Good Co. was born in June!
Although the store wouldn’t exist without the two of them, “Kait is definitely the CEO of our small business and I like to say that I’ve been executive employee of the month for the last three months,” Em said. While Kait left the interior design world to provide a comforting, familiar face for customers, she clearly hasn’t lost her touch. The small but vibrant store is covered wall-to-wall with pinks, blues and yellows, a mural and personal touches, like the bookshelf that pays homage to her grandfather who owned his own bookstore. Though Em still has a full-time job, she pops in on the weekends or after work while walking their dog.
Their mission is to provide a safe space for their customers and to learn the names and stories of those who come in to not only make them feel seen and a part of the In Good Co. community, but to help rebuild Southie through neighborhood connection. The store represents more than just women selling individualized gifts such as graphic tees, bath bombs, spices, handcrafted earrings and other lifestyle products. Kids walking by on the street are able to point out the rainbow flags that are in the store, and customers feel comfortable talking to them about their own experiences. To Kait and Em, the fact that they are two LGBTQ+ women who own a business means everything.
“Both of our roads to this moment, and this conversation talking to you, weren’t always the best roads. It was hard to come out, it was hard to be public about our personal lives and our professional lives,” Em says. “There were so many things that made life feel challenging at times but we’re here today, coming out into the community and inviting the community into our lives. We want to be a place where people can feel safe and they can come talk to us about anything and just know—you’re in good company, right? That’s the whole point.”
To join the In Good Co. community, visit the store Wednesday-Sunday at 653 E Broadway or their website. And while we await Em’s proposal, be sure to follow them on Instagram.
Image via In Good Company on Instagram
Megan Klein is a freelance writer and recent Boston University graduate who works as a Client Services Associate for the Boston Red Sox. She loves making small world connections when meeting new people, going to Trader Joe’s and capturing the life of Boston locals through her writing.
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