On the heels of an A-list Grand Opening, national recognition, and $8M funding round, Neighborhood Goods is coming through with yet another ‘Grand Slam’—partnering with Serena Williams to unveil her new size-inclusive fashion line, with a pop-up event hosted by the tennis queen herself to celebrate.
“This is just the beginning. I’m an investor in Neighborhood Goods; I believed in it. I thought it was really cool.” Williams told me at the event Saturday evening. “There’s no better way to express your belief in something than actually putting your brand in it and showing up. It’s been a huge success already, so I’m here, and I want to support my partners.”
Williams’s independent clothing line, Serena, is dedicated to women living their best lives, or making it up as they go. (kind of like Williams herself, she says.) Fun fact: She actually trained as a designer in college before she became, ya know, the number one athlete in the world. Marked by a bold ‘S’, the collection is dedicated to those ready to rep the letter and strongly support other’s successes.
Williams told me a key element when creating Serena was making high quality goods for lower prices. As an e-commerce site, Serena is taking out the middle man and selling straight to shoppers.
“For us, it was about having really high quality stuff and having everything under $200, and the only way to do that was to go direct-to-consumer, which is why I love Neighborhood Goods so much,” Williams said. “They can partner with you and it’s not as intense as other retailers and shops that you might try to be in. It’s more of a fair advantage for us as designers out there, and fashion brands that want to try and make it.”
Williams shared her passion for fast fashion, which is an industry term used to describe design trends that quickly move straight from the catwalk to the store racks. She says when she wants a quality shirt or pair of jeans, she has to be ready to spend hundreds of dollars, at the minimum.
That’s why the $200 cap is so important.
“I wanted to kind of change that narrative,” Williams said, “and just have that high fashion aspect, fabric and feel. If you took our label out and put another in, you could literally charge $500 for a lot of our stuff. But we don’t want to do that. I don’t want to charge a lot. I want everyone to be able to buy it. I want the prices to be inclusive as well.”
And inclusivity was a hot topic at Neighborhood Goods this weekend, as Williams paired with the department store to start selling her newest pieces.
Serena’s newly launched line is pretty ‘Great’
Fans, invited guests, and those lucky 100 fast enough to RSVP a spot, all piled into the department store in Plano’s Legacy West this past weekend.
Williams was joined by supermodel Ashley Graham, and the two live-recorded an intimate chat for Graham’s podcast, “Pretty Big Deal.” The conversation with Graham—who’s made a reputation in the industry as a body activist and style icon—was in-tune with the newly unveiled Serena Great Collection, which now includes sizing beyond XL.
Williams launched her namesake brand back in May, but joined with Neighborhood Goods to announce Great. Rather than dub the new collection “plus size,” Williams wanted to break retail norms to empower her female customers.
“I’ve never been thin, even as an athlete,” she told Neighborhood Goods. “I’ve always been curvier, or larger. But I felt like ‘plus’ isn’t a word I’d use to describe a lot of women. The people that I know who are a bit curvier… how do I think of them? Well, I’m inspired by them. They’re great. So that’s it—that’s the word: ‘great’.”
And what better place to reinvent the industry than in the innovative department store being labeled the “future of retail.” With its brand ‘activations,’ in-house bar, and mobile-first mindset, Dallas-based Neighborhood Goods is creating its own shopping culture. The startup, co-founded by serial entrepreneur Matt Alexander and real estate investor Mark Masinter, opened last month with 22 brands, all available to purchase online or in-store.
Serena will only be available in Neighborhood Goods until Dec. 30, so shop it while it’s hot. And, if you want to dress like the iconic athlete, entrepreneur, and activist herself, Williams told me her favorite piece of the collection is the Serena Dallas shirt—which she just so happened to be rocking when she made her Dallas debut.
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