Last week, we spoke with Koun, the Online Director of the Flying A boutique in Soho. This unique store is known for being high end, yet eclectic and affordable. They call themselves a “concept” store and aim to provide the “unexpected” for their shoppers.
Me: Tell me a little bit about how Flying A got its start.
Koun: Mia and Glenn are the founders and they actually started in Denmark, in Copenhagen, first. That store was sold to a different owner and there’s no correlation at the moment. They carry a lot more higher-end designer brands. Then they opened this location here in the in Soho, and we’ve been here ever since.
Me: Do you know anything about the [Flying A] in Denmark?
Koun: I think it’s changed a lot since they opened it. I think they really started by importing a lot of American brands, like Fred Perry – I know Glenn has been working for Fred Perry for over 14 years or something crazy like that – so that’s how they started. I think it does pretty well.
Glenn also told me he opened one in Sweden, one in Denmark, and the one here. Since then, he’s sold the two in Europe, so there are actually three Flying A locations in existence! Glenn doesn’t really know anything about the two shops anymore, as they are completely separate entities from our shop.
Me: How does Flying A choose its merchandise?
Koun: Oh God…[laughs]
Me: You can give me the short version, if you want.
Koun: Well the one here…it has a really big range of products, so we have more contemporary and upper-contemporary brands. We tend to focus on smaller brands, brands that do what they do the best. So we’ll pick the best denim brand we can find, the best t-shirts; very specific things, you know, the clogs, boots, bags… if we get a brand, we don’t get everything within that brand, we try to focus on what they do the best. And we do try to bring in a lot of Scandinavian brands, as well. Mia (one of the owners) is Swedish, so she knows a lot of cool Swedish brands, which we bring in.
Me: You all are new to the Snapette app – how have you used it so far?
Koun: I’ve been looking at it and it’s really cool! We’ve been getting some followers and that’s always exciting. I want to use it more and I want everyone upstairs to be trained to use it on their phones.
Me: And how do you envision using it, once everyone has it?
Koun: Well when new items come in, if we really like something, I think it’s impulse to want to tell people about it. They’d be able to put up photos. I think it will help foot traffic into the store.
Me: Do you envision mobile in general affecting the way that Flying A runs or the way that boutiques in general run?
Koun: I think now it’s kind of one of those things where if you don’t try to keep up with it and really get on board, you fall behind. So it’s hard, because our owners have been around a long time and they’re used to doing things the way that they know, but now there’s all this new technology and all these new apps are coming in, and it’s hard for boutique owners to keep up with that, but I think using apps like this will really help us in the long run.
Me: What, in your opinion, is the most difficult part of running a boutique?
Koun: Let’s see…I do all of the website end, so it’s a little bit different. Definitely keeping it up is hard, I think. You have to do so many things and when all of these different websites and apps come up, you kind of have to always be ahead of what everyone else is doing, so it takes a lot of maintenance.
Me: On the flip side of that, what do you think is the most rewarding aspect?
Koun: I love it when people give us great feedback, you know? [laughs] When they’re like “oh my God, I got a great pair of whatever here and I love them so much and I wear them all the time!” It’s just nice to hear people really enjoy the things that you present and put out.
Check out Flying A to find a wide selection of both new and vintage clothing and accessories. Make sure to snap your favorite items in the store!
169 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
Or follow them on Snapette.
To see more from the full interview with Koun, check out the Intern Diary!