Flair, the big brother of Bonnie & Clyde
Located some meters further than his elder, Bonnie and Clyde, in the Main street to Besançon, Flair is the eclectic male shop of the Franche-Comté capital. In this second shop, Christophe Denniel wished to give a place more important for the discovery of new products. London, Paris, Berlin, Intuition crosses Europe in search of innovative brands, sometimes casual, street or chic.
Hi Christophe, Bonnie & Clyde is your first shop, and you recently opened Flair; can you tell us a little about your story?
I started out as an advertising salesperson. I then continued in sales but in various fields. And after that, I was the manager of a shop, until the day I thought of opening my own shop in my partner’s one, Bonnie & Clyde. You see, in reality we’re two shops that share a doorstep but have two separate entrances. Once inside, the two are interconnecting. On my side I sell men and women’s ready-to-wear and shoes, and my partner sells jewellery, decoration, and accessories. There’s a really nice feel to everything, but we were beginning to lack space. We couldn’t showcase everything we wanted in the men’s collection. And that’s why we decided to open up a new shop: Flair, which opened barely six months ago.
You didn’t exactly fall into this profession randomly then, if you began as a salesperson?
That’s true, I’m still selling, and I have to say clothes have always attracted me, without necessarily having been born into the business. My parents weren’t salespersons nor worked in fashion. One day, I simply thought to myself that there were goods available in other towns but not in ours, Besançon. That’s how I got into it.
Was it important to you to offer Besançon an alternative to “mass shopping” via a more cosy, welcoming concept store?
I think that today we’re confronted by the obligation, but also the desire, to develop more interactive shops where more stuff can be found. We offer candles, decoration, beauty products, watches, sunglasses, but also shoes and clothes. This obligations stems from the fact that we have to develop what we sell in order to entice the customers. And even more so today with the Internet, which is direct competition, and to face up to bigger creators.
Have you considered developing an e-shop?
Not yet, but it won’t be long. It’s in the works. Two months from now it should be ready. We’re still doing things the old-fashioned way. For example, every single day we jot down on a piece of paper the sales we made, and our loyalty cards are handmade! We’re finally going to work with computers in 2015! But to go back to the e-shop, we’ll be joining both shops Bonnie & Clyde and Flair under one website, Bonnie & Clyde.
What made you want to distribute OLOW in Flair?
The product, the way OLOW works on its t-shirts, its shirts. I also like OLOW’s mindset, which can be felt in the communications, in every single collection’s theme. I first discovered OLOW in one of my rivals’ shop that has now closed, and I have to say I’d been coveting the brand for a very long time. Beautiful prints, made in Portugal, great ideas, I’m particularly referring to the “Planchettes” exhibition; all these factors made me choose OLOW.
In general, what do you expect from small brands?
Stability, the quality of the goods, and being able to keep up with what’s in, which is always the hardest, and all the while staying true to the brand’s state of mind.
How do you fill your closets at Flair?
It’s all a question of personal taste in the beginning. But this can be avoided. Now that I know my Besançon customer base better, I work according to their expectations. Sometimes there’s stuff I’d like to go with but that I avoid because we’re in a specific region and the risk is too high.
How would you define the Besançon clientele?
Slightly behind (laughs). No, I’m being mean. Our aim is to stimulate them. That’s why we set up shop in a top location and especially in a place where people wouldn’t necessarily expect us. When you see the area, you wouldn’t think that the OLOW clientele would shop there, for example. We’re trying to bring something new there. We play hip-hop in the shop; we really want to show people that there are real alternatives to classic brands, that often offer a superior quality and unusual products.
Talking about hip-hop, what are you listening to at Flair?
Right now I’m listening to a Soullance album. We listen to a lot of different stuff, Reejie Snow, Taku, Flying Lotus. Something completely different, I went to an Arthur H concert the other day. I really like his persona, his world, he has integrity, he’s authentic, there are no tricks. In any case, his values have a lot in common with OLOW’s.
Thank you to Christophe. You can visit Flair, at 78 Grande Rue in Besançon.
– P.L –