MMG artist Stalley is the July Guest Editor for NiceKicks.com. As Guest Editor, Stalley will contribute to the site in a number of columns. Today, Stalley kicks off our Back in the Day segment with a narrative of his days working at the famed NYC sneaker boutique ALIFE.
ALIFE Rivington Club was top tier and still is. It was one of the first sneaker boutiques in New York City, let alone the world. With details like the carpet, the finished wood, the sliding ladders, the leather sofas and the glass chandeliers, ALIFE Rivington Club was one of a kind. It revolutionized the sneaker game.
I’ve worked so many jobs. I was working at Sharper Image and it was going out of business. The last day we were packing up the store to leave, I get a call from one of my friends at ALIFE. They knew me there and knew that I always came there to shop and kick it. They were like family before they were family. [My friend] called me and was like, “Yo, you looking for a job?” and I was like, “the funny thing is, I’m just leaving Sharper Image. This is my last day, I have no job, so I am looking for a job.” I went in the next day, and met with Trey and the rest of the owners. They told me that they wanted me to manage the ARC Sports store that they were opening across the street.
Knowing that I had a sports background, they wanted me to manage that store, merchandise it, and come up with cool ideas to bring in not only cool sneakers and do collaborations, but to work with brands that were specifically made for sports performance. I brought in Newmans batting gloves, and we did collabs with Saucony, Nike and New Balance. It was stuff like that that ARC was all about. That was really how it started. They reached out to me just knowing that I had style, that I was a part of the culture, that I had influence within the scene, and they wanted me to help manage and build up the store.
The owners of ALIFE knew not only about the artist and music side but they knew that I had a history playing sports. They knew that the knowledge that I had would help them cross over to the athletic customer. We’re all into sneakers and a lot of us get into sneakers because of sports. A lot of us like LeBrons because of LeBron. A lot of people really like Jordans because of Jordan. I think that they were really trying to put together a performance shoe that looked good when you were going to a nightclub but you could also run in or play basketball. They knew with my knowledge and my background that I could put them in that direction in terms of comfort but still have enough style to make it look good since I’ve always had my own personal style. I’ve always been somebody that always did my own thing.