As the Marketing Director of Alife, Jesse Villanueva makes no bones about Alife Rivington Club’s place in the sneaker firmament. “This is the first sneaker boutique,” he asserts, adding that Alife’s primary motivation was love, and not commerce. That sensibility is clearly evident in the store’s groundbreaking design, featuring a warmly lit space appointed in the manner of a traditional gentleman’s club. It heralded a new way of selling sneakers, transforming a niche retail segment while elevating the sneaker into an object of desire. Then and now, the sneaker is the focus of Alife Rivington Club.
With Alife’s resurgence well under way in 2013, Jesse reflects on ARC’s origins – it was originally an “ode to the product that made us want to do what we do” – as well as the place it occupies now. He discusses the impact of Internet culture and how it’s affected the dialogue between Alife and its customers, as well as the sneaker landscape at large. It’s the candid insight of a guy who’s seen it all, and when Jesse says that nobody does it better than Alife, you better believe it’s a statement that’s rightfully earned.
Freshness Conversations: Alife Rivington Club – Part 2