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Wahlberg Launches Carlsbad Apparel Co.

Actor Mark Wahlberg has launched an athleisure apparel company and it is headquartered locally.

Founded in 2019, Municipal is based out of Carlsbad and has 15 employees. It currently only makes men’s clothing, including staples like tee shirts, hoodies, shorts and pants, and sells on the company website, Municipal.com, which launched in July.

A women’s line is slated to drop soon with plans to expand into retail and wholesale sales in the near future.

Become the Best Version of Yourself

To launch the company, Wahlberg tapped longtime business partner Stephen Levinson and former Callaway Golf Company’s VP of brands, Harry Arnett.

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The vision of the company, said Arnett, is to help people become the best versions of themselves through a highly curated collection.

“All of Mark’s business interests outside of entertainment are really geared to inspire people and become better versions of themselves through health, wellness, being active and working hard,” said Arnett, who left Callaway in 2019 to join Municipal as CEO. “We see Municipal as an extension of that: an opportunity for the brand to not only make great products in respect to comfort, versatility and style, but also in putting together a digital and communication platform that will engage with people in ways that could make their journey more practical and understandable. That is our vision: to create a community for inspired people that never stop pursuing their full potential.”

For now, the target market for Municipal is men between the ages of 20 and 35, said Arnett, although it is all inclusive. To capture its audience, Arnett said the company is not only focusing on its social extensions and messaging, but also working alongside influencers it believes resonate well with its followers. For example, instead of hiring runway models to showcase the Municipal brand, the company has worked with both street and sports influencers to promote its offerings. This includes the likes of Sean Sheffey, professional skateboarder, among others, he said.

Design for Municipal takes place at the Carlsbad headquarters, said Arnett, with the company sourcing from the United States as well as other parts of the world, like Thailand and South America. Packaging, labeling and shipping takes place in San Diego, he said, where the company has a distribution center. Its best sellers include its Enduro Stretch T-Shirt ($45), its Sports Utility Jogger ($78), its Crossover Short ($88) and its M-DOT Hoodie ($118).

Creative Control

For Wahlberg, having creative control of the Municipal brand versus putting his name behind an existing company made more sense for his ultimate vision, said Arnett.

“He gets asked 20 times a year to be a brand ambassador, but more of his interest now is being involved in operations and helping shape the creative and strategic direction of his own company,” he said. “He is passionate about his business and wanted to be more hands on more than joining another brand would have enabled him to be. And so we really started to talk about Municipal more specifically within the last couple of years. We felt we had an idea that was unique and had enough legs to make a difference.”

Style and Function

Municipal was originally scheduled to launch in the early parts of 2020, but when COVID-19 emerged March of last year, it pushed those plans back a few months, said Arnett. After weeks of consideration, the founders realized there was no time like now to drop a clothing line that can provide both style and function for people working from home due to stay-at-home orders.

“People aren’t working traditionally or even living traditionally now, especially with the pandemic,” said Levinson, Wahlberg’s longtime business partner and co-founder of Municipal. “We saw Municipal and Sport Utility Gear as the first brand that addressed the inevitable collision of street style and athleisure. Your favorite, most comfortable, versatile things you’d wear everywhere your multi tasked life takes you. The things you want to wear 90% of the time. And we thought we could make everyone look and feel great.”

In the later part of this year, Arnett said Municipal is scheduled to begin selling merchandise in both national and regional clothing stores, including smaller mom and pop shops that have already expressed interest. In the next 12 months, the brand will release its women’s line, he said, followed by the release of the official Municipal app.

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