The Greats SoHo

NEW YORK — Another direct-to-consumer brand is expanding its retail footprint.

Greats, which was founded by Ryan Babenzien in 2013, will open its first store here at 42 Crosby Street on Friday. The 500-square-foot store, which was designed by architect Ben Uyeda and built over the span of a month, features paper lanterns, undulating walls, a wooden swing and an area for seating. The shop is stocked with the brand’s men’s and women’s footwear collection.

For bigger brands, brick-and-mortar retail is constricting. But Mark Holcomb, head of public relations, said for Greats, which recently opened a shop in Venice, Calif., and operates a showroom lounge in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, these small buildouts have helped with brand awareness and product testing. The space will also be used for thought-leadership panels, artist meet-and-greets and what the brand is calling “Yappy Hour,” where dogs are welcome.

The store will open with a Dyne footwear collaboration. Christopher Bevans, who designs Dyne, has worked on the Pronto runner silhouette and it will come in two colorways with reflective 3M accents and Dyne ribbon heel tabs. They retail for $240. Greats will also release its first women’s collaboration with Cynthia Rowley on April 26.

Greats has expanded significantly since launching. In 2016, it started distributing select styles to Nordstrom and hired a new design director, Charley Hudak, to help the company refine its delivery schedule. They also brought on Trey Laird, chairman and chief creative officer at Laird + Partners who is known for working with brands ranging from Tommy Hilfiger to Tom Ford, to join the board and help with visual communications.

Last May, Greats raised $10 million in a Series B round of financing. JH Partners, which also invests in companies including Bare Escentuals, Alex and Ani and J.McLaughlin, led the round with additional investment from Eric Zinterhofer of Searchlight Capital Partners, Resolute Ventures and retired NFL star Adrian Wilson, among others. Greats raised a $4 million Series A in 2015 and a seed round of $1.5 million in 2014.

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