Exciting new developments are in store for City Fun NYC, located at 45 1st Ave., between Second and Third Streets in the East Village.
The band tee heaven is a destination for music fans, offering a wide range of artists. In honor of Hip Hop’s big 5 “Oh,” City Fun restocked its shirt inventory featuring rap legends Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Tupac, Biggie Small, and Aliyah.
Jathiya Kelly stopped by the store to buy an Aliyah shirt. Kelly grew up in the Lower East Side but now lives in Harlem.
Kelly said she was familiar with City Fun NYC and said the store was part of the community.
“The atmosphere and just the collection of clothing really just sparks this great creativity in the neighborhood,” Kelly said, pointing out the importance of featuring hip-hop artists.
“Most of the music that we listen to today, most of the beats and lyrics come from previous artists,” Kelly said. “Hip hop is here to stay, and it’s not going anywhere.”
Social-media-savvy store manager Lilly Russell, who regularly posts content to Instagram and TikTok, also thinks it is crucial to have a small business listed on Google and Apple Maps and review and social networking websites like Yelp.
Foreign tourists have found the store by searching for band T-shirts using maps or Yelp.
“There was a family that came in. They were from China. I asked them, ‘How’d you hear about us? And they were like, ‘Oh, just Yelp. We just typed band T-shirts into Yelp,'” Russell said. “We really try to use all the different tools.”
The store is also revamping its web presence.
Russell explained that they are switching to a different e-commerce provider, and she now has a team in charge of the website so that she can focus on the social media presence.
“We’ve already the past two years of running an online store -we just sell what we have here- we’ve already gotten 1500 orders, which is good,” Russell said. “But with a new website provider that’s a lot stronger, we’re going to be able to build even more and get a lot bigger. So we’re really excited.”
City Fun NYC buys its merchandise through licensed vendors, and portions of the sales go directly to the artist. It always carries staples like The Rolling Stones and CBGB shirts. But Russell said they always listen to customer requests and recently added a shirt featuring the alternative rock band Pixies and Radiohead.
Russell explained that there was also a difference between what customers request online and walk-ins.
“People online, they’re obsessed with grunge. They’re obsessed with Radiohead [and] Smashing Pumpkins. You can see at our numbers which artists people [ask] us for like online and which videos we post that trend the highest. I think it’s just because of who we are. Looking at our analytics on TikTok, 75% of our followers are young girls, which is interesting.”
Because of the online store, City Fun NYC receives many orders from customers in California, Texas, and Tennessee.
Team member Mack McCracken pointed out that an online presence made it much easier for customers in rural areas to access “cool stuff” City Fun NYC offers.
“I’m going to say, as someone who came from one of those rural places where there is nothing, [this store] would have been my I would have my [explicit] right there,” McCracken said.
“We’re really passionate about our online presence because we’re able to bring what we have to people’s doorsteps,” Russell added.
Sarah Berns is the e-commerce manager in charge of migrating the website and the design.
“One thing that’s really important with that is that we have a newsletter coming out that people can sign up for through our site, and that lets people know about restocks, new items,” Berns explained. “In time, we’ll have a blog going and a lot of different content for our customers to interact with.”