Madhappy Is Fighting for Mental Health—One Sweatshirt at a Time

For some businesses, it can take months or even years after building a product to find a name that encapsulates their company. But for Madhappy, it was pretty much the opposite.

Madhappy started as a name, a feeling that one of the founders, Mason Spector, texted to his friends.

“Something about putting those two words together makes it feel like a whole new word and new meaning,” co-founder Peiman Raf says. 

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Peiman’s co-founder came up with the name during a tough period mentally. Mason, Peiman, and two other founders, Noah Raf and Josh Sitt, started building a streetwear brand around the name.

Peiman and his co-founders originally thought, “Let's put out some products around this vibe that we think makes sense for a LA-based brand that's trying to be a little bit more inclusive than sort of the traditional streetwear that we grew up with.”

Madhappy stitching
Madhappy is known for its signature contrast stitching on the hood of its hoodies. Madhappy

And Madhappy was well positioned to do it. Two of the co-founders had already dabbled in fashion and L.A.’s apparel industry helped the co-founders build a network they could turn to for support.

With optimism at its core, Madhappy set itself apart from other streetwear brands by raising awareness around mental health issues. And that message resonated with thousands of people who followed them on social media and bought their signature sweatshirts. Even celebrities like Jay-Z and Lebron James have been spotted wearing Madhappy.

Peiman says they’ve never paid for influencer marketing. Celebrities and influencers come to them.

“For us, it means that they care about what we're doing,” Peiman says. “They want to be more positive. They want to care for their mental health more.”

Instead, the company relies on SMS and email marketing to let customers know about their latest drops, which tend to sell out quickly. Madhappy also did a lot of pop-ups initially in small spaces around L.A. to generate buzz around their clothing. 

One of the first ones was with a boutique called Colette, and it was so successful, it sold out in minutes.

“We saw such amazing reception towards that, that it really set a high bar for us of like, ‘Wow, collaborations could be super powerful,’ but two, we have to do it at this level because we saw how impactful it could really be,” Peiman says.

Since then, Madhappy has collaborated with other iconic brands like Columbia and the L.A. Lakers, bringing its message to take care of your mental health to a wider audience.

Madhappy Lakers sweatshirt
Madhappy has collaborated with sports teams, like the L.A. Lakers and N.Y. Yankees. Madhappy

The company has also invested in storytelling on its own platforms, creating a blog called The Local Optimist and a podcast with Peiman and Mason to discuss about mental health.

“A lot of the reason we launched our foundation this year is because a lot of people, both our consumers and these brands that we work with were coming to us like, ‘Hey, we don't know where to donate to support these [causes],’” Peiman says. “Now we're able to funnel that into our foundation, give grants to a bunch of different organizations, work with a lot of great people, and hopefully will be able to keep doing that as we grow.”

Take a listen to Peiman’s full interview on Shopify Masters to see the many ways Madhappy spreads its message of its optimism through its apparel business, the content it creates, and its foundation.