In middle school, my best friends and I passed a journal around filled with doodles and secrets. Today, two middle-school best friends took this enterprising spirit to the next level, opening the first physical space for their forward-thinking clothing line.
Since Zara Terez Tisch, the CEO, and Amanda Schabes, the creative director, launched Terez in 2012, the brand has become famous for flashy, patterned leggings (running around $75-$100) featuring everything from emoji to Get Out the Vote slogans.
The Terez pop-up– which will be at 158 Mercer Street in Soho until December 2– feels like the clubhouse of my prepubescent dreams. There are stencils and markers for drawing on the mirrors; plastic bags to fill with an array of patterned scrunchies, candy bag-style; and treats from Dana’s Bakery. At the center is a tree with pink streamers for leaves, which the founders say emits the core energy of the Terez brand. At the “wishing well,” guests can write a positive thought on a leaf, clip it to a string to drop it into the well, and turn up a note from another visitor.
Terez apparel first took off with kids, who adopted the wild legging patterns more quickly than their parents, at a time when monochrome leggings were still the norm. “Kids just love what they love,” Schabes said.
Terez donates a portion of proceeds from pop-up purchases to Women in Need, a non-profit serving homeless women and children. All of the apparel is made in New York, where the founders are from.
“We wanted to build a physical location where people can come and feel good about themselves and who they are,” Tisch said.
Each Instagram-ready dressing room is based on a legging print; one features real cassette tapes on the door, with a cassette player and headphones for playing them. The founders count their social media presence as a key to their early success. Terez made over a million dollars in annual revenue in 2013, the Times reported in 2016, and revenue doubled each year in between.
Near the end of my visit, Schabes and Tisch presented me with a “kindness coin,” one of the 200 that will be handed out to pop-up visitors, with instructions to pass the coin on to a friend to be redeemed for any item in the store. It reminded me of a goofy tradition my middle school friends had of passing each other nickels for good deeds.
“There’s a lot of darkness out there, so we try to bring in the light,” Schabes said.