There may be a slew of empty storefronts on Bleecker Street but that didn’t stop Goodlife from doubling down on the street.
The essentials brand, which was founded by industry veteran Chris Molnar in 2014, has opened its first flagship at 375 Bleecker Street. The 1,000-square-foot boutique replaces a smaller location at 400 Bleecker that had been operating since 2019.
“The other store was sub-500 square feet and was essentially a T-shirt shop,” Molnar said. And while its Ts remain the core of the business, representing 80 percent of sales, Goodlife has expanded into several other categories including swimwear, shorts, pants, women’s wear and some collaborative products from Wm. Brown for shirts and Bamford for watches.
“We now have a growing women’s business and our brand awareness is increasing so we needed more space,” said Molnar, who worked for Michael Kors, John Varvatos and WP Lavori before creating Goodlife.
Although he took possession of the space in early August, shipping and construction delays due to the pandemic pushed the opening back to this week.
The store features a green botanical ceiling, photography by Ted Gushue and House of Spoils, custom pottery by Wyatt Little and a limited-edition, co-branded hat by Mad Tasty CBD water. It also showcases handbags from Sharkchaser, an Italian brand known for its built-in cellphone radiation-blocking technology. There is also a private garden in the rear of the store where Molnar said he plans to host parties and events.
Goodlife also operates a store at Hudson Yards as well as units in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Austin, Tex., but is considering this location its flagship, he said. “We needed to evolve the concept so we can replicate it. By the second quarter, we should have six stores, but we’re growing methodically and will open in cities where we have strong e-commerce business.” That includes top-end malls such as Fashion Square in Scottsdale where sales have been especially strong.
On all his retail locations, Molnar uses Leap, a business that works with direct-to-consumer brands to open physical locations, finding the locations, building and designing the stores and staffing them. “Our relationship has matured and we now know what markets will be good for us,” he said.
In addition to d-to-c, Goodlife also has a wholesale business with Nordstrom, Saks.com and a handful of specialty stores.