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By Norb Garrett
Jessica Van Olst knew she had to do something.
She and her husband, Eric, had just relocated their family to San Clemente from Moraga, a town in San Francisco’s East Bay area, down to Southern California shortly after California’s first stay-at-home order was announced in March 2020.
The mother of three teenagers was antsy for a new career challenge.
“I knew I needed to start something,” said Van Olst, a working mom who has spent her career in media sales for magazines and newspapers. “My kids are in middle school, and I’m at the point in my life where I needed to do my own thing.”
Being at home during the COVID-19 pandemic gave her time to conceptualize a business plan and research market opportunities in and around San Clemente. She arrived at a “beach lifestyle” concept catering to women in which moms and daughters could shop together in a stylish, modern store featuring ocean-inspired, environmentally friendly products.
“I envisioned a shop for women that offers swimsuits and clothing that is approachable but with high-quality products and competitive pricing,” said Van Olst.
In August, she launched a website and online store featuring an array of products, and by December was encouraged enough by its success that she decided to open a brick-and-mortar store in town.
She opened Coastal Karma at the Outlets at San Clemente on March 16, saying she is thrilled by its initial success. The store offers bathing suits, beach bags, cover-ups, resort apparel and ocean-related gifts such as candles, jewelry and towels.
Supporting local, ocean-related charities is critical to her vision for the business, she said. All of her products, she added, are eco-friendly and capture the San Clemente ethos.
“Everything reflects the beach lifestyle,” she said. “What started as a direct sales/website play for moms has turned into a business that I believe can thrive.”
Coastal Karma is located at 101 W. Avenida Vista Hermosa, within the Outlets at San Clemente. The store can be reached at 949.535.2323. Additional information can be found on its website at shopcoastalkarma.com.