Perfect White Tee Opens First Store on Elizabeth Street in New York City

Perfect White Tee, cofounded by Lisa Hickey and Jen Menchaca, has quietly opened its first store at 262 Elizabeth Street in New York. The grand opening is planned for Thursday.

The shop is approximately 500 square feet and sells the company’s lineup of T-shirts, French terry and fleece sets, sweatpants, sweat shorts and dresses. The store carries women’s, men’s and unisex apparel.

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Hickey and Menchaca, who have 30 years of experience in the fashion industry, started the business in 2020. Menchaca previously founded a T-shirt brand, Nation Ltd., in the women’s contemporary market, and Hickey owns a multiline showroom, Showroom Delfina, in New York City in this category and co-owns two retail locations in New York and has a franchised one in New Jersey selling women’s upscale casual basics called Fado. Perfect White Tee is represented by the Delfina showroom.

A display of the T-shirts at Perfect White Tee.
A display of the T-shirts at Perfect White Tee.

The two executives launched Perfect White Tee coincidentally on National White T-Shirt Day on Feb. 11, 2020, and were able to ship their first orders before the pandemic hit. They shut down one month later and began repurposing the fabrics to make masks and kept their employees working. They slowly went back to manufacturing a small line.

Perfect White Tee, which is made entirely in the U.S., sells to 600 boutiques nationwide. Prices in the boutique range from $58 for a tank or T-shirt up to $168 for a hoodie.

The Perfect White Tee store at 262 Elizabeth Street in New York.
The Perfect White Tee store at 262 Elizabeth Street in New York.

Menchaca said they plan to open more stores and are looking at such places as Malibu/Brentwood in Los Angeles, Chicago and Austin.

“With our partners Leap Retail, they’re able to identify our hot spot markets through our Shopify e-commerce, and really geo-locate where our large customer base is, and New York City was our number-one spot,” said Hickey, who is originally from New York.

The store opened March 24. “It’s going really well. Once we announced it through our email marketing and e-commerce, it was a mixture of new customers, old customers and returning customers. Because we have a large boutique business as a brand, a lot of boutique shoppers were really excited to come,” said Hickey.

Menchaca described the duo as “T-shirt junkies.”

“We have worked together for a very long time — business-wise and we’re also very good friends. We love T-shirts. We have always wanted to start a T-shirt line. After I sold my last brand, I always had this idea for a perfect white T with Lisa.”

The Hendrix and Harley T-shirts from the Perfect White Tee.
The Hendrix and Harley T-shirts from the Perfect White Tee.

Hickey identified a hole in the market for T-shirts in the better contemporary space, Menchaca said.

“We decided to do the perfect crewneck, the perfect V-neck, the perfect tank top, the perfect raglan sweatshirt and the perfect loose jogger. What we’re trying to do is just create that one essential that everybody needs in different categories,” she said. “We’re staying in our lane.”

She said she’s noticed with a lot of brands, that the T-shirt is the afterthought. “We are not reinventing the wheel. We have a crowdsourcing way to design. We listen to our customers.” She said their three top styles are the ones they started with — the Harley crewneck, the Hendrix V-neck and the Blondie tank.

Hickey said they take their top sellers and offer two new color drops every single month. In April, for example, they’re introducing pink punch and apple mint, and for May, they’ll add sunset and sailor blue. In June, for Blondie season, they’ll launch five colors.

The women have partnered with a local mill in Los Angeles for production. “Everything’s made here in Los Angeles and we source locally, and because we’re so nimble, we’re vertical, and so we can respond and react to the marketplace very quickly,” said Menchaca. “It’s data in and T-shirts out. We know what are the top sellers, and we expand them. If the crew neck is the best seller, we add sleeves for fall,” she said. “We get the best dibs on the best fabrics,” she said.

Hickey said the company projects for the first year of business at the New York store to break event. “It’s more about establishing a flagship somewhere and putting our roots down in a city than we love than it is about a financial gain.”

The Harley white T-shirt.
The Harley white T-shirt.

Menchaca said she’s enjoying meeting the end consumer.

“We’re really trying to shift the focus from big branding conglomerate company to our customers and our end consumer. We have all ages and all socioeconomic levels coming in,” said Menchaca. “Anybody can wear this garment,” she said. The dressing rooms have, ‘You are perfect,’ [the brand’s tag line] on the mirrors.

“The store was a perfect opportunity to close that loop and have conversations with the customer,” said Menchaca. “We get feedback every single night from our partners Leap.”

What Hickey said separates them from the competition is the emphasis on fit. “Our fit is spot-on for all ages. We spend a lot of time on fit, making sure it can fit all ages and all body types and making sure it still looks super-elevated, and then our fabric and our quality.,” said Hickey. ”

“The price point and value you get for the quality we’re giving is really great. A lot of times, our girls love our tee and buy it in every single color drop that we do,” Hickey added.

Sizes are XS to XL in their essentials, and that size range will be throughout the entire collection for fall.

The customer is generally 25 to 45 years old, but it goes way beyond that on both sides, said Hickey.

The store will also carry underneath products of underwear and lounge, made of sanded Supima. “We get to garment dye our pieces,” said Hickey. It has the label, “Perfect Underneath.”

The entire store contains solids and stripes; there are no prints or graphics. “We are doing a special embroidery at the grand opening,” said Menchaca.

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