After crisscrossing the U.S. over the last six years with more than 20 pop-up outposts in major cities, Madhappy, a Los Angeles clothing brand embracing mental health and well-being, has unveiled its first permanent store on tony Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood.
At 2,800 square feet, this is more than just a store. It’s a gathering space to hang out, drink coffee, chat with friends and reflect inside the “Local Optimist Space,” an area for relaxation and contemplation while viewing a rotation of artistic collaborators designing audiovisual experiences for people. For the brand’s first collaboration, it is working with Canadian electronic artist Dylan Khotin-Foote, known for his ambient pieces.
Peiman Raf, one of the brand’s four cofounders and the company’s chief executive officer, said Madhappy has wanted to open a flagship in its hometown for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down. And the brand didn’t want to be just anywhere. “It was a pretty tall task to find something because we wanted to do something a little bit different,” he explained. “We also wanted to be in an area that felt connected to the brand already.”
A while back, Madhappy had a short-term space on Melrose Avenue and knew it was a good, busy retail zone. “We initially found a space, but we honestly didn’t love it, but there was nothing else available,” Raf said.
Then a gelato store closed its doors at 8906 Melrose Avenue, next door to Madhappy’s recent pop-up venue. It was a perfect fit along the highly trafficked restaurant and retail row near Palace Skateboards, Craig’s, Ganni, Acne Studios and Maxfield.
It has taken almost a year to get the outpost designed and all the building permits and inspections approved. Madhappy worked with creative studio PlayLab Inc. whose offices are across the street from Madhappy’s headquarters in L.A.’s Arts District. The studio was tasked with creating a conversation pit for visitors to hang out, the “Local Optimist Space,” as well as a large open-air courtyard.
In addition, there is a café concept called Pantry by Madhappy with offerings from local and global culinary partners including Courage Bagels, Gjusta Bakery, Beverly Hills Juice, and pantry goods from Jon & Vinny’s eatery.
The location will stock Madhappy’s assortment of T-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, sweaters, jackets, puffer vests, scarves, baseball caps and socks, with prices ranging from $36 to $325. About 80 to 85 percent of the merchandise is manufactured in Los Angeles. Also available will be the second Ugg x Madhappy footwear collection.
Madhappy has been on an upward swing since it was founded in 2017 by four friends: Raf, his brother Noah Raf, Mason Spector and Joshua Sitt. They decided to build a brand centered around positivity and encourage optimism through connection. It was counter to many streetwear brands that took on a dark, sometimes nihilistic vibe.
In 2019, LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton invested $1.8 million in the venture, which helped fund many things, including more than 20 pop-up stores across the country for a customer whose average age is between 18 and 35. With its first permanent store now up and running, Madhappy plans to expand to Japan next year after having a shop within a shop recently inside the Dover Street Market store in Tokyo.