The apparel company Marine Layer is expanding its Airbnb loft project, with plans to open a new apartment and Nashville store that aims to create a unique brand experience that pays homage to the company's beachcomber vibe and e-commerce heritage.
The California-based clothier opened its third loft above its New Orleans store in March for $200 a night. The company also offers lofts for rent in Portland, Ore., (currently being renovated) and Chicago ($300/night). The fourth location in Nashville is scheduled to open this summer.
Mike Natenshon, co-founder of Marine Layer, said he and his partner Adam Lynch decided to offer apartments for rent above their stores as a way to sell an experience along with their super-soft T-shirts.
"It was a great way to experience the lifestyle beyond the store," said Natenshon in an interview Thursday on Cheddar.
Natenshon founded Marine Layer in 2009 as a one-man enterprise, with the mission of creating the world's softest T-shirt. He and his friend Lynch started by selling their tees out of the back of a van. Once they outgrew their '69 VW bus, they started an online-only, direct-to-consumer company e-commerce service.
Almost 10 years and two rounds of funding later, Marine Layer has set up 34 brick-and-mortar shops and raised $3.7 million, according to Crunchbase. Natenshon said he and Lynch decided to open physical stores because they wanted to, "be wherever customers want to shop."
Marine Layer's considered approach ー e-commerce, brick-and-mortar, and AirBnB lofts ー is intended to create a unique customer experience.
"We have a human element to our brand that is very hard to replicate," said Natenshon. "Those personal touches are why we are successful in the world of Amazon."
For the full interview, click here.