- Lively is a lingerie, swimwear, and fragrance startup launched by Victoria’s Secret alum Michelle Cordeiro Grant in 2016.
- The retailer sells more than 50 different types of bras, including bralettes, t-shirt bras, push-up bras, and plunge bras. Each one costs $US35.
- On Wednesday, it opened its first store in New York.
Lively is making its first foray into brick-and-mortar retail. On Wednesday, the online bra company, which also sells swimwear and fragrances, opened a permanent location in New York City.
“This is a first,” founder and CEO Michelle Cordeiro Grant told Business Insider during an interview at the new location in Nolita.
Cordeiro Grant has been testing the waters with brick-and-mortar retail over the past few months. What started as a happy hour in the company’s offices where customers could come and try on products evolved into pop-ups in Dallas and Nashville and, now, a permanent location.
“People were so hungry when we did something in real life. Every time it came to close the store, people were in tears. Whether it was our team or the local community, we had all fallen in love and this thing was shutting down,” she said.
The company is taking advantage of the so-called retail apocalypse’s store closings and lower rents to open locations in prime areas. Cordeiro Grant said that Lively saved 30% on its rent in the new space because of this. She added that the expansion into stores was a natural progression for the business.
“I always knew it was going to be an omnichannel ecosystem. I knew we had to start with digital first and work out how we needed to tell our story,” she said.
Its new brick-and-mortar presence makes it more of a threat to Victoria’s Secret, which has struggled in recent years. Cordeiro Grant, a former exec of the legacy lingerie chain, confirmed that fans can expect to see more stores opening soon – Dallas and Los Angeles are likely to come next, she said.
We visited the New York store in the run-up to its opening on Wednesday, July 25. Take a look:
The new store is located close to New York’s busy Soho shopping area.
From the outside, it looks trendy and uncluttered.
The Lively brand was built on social media. New products are created based on feedback from its Instagram and Facebook followers, which Cordeiro Grant refers to as her “community.”
Part of the company’s negotiation with the landlords was based on this community and the events it will offer.
“It wasn’t about typical metrics at all,” she said. “It was about that fact that we are going to make this block what you want it to be.”
Although it is 2,700 square feet in size, only a small part of the space is kept for the actual products.
Its minimalist and roomy store layout leaves space for events.
“We purposefully call it our Lively experience store,” Cordeiro Grant explained.
“It’s bringing marketing and retailing together,” she said. The company wants shoppers to come in, experience the product, and spread the word on social media.
The limited selection not only allows space for events but also creates a more simple shopping experience.
There are 40 different styles stocked in the store. It does not function in the same way as a guideshop such as Bonobos, for example, which means that customers can shop there and then.
“We know that women, especially, like instant gratification,” Cordeiro Grant said.
Lively recently branched out into swimwear and fragrances. All of these products have set prices, too: bikinis cost $US45, a one-piece costs $US65, and its fragrance costs $US55.
In an interview with Business Insider in May, Cordeiro Grant said that these items won’t ever be discounted.
“We don’t do sales, we don’t do markdowns,” she said in May. “Our pricing is simple.”
The goal is to build a cult following of customers who want to shop the brand long-term rather than be lured in by discounts in the short term.
“If you have women that love your brand for what it stands for and they are so enamoured by the price, they share and shout that for you,” she said. “The flipside of that is [there could be] customers that only come to you for the price, and only come back to you for deals.”
70% of the bras are wireless. However, there was a small selection of wired bras in store.
New products will be offered at this location a month before they officially launch online. This not only gives people an incentive to come but also allows the brand to get instant feedback on new products.
When customers enter the store, a sales assistant will ask their typical bra size and advise them on what size and style they should try here.
While there is no measuring service, customers can book a styling appointment to have more of a one-to-one service.
At the back of the store is an area for customers to relax.
For Cordeiro Grant, one of the biggest benefits of opening pop-ups has been to see the breadth of her customer base.
“Our data shows our customer is aged 18 to 55, but when you are in the store you really feel it,” she said. “You see mums and daughters both buying together. We are seeing that we are actually not acquiring customers – we are acquiring households.”
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