Known primarily for a laid-back, soft-spun California beachy chic, the fashion brand Marine Layer is trying their hand at a new expansion in retail as Airbnb landlords.
According to Chain Store Age, the California-based retailer has opened a series of Airbnb apartments above several of its store locations and expects to open their latest set in the next week or so. Those apartments will be found above the brand's New Orleans outpost. The firm is also looking to expand further, with locations in Washington D.C., Austin and New York all reportedly under consideration for the next shop/apartments combo.
The apartments, besides being located above Marine Layer locations, are also decorated to speak to the brand's general retro-beach aesthetic. The spaces come stocked with old-fashioned board games (think Monopoly and Life) and the walls are hung with novelty wallpaper and festooned with Polaroid snapshots. Even the furniture is retro.
According to Racked, reviewers have used terms like “hipster cool” and noted the spaces are “like you stepped into a time machine and went to Jim Morrison’s Hollywood bungalow back in ’68.”
Company founder Michael Natenshon told Racked.com, “We’re in an age where the traditional rules of retail and apparel don’t apply anymore, and so brands have to think about new and different ways to connect with their customer. Ultimately, we want customers to come into stores to buy clothes, but this is also an opportunity for people to engage with Marine Layer beyond the stores. It’s a next-step evolution.”
The move, the firm's leadership notes, was not out of need — Marine Layer’s 34 stores across the country are reportedly profitable and the company’s sales grew 50 percent from 2016 to 2017.
But the space is changing, and Natenshon says he wants his brand to be riding out ahead of the changing tastes in the marketplace instead of attempting to chase them. The goal, he said, is not just for the brand to survive, but to actually thrive.