By  on December 12, 2011

NEW YORK — Five years ago, Jay Godfrey decided to leave his job as a trader at Citibank to start a ready-to-wear business. “I was always told to be bold,” he said. “It was an extremely bold move. It’s probably a risk I could have afforded to do then, because I wasn’t married and didn’t have a child.”

Godfrey is now preparing to open his first store, another risky move. His finance degree from Montreal’s McGill University has helped, he said. Godfrey, whose wholesale business will be $5 million in 2011, is financing the store and its construction “through our existing business. Banks have been helping us out. I’m putting some of my own money in, too.”

The store, a 1,500-square-foot unit at 810 Washington Street in the Meatpacking District, is just beneath the High Line. It’s expected to do $1 million in first-year sales. Godfrey’s wholesale accounts include Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

“The space pays homage to the High Line,” Godfrey said. “We have the underside of a railroad as part of the ceiling. I want to keep all of that exposed.” Godfrey found his architect, MR, in Architectural Digest. The firm had designed an apartment for a bachelor. “It was a raw space that was incredibly sensual,” Godfrey said. “Cowhides and all different furs.” MR has also designed stores for Tory Burch, J.Mendel and Christian Dior.

“I wanted to have a juxtaposition between raw elements such as exposed cinder blocks, exposed brickwork and cement floors and extremely polished black chrome fixtures,” Godfrey said. Midcentury modern furniture will be mixed with Fifties Saarinen chairs.

Godfrey, who’s carved a niche for himself as a contemporary dress resource, has a way with color. For example, there’s his color-blocked kimono sleeve dress in red and pink for $395 and a Bardot mesh yolk peplum dress, $320.

“We’re broadening the line to become a fuller collection,” Godfrey said. “We will have tops, blouses, skirts, pants and jackets. I’ve been dabbling in costume jewelry for a while in a very small way, so I’ll be including costume jewelry and scarves. The logical next step is to show the brand in its entirety.”

Jay Godfrey will be next door to Intermix, which opened in September. “I looked all over Manhattan and what it came down to for me was the adjacencies to other brands that my customer incorporates into her lifestyle.”

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