We all know by now that more than just the music
industry is in trouble with this economy. The fashion industry is also being
hard hit, and many independent lines have been forced to cease operations in
the past year.
Hardly a time to start a new company but the team
at Fl?d Watches is in process of defying the odds.
Launched in 2007, Fl?d set out on a mission to
create unique, fresh watches for the casual and streetwear scene without the
pretentiousness or price tag. A great concept indeed, but will the budding
accessories company be able to stay fresh in a stale market?
We spoke with Doug Cohen and Mel Peralta to find
out what makes Fl?d tick.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people who try to come
into the urban realm with the accessories sometimes go a little overboard, but
there’s a certain maturity to these watches. Talk a little bit about the
concept behind the designs.
Doug Cohen: Basically I’m a long vet in the
Hip-Hop industry in different ways, and the music really lends itself to going
into fashion. I didn’t want to do straight clothing, because everybody does clothing and like you said, a lot of the time you see accessories even from clothing brands and it’s just so over the top. You’ll
see some of these generally accepted urban clothing brands, they’ll make a
watch or a belt or something and it’s just so crazy. It really doesn’t speak to
me in any type of way.
I always loved watches, and I really wanted to do
something that had that connection where it’s like, I can get fly in the way
that we do and rock this watch – where the monetary value isn’t all that crazy
but the style is where the value was. You can match or wear something that
reflects what you were feeling on that specific day in a way that you don’t
[normally] see. There’s no place to buy a watch that matches with your kicks or
represents that style or idea that’s really prevalent in the way we dress at
AllHipHop.com: You can rock them casually with any
jeans or whatever you have, or you could also have a button down and a jacket
and still wear the watch and it’s still classy. Were you intending to be able
to draw in a more mature Hip-Hopper?
Doug Cohen: Yeah, I think in general what we’re
trying to do is have something that you can rock with whatever. I don’t think
that everything we have is for every style of dress at whatever moment. But we definitely wanted to have that level of
versatility where the watches were at home with whatever you were wearing, and
moving forward with our new stuff that is coming out in September.
I think it’s even more at home in different
elements and it really takes everything to an evolutionary step, so that you
can rock it pretty much anywhere at any time – be it with some Jordans or a
suit – and it’ll really fit in whatever steez you’re trying to go with.
AllHipHop.com: Talk a little bit about the world
of accessories. Do you find it more challenging to work with clothing?
Doug Cohen: I would say they both have their
difficulties. Clothing, the market is already established for it. The stores
are open, people are there, they know what works and what doesn’t. Whereas with accessories, specifically with watches, I think we’re trailblazing something that there’s nobody else really doing what we’re doing, which helps a lot, but at the same time makes it real difficult because we’re the ones that have to figure out our own directions on the road.
That’s real difficult, and in general accessories
are more difficult in the sense that to do watches takes a greater financial
commitment, which is especially difficult for an independent company. With
clothing you could do a couple dozen and keep it moving and with watches, you
can only [manufacture] overseas, you have to do real high minimums and there’s
a lot more technically involved which makes it much more complicated.
But again, because we’re out there trailblazing,
it’s also a huge bonus for us because a lot of people are open to talking to us
and working. There’s not really anybody else doing what we’re doing right now.
AllHipHop.com: Because you have the turntable and
the record watches [33-1/3], have you had any DJs or radio personalities that have
been looking for them, or have you had any of those people want to co-brand and
get a watch with their name on it?
Doug Cohen: Yeah we’ve definitely laced a lot of
cats. My background is DJ’ing. I know a ton of DJs and I’ve laced everybody
from Grandmaster Flash to Rob Swift. I was just up at G-Unit Radio and I laced
my man Whoo Kid. We’ve definitely run the gamut of original DJs, innovators and
inventors to the hardcore turntablist and the radio personality.
The DJs are definitely open to the watch. I named
the watch TableTurns because I used to do this open turntable event called TableTurns, and it was sort of like my tribute to that element of my life and that aspect of what I used to do to kind of connect the two worlds a little bit.
Mel Peralta: One thing we were talking about is
the designs, and watches themselves don’t really lend themselves to
pretentiousness. It’s not biting another style. You know how you get a certain
kind of rapper that will come in and his style will just f**k up the game? Honestly, it will be so hot that everybody kind of patterns themselves, their style and flow after it.
I don’t think you get any of that with Flud, I
think everybody appreciates authenticity on whatever level; whether it’s
clothing, accessories, rhyming or DJing. I think that’s one of the huge things
that’s kind of propelling Flud forward.
AllHipHop.com: With the economy the way that it is
right now, do you guys feel like your demographic might be affected by you
having to alter your price plan or your marketing plan over the next couple of years?
Doug Cohen: I think for Flud, we came in the game
almost at a good time economy wise because you could buy a $500 watch, and I’m
into watches so I’m into real complicated mechanical watches like a Hautlence
or a Richard Mille or something like that. These watches cost more than houses
at some level and to me you can go and buy a Bulova, or a Movado watch in that
price range and it doesn’t really say that much about you.
Whereas with us we’re really trying to say you can
express yourself with the wrist without spending all of that money and the economy
up to this point hasn’t really been affected because we’re trying to say these
watches are inexpensive. Everything we have is under $100, we’re definitely
gonna stay that way for a long time, and again the concept is really trying to
bring people something they can afford and still have panache, and a level of
respectability and props to it.
So if anything, because people and retailers are
being a little more cautious with their money, we’re coming in at a good fair
price and I think it’s been sort of a non-factor to us, just in terms of that
on those kinds of levels.
AllHipHop.com: Where can people find the watches?
Doug Cohen: Online you can go to karmaloop.com,
our site FludWatches.com, KeepItClassic.com, GridNC.com, Flymode.com, also UrbanOutfitters.com carries some stuff. In retail we’re in all the Man Alive stores out there for everybody in the Midwest, they carry a lot of stuff, we’re in Up Against The Wall, we’re definitely in Metropark.
AllHipHop.com: I love Metropark!
Doug Cohen: Big shoutout to them because they were
one of the first companies to really come in and support so we definitely appreciate them for it. Boutiques around the country, and on the site we got all the stores to get it from.
AllHipHop.com: Is there anything else you want
people to know about the company?
Doug Cohen : We got this line, and our new line
launching in September which is definitely real fire.