Digital-born brand Lively is expanding its off-line presence — but with an Instagram mind-set. On July 25, the body positive “leisurée” company will open the doors to its first physical store in SoHo.
Lively was founded “for women based on community,” according to founder and chief executive officer Michelle Cordeiro Grant, and launched online in April 2016 with bras and underwear. Grant said the styles were mostly inspired by swimwear and ath-leisure — “those were the types of products people were proud to wear outwardly, like on a Saturday” — which is how she came up with the term “leisurée,” a blend of ath-leisure and lingerie.
The same year of launch, Grant and her team embarked on a pop-up series. Using data collected from social media and surveys to determine the locations, Lively made two-week stops in SoHo, Dallas and Nashville. Grant found that the pop-ups translated to digital transactions. Lively’s online sales grew by 175 percent in the city of Dallas and 80 percent in the state of Texas following the Dallas leg.
The SoHo shop is located at 224 Mulberry Street, with products ranging from $35 to $65. The store is 2,700 square feet, but according to Grant, product only occupies about 30 percent of the space, leaving room for the events — and shareable moments — she plans to host in-store.
“Some [events] are fitness activities, a hip-hop class, we have the launch of a book with a book reading, entrepreneurship panels, DIY calligraphy, watercolor, we have everything that our community has said they wanted to learn or do or partake in,” she said. “The average time spent in our store right now is 20 minutes to an hour, which is insane. A woman actually came and swung on our chairs and ate her lunch. We weren’t even open yet.”
Grant plans on collecting data from the SoHo store to determine future retail locations, and is already thinking of opening in Los Angeles and Dallas. She and her team are based in New York, which is why they decided on a SoHo shop for their brick-and-mortar debut.
“It’s important that we start to cover the ends of the country but then work our way in,” she said.
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