It’s been a whirlwind five years for Chris Molnar.
The apparel industry veteran of Michael Kors, John Varvatos and WP Lavori in Corso created Goodlife Clothing in 2014, a men’s premium basics brand whose T-shirts, Henleys and sweats are now sold at all Nordstrom and Trunk Club locations, as well as several specialty stores, a variety of upscale resorts, and online.
But Molnar is now taking the brand into its next phase, opening its first brick-and-mortar store and expanding into women’s wear.
In November, Goodlife will open its first store, at 400 Bleecker Street in the West Village. It will measure around 400 to 500 square feet and will focus on Goodlife’s “hero product,” its premium T-shirts. Although other seasonal merchandise will also be on display in the shop, Molnar said it will be for try-on purposes only. Anyone purchasing the other pieces in-store will have them shipped for free.
“Over 75 percent of our business is our year-round jerseys and terries that are made in L.A.,” Molnar said. “So by focusing on that, we mitigate the risk of having seasonal product on the floor and reduce the inventory we need to carry.”
Molnar is partnering with Leap, a retail firm that has worked with brands from Koio to Naadam, to build, design and staff the store, and the plan is to work with the consultancy to open “upwards of three to five stores by next June,” Molnar said.
“We see an opportunity to expand our footprint,” Molnar said, “and having our own brick-and-mortar store is the logical first step. We look at it as a place for people to discover the brand and see that we’re more than just basics.”
For holiday, Goodlife will continue to offer sweaters made from baby alpaca from Peru and will also offer a capsule of swimwear, accessories and Ts with artist Erik Skoldberg of San Diego that will be available in the store, online and at Art Basel in Miami. The brand will also partner for the second time with SeaVees for men’s and women’s footwear that will launch on Nov. 1, and in March will unveil a new watch collaboration with Bamford London on a co-branded Mayfair Sport model. Its swimwear assortment has made it a popular choice for resorts around the country, Molnar said.
“Our wholesale business is growing in the triple digits,” he said, “and we’re having a lot of success in the resort channel. We’ll be in over 50 high-end resorts for spring with our swimwear and replenishment jerseys.”
Molnar is perhaps most excited about the women’s launch, which he expects “to be huge for us. Some 15 to 20 percent of our customer list is women.”
He said the assortment will initially be small and will center around “boyfriend Ts” that will be sold online and in the Goodlife store. There will also be two alpaca sweaters created for holiday. “Then we’ll move into wholesale for spring or fall of ’20.”
Molnar said that as of now, Goodlife is still raising funds privately to pay for these expansions. “We’ve been talking to venture capitalists and private equity firms, but for right now, we’re still raising money privately,” he said. “It helps us keep control of our own destiny.”