The Good Company's little storefront on Allen Street in New York City is situated more or less where the Lower East Side meets Chinatown. The Lower East Side long ago transformed from shtetls to an arts-and-culture outpost, with old haberdasheries finding new life as cutting-edge galleries, stylish boîtes, and pricey restaurants that smear sauces across plates like brushstrokes. Chinatown, further south, seems reluctant to follow the Lower East Side's path: the neighborhood's endless noodle shops, butchers, fishmongers, and sellers of dried herbs and jade feel like they've been around forever, and have no plans to leave.
Not Your Ordinary Retailer
It's a fitting crossroads for The Good Company, a clothing store and art space that balances the ephemeral and the timeless. On the former, The Good Company features whacked-out installations by emerging artists, an impressive collection of DIY zines (Cellybrain XIV, Life's Like That, among dozens of others I've never heard of), and a tight crew of skaters who have made the shop a second home. When I show up, pretty much everyone in the store has a skateboard in hand, and the walls are temporarily painted pink.
When owners Kumasi Sadiki and Quinn Arneson opened The Good Company in 2012, the California transplants wanted to design and sell clothes that didn't play to trends. "It was a reaction to the streetwear game, like Supreme and BAPE," Sadiki explains, calling out two lines known for fans who collect limited-edition merch like baseball cards. "I used to like that shit," he continues, "but it offended me as a consumer, and as someone who cared about design, to interact with these brands and learn they don't give a fuck about you. I didn't think the game needed to proceed like that."
What You'll Find There
The Good Company sells mostly monochromatic shirts and hats, usually with a simple logo or a low-key slogan, always delivered with a wink. The inventory changes all the time, as Sadiki and Arneson design new pieces and phase out old ones, but my favorite item remains a blue corduroy hat stitched with the words "Oh Shit!" in white thread.
It seems like something a droll dad might wear to a weekly golf game. The store also sells clothing from like-minded brands including Carrots, Dertbag, and Born x Raised, small shops with a similar focus on high-quality streetwear. "I could care less about fashion or what's current," says Sadiki. "We're more classic guys."
Look Out For...
In less than four years, The Good Company, a shop that's only 10-feet wide at best, has become a neighborhood fixture. Sadiki and Arneson sometimes think about expanding beyond their tiny spot, extending the brand, and even hiring employees (right now they share duties at the register, getting some part-time help when they're traveling).
But the two owners have opted to take things slowly, perfecting their designs and their operation before making a move. "Since we're not really trained, classically, it's a lot of trial and error," says Sadiki. "We have to try everything 50 ways before we know how to do it." When asked what his plans are for the near future, Arneson shrugs. "Nothing crazy," he says, "Just getting more organized, and honing in on what we do best, and making it happen better. Faster." He pauses. "Stronger." And then he and Sadiki giggle.
Shop our favorite pieces from The Good Company right now.
The Good Company is located at 97 Allen Street, New York City. To shop or see more, visit 97allen.com.
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