- Would you introduce yourself in a few words?
Before settling in Berlin 2 years ago, I lived in Paris for 7 years. I come from the tour production field where I worked for French artists.
Alongside my job, I started Down by Retro with a friend, Bianca on the advice of one of my best friends who was looking for someone to set up a second-hand market at one of his parties. The concept worked great. Our sales went through the roof.
So, I continued these types of operations as a hobby. People liked my selections and everybody was very happy every time. I started a little line of accessories, bags and headbands that was also quite successful.
The desire to move to Berlin to set up something with my best friend Etienne, came quite naturally. I felt like developing my own projects and I was ready for a change of scenery. Etienne had already been living in Berlin for 2 years; a lot of my friends had left Paris for Germany. He already had Bass Cadet Records for a while, he was running it with some other buddies and wanted to get involved in a record store. So, we had the idea of combining our two projects and make it one with the BCR/DBR store, our friends call it “Le Shop” where you can find clothes and records. Everything went very fast. I arrived in Berlin and two months later we could open thanks to our group of friends.
- Where does this interest for fashion and for Berlin come from?
I’ve always loved clothes, very French ready-to-wear brands, like APC, Claude Pierlot, Sessun and all that is casual like Wood Wood and their sneakers. Of course I love second-hand and vintage that are adaptable to a contemporary environment. We started by being very vintage—second-hand, all picked in Europe, in France or Italy but also in the U.S.
Then we added the new. In he neighborhood we’re in, there are already a lot of vintage shops because there is a demand from low-budget people but also because of its originality. I like the idea of mixing the new and the old, people respond well to that; that’s what we offer at BCR/DBR. We also carry accessories, organic beauty products and books. The mix is interesting and it goes well with the records. It gives you the opportunity to be interested by several things all in one place.
The interest for the city has always been there. I used to go there a lot on vacation to visit my friends. Rents were cheap; all my friends were there and we could put our project together fairly quickly. I didn’t hesitate one bit before leaving.
- What is BCR/DBR’s operative word in your mind?
I’d say the operative word is first and foremost friendship. The project was born from a long friendship with Etienne. We believe in each other and in the area of ideas, we complement each other very well. All our friends, girlfriends or boyfriends and loved ones all have super creative personalities. But work would be the other word because we spend lots of hours developing projects, le shop and all that gravitates around it.
- What are your inspirations and how do you select your products?
Everything is feeling. When I go to warehouses I don’t have a lot of time, I base myself on my impressions of current fashion, from the way people dress every day here or when they go out. I also think of my friends, of the different nationalities, of the mix in general. I observe, I browse the web and it works. I also look for reasonably priced clothes or accessories that go well with the Neukölin neighborhood –where we are—way of life.
- What is your favorite model currently online on the e-shop and why?
The e-shop is a small window of the DBR shop. Unfortunately, I can’t put everything we have at the store. I love Stop the Water While Using Me, which is a small brand from Hamburg. The products are delicate and are made without water, which is very ecological. I’m also a fan of the Lilac Balm d’Isa’s Restoratives that I’ve been using every day for the last year and a half. It puts a little color on your cheeks and lips, enough to give you a healthy look. It’s all organic and made by a little company in Brooklyn.
- What are your future projects?
Out of professional habit, we do a lot of events (Etienne also comes from production). We organize parties in Berlin, events in our store, like some in-store with DJs.
Also, we started more than a year ago the Neukölin Shopping Nacht, which is –as its name indicates—a neighborhood event dedicated to shopping and supporting the neighborhood stores. We are currently working on the 4th edition, which will take place next May. During this special evening, we offer parties in the various nearby shops with discounts, free drinks and all sorts of little things. It’s a very nice and positive project that keeps on growing.
We are also preparing a Neukölin that will be a collaboration between Neukölin Shopping Nacht and a travel website, but it’s still a secret for now.
Oh and I started a booking, promotion and special-event agency. I don’t have time to be bored! 😉