For Madhappy, it’s been a short journey covering a lot of ground.
The four cofounders have created a business with an upbeat message, a growing community of young followers, ties to charities and a pop-up strategy that takes the format to a new level.
The latest pop-up opens Sunday at 446 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking neighborhood of Manhattan. The monthlong installation encompasses 4,400 square feet on the ground floor and has a 3,000-square-foot rooftop.
“We’re giving people several reasons to come to the space. It’s about experiencing something, not just having something to buy,” said Joshua Sitt, one of the cofounders of Madhappy along with celebrity stylist Noah Raf, Peiman Raf and Mason Spector. Chuck Bennett designs the line.
“It’s gallery-inspired, very minimal with a big focus on colorblocking and light play. Mark Rothko was a big influence for the design of the space. We want the space to feel very inviting and welcoming, as opposed to cold like some galleries are.” Colored walls will act as frames for clothing installations, and there will be a “I am Madhappy” area for people to take pictures and express themselves.
Among the fund-raising activities, events and collaborations at the pop up will be Y7 yoga classes; a day with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New York and food from Sweetgreen, the healthy fast food chain. The pop-up will also support Lunges4lungs, a foundation for the fight against cystic fibrosis, and SOS, the upcoming web site getting launched by Olivia Perez and Joe Holder creating a centralized system for charity work.
The year-old Madhappy brand offers “comfortable streetwear. It’s fashion you can go out in at night and wear in the day. It’s versatile,” said Sitt, a Georgetown University senior and son of Joe Sitt, chief executive officer of Thor Equities real estate firm.
The product line is growing and includes hoodies, T-shirts, baseball caps, shorts, sweatpants and a denim jacket style. New hoodie styles are being added, and Sitt says, “I love the idea of sneakers,” mentioning one of the considerations for the future. Prices range from $33 for a cap to $120 for sweatshirts.
“It’s about spreading a positive vibe,” said Sitt, discussing the brand message. “It’s all about making people feel comfortable, both with the clothes being extremely comfortable but also making the person feel comfortable enough to be themselves in their daily expression. We use the peace sign in a lot in this collection as a reflection of the current times in the world and our aim to bring people together as much as possible both with clothing and with our events.”
It’s also about revealing to followers what’s going on day-to-day at the company, almost as if they were insiders, by constantly pushing content through social media such as Instagram and Snapchat.
“We want to spread a positive message to everyone, focus on connectiveness and provide easy access to all of us at the company,” Sitt said. That way people can learn about the brand and also receive advice on how they might manage their own ventures, he said.
The brand is sold via the Madhappy web site, pop-ups, Instagram and some retailers including Colette in Paris.
Madhappy’s first pop-up was a 13,000-square-foot space opened from the end of last June to the end of last July, on North Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles. The project and its creation was documented in five-minute videos in stages, from painting the space and putting up a wall of hats, to having customers write notes on another wall about what makes them happy. “It put a face to the brand, it was entertaining, and it was about educating and connecting with our followers,” Sitt said. “People who are not part of the company could feel connected. We promote easy access to the cofounders. We e-mail back inquiries and will guide people in their own entrepreneurial ventures.
“As we get bigger and bigger, it will be tougher and tougher,” to maintain close connections to all followers. “But there will always be ways for us to connect with customers — one way or the other.”
While Madhappy is a curious name for a brand, Sitt believes it’s something each person can interpret individually. But he thinks it captures “the essence of life, its ups and downs, and realizing that the lows make the highs that much more pronounced.”