Are you looking for beauty and a contemporary style in your clothing? Bernstein & Gold is the place for you! They have a fabulous selection of fashions, accessories, footwear, and beauty products. As part of Women's History Month, Claudia, co-owner of Bernstein & Gold along with Erin, shares her story and her business.

Bernstein & Gold

 

Bernstein & Gold is a beautiful women’s clothing store, owned by Claudia Knoglinger and Erin Cooper and established in 1992. They offer a wonderful selection of designer and lifestyle brands from around the world, including jewellery, footwear, leather goods, and skincare products. If you’re looking for clothing in a contemporary, trend-conscious style, this is the place for you!

 

Store manager, Zoe Breen, and Claudia. Photo by Ariel Glidden

 

What is your background?

“Originally I am from Salzburg, Austria, and immigrated with my family to Victoria when I was a teenager. My background is in Fashion Design and Marketing, I went to school in Seattle and started my first manufacturing/wholesale business in Victoria when I was 21 years old. I gravitated to design because I wanted to be creative and be around like-minded people. Being in the wholesale business was a natural catalyst to opening up our first retail clothing boutique.”

 

Photo by Ariel Glidden

 

What made you want to open your business?

“Creating at least 2 collections or more a year and the idea of having a permanent outlet, opened my eyes to retail and the benefits of having my own retail business with not just my own collection but also other fashionable and amazing brands at the time.”

 

For someone who hasn’t been to Bernstein & Gold before, what is your business? What makes it special?

“We have always referred to Bernstein & Gold as a “lifestyle” boutique. We curate our collections in a way that offers something for every part of your life. From work to home to leisure. We try to offer interesting, fashionable smaller brands and labels that you wouldn’t necessarily find elsewhere. Paired with our Eminence Spa in the back and our well-curated apothecary section, we hope to satisfy many needs and wants in one stop.”

 

Photo by Ariel Glidden

 

What inspires you?

“I take a lot of inspiration from my customers, travels, and the quest for an uncomplicated lifestyle. And truly it is all about lifestyle. I am deeply inspired by Scandinavian style, and the effortless ease they bring to their designs. We are always looking for new silhouettes and materials that not only feel good but are easy to wear and have a chic flare.”

 

A beautiful floral display made by Rook & Rose. Photo by Ariel Glidden

 

Why downtown?

“It is the pulse of every city and our downtown is very special because it is fairly small and easy to navigate. Our core is predominantly small business and there is nothing quite like it anywhere on the west coast. With unique artisans and small business owners steps from each other and no domineering department stores, Downtown Victoria offers a unique personalized experience.”

 

Photo by Ariel Glidden

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business? What would you like to have known before you opened yours?

“Be prepared to give it your all and work harder than you ever have. Not only do you have to be flexible and willing to jump in wherever you are needed but you will also give up a lot of your personal time. Be prepared to ask for help and invest in the experts, because you can’t know and do everything yourself. Even though you want to.”

 

Photo by Ariel Glidden

 

How to find Bernstein & Gold:

Bernstein & Gold is located at 608 Yates Street and is open for shopping seven days a week. They can be reached by phone at 250-384-7899 or by email at info@bernsteinandgold.com. You can find them online on their website, including an online shop, on Facebook, and on Instagram!

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