In just over one year, FlÃ¼d Watches have become a main player in the wrist wear market. With distribution all across the U.S., in Greece, Canada, Japan, Russia and the U.K., FlÃ¼d gets closer and closer to their goal of â€œfloodingâ€ the market with dope timepieces. The product is always unique and hits the market at a competitive price point, something that CEO Doug Cohen calls his formula: price point + design + innovation = FlÃ¼d Watches.
â€œWe basically wanted to flood the market with fly watches. We changed the spelling to FlÃ¼d and added the umlauts to spice it up a bit and make people constantly guess how to pronounce it.â€
Format: Please state who you are an your role at FlÃ¼d Watches.
Doug Cohen: My nameâ€™s Doug Cohen and Iâ€™m the founder and CEO of FlÃ¼d Watches, as well as the one guaranteed to make the most inappropriate mother jokes at any given moment.
Format: Whatâ€™s the pronunciation of your brand name and what is the meaning?
Doug Cohen: FlÃ¼d is pronounced Flood. We basically wanted to flood the market with fly watches. We changed the spelling to FlÃ¼d and added the umlauts to spice it up a bit and make people constantly guess how to pronounce it. So far, so good! If I had a quarter for every time someone came to me asking me if its â€œfluid,â€ Iâ€™d have enough for at least 100 slices of pizza by now.
Format: Who is on your team at FlÃ¼d and what are their roles?
Doug Cohen: The inner FlÃ¼d circle is, me, Naim Brown, Scott Nowers, Mel Peralta and of course G. Wall, Garry Wallace. Naim, Scott and I are the founding partners. I run the company day to day and basically oversee everything, manage production, and generally guide the company to match our collective vision. Scott handles the CFO duties and all the glamorous stuff that comes with that and Naim is COO and is a vital nerve for making sure the designs are all looking extra crispy because heâ€™s got that extra sneaker obsession (weâ€™re all obsessed, heâ€™s just taking it to that other level).
Mel is the brand manager and he handles marketing and helping guide the public image of the brand to make the most sense. Heâ€™s out there, politicking, putting watches on peoples wrists and making sure people are talking about FlÃ¼d. Garry is our designer, he handles coming up with crazy ideas for watches, taking the rest of the teams sometimes incomprehensible ideas and turning into comprehensible fly watches, and all the other random graphics stuff we need done. Overall, we all try to have a hand in everyoneâ€™s stuff and make group decisions and really come up with the best shit for the wrist.
We also have a bunch of other cats down with us like Amber, our media specialist and Brian Ortencio, our LA cat who is constantly on his grind pushing FlÃ¼d with marketing opportunities in a key market and bringing us some great opportunities for the future that youâ€™ll be hearing about soon!
Format: Please tell us a little about your brandâ€™s short history.
Doug Cohen: Well pretty much, itâ€™s a short history for being in the market but itâ€™s been something Iâ€™ve been obsessing over for around eight years. I always loved watches. My background is in the music industry and I wanted to slide over into fashion and impact there, and felt watches were such an untapped possibility. I would start and stop working on the project, getting discouraged by not being able to get the money necessary to start it up, taking time off, working on other things, but the bug never went away, so the whole cycle would start again. I actually went to Winter Music Conference with my boy Next from Amalgam Digital (the future of music), and we started talking about it again and I was just like, this is it, I have to make this happen. Amalgam Digital was really starting to blow and take off at that time, and that inspired me to really start making a move on it. I came back to NYC and really started building with Naim on starting it up, and he was into it. He was down to throw some money, along with our boy Amit who found us Scott before he bounced to work on another project. That was the break I was looking for and we just havenâ€™t looked back since.
Format: FlÃ¼d is just over a year old. How have you achieved such success in such a short period of time?
Doug Cohen: Shoot, have we achieved such success? I still feel like every day is a trial, thereâ€™s so many people we havenâ€™t gotten our watches to, so many stores we want to be in, so many designs we want to make. Your way more likely to find people who have never heard of FlÃ¼d then who have.
So really, I think we have achieved a modicum of success, just a taste of where we want to be and where we need to be. Having said that, where we are right now compared to where we were last year is sometimes mind boggling to me. I think we owe it to our formula: price point, design, innovation. As long as we continue on that formula, we should be good.
Format: Speaking of which, fresh style with attractive pricing is of utmost important to FlÃ¼d. What is the process in creating watches that are both stylish and affordable?
Doug Cohen: Well, first we design and worry about the price later. It doesnâ€™t matter the price, if itâ€™s not hot, whatâ€™s the point? Then from there, basically we just try to find the right manufacture or combination of materials to make the price point make sense. FlÃ¼d isnâ€™t gonna give you a swiss movement or a watch you should go deep sea diving in, weâ€™re just gonna give you something that will look fly with what your wearing. Thatâ€™s our main goal.
Format: You are inspired by the streetwear scene. What is your background in fashion and design?
Doug Cohen: Me personally, I like gear. Garry has a college degree in design. Naim and Mel are clothes and sneaker junkies. Weâ€™re real streetwear cats. When I say that, weâ€™re guys from a watch company that you can find at a club with people rocking streetwear like Santos or out and about at Flight Club buying sneakers. Our backgrounds are what inspired the streetwear scene, weâ€™re authentic NYC cats so weâ€™re always going to be automatically connected to it.
Format: Music plays a huge part in FlÃ¼dâ€™s designs. Please elaborate.
Doug Cohen: Well music plays a huge role in all our lives. Music is the lifeline of this type of fashion, and really all fashion to some extent. You see it in clothing all the time, you just never really see watch companies try to connect the two. My background like I said is the music business. I used to throw an open turntable event called Tableturns, the turntable watch is called the Tableturns, itâ€™s my way of connecting then and now in my life. When I work personally, my iTunes is never off. Iâ€™m never not on the hip hop sites like thatshiphop or hiphopdx or whatever trying to hear the newest shit. I canâ€™t separate my life from music, I canâ€™t separate my past from music, so it would be impossible separate FlÃ¼d from music. Having said that, we are a fashion company first and foremost, and the music end is just one of the connections weâ€™re going for in the world of life to wrists.
Format: How has hip hop changed over the past 10 to 15 years and where do you see it going?
Doug Cohen: The digital revolution, like I talked about earlier, like what Amalgam is doing. Create new ways of revenue and new ways to connect directly to the fans. Thatâ€™s on a business level but it should trickle down creatively as well. You give artists more freedom and more avenues to release music; all of a sudden things change. One of the things Iâ€™m most excited about is the Slaughterhouse album, Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Crooked I and Royce da 5â€™9 (in no particular order). Those are four of the best lyricists around, and theyâ€™re like fuck it, letâ€™s do an album. Now I donâ€™t know that it will be a digital only release, but the pressure from the digital scene makes physical labels work harder and allow more freedom. So here you have a situation where four of the craziest dudes out there just killing it. Joe Budden is the best MC in the world, to me, but at the same time, he hasnâ€™t had my favorite verse in either song (Royce in the first one they released and Joell Ortiz in the second one).
Thatâ€™s really got me excited, it doesnâ€™t just stop there either. You got Corey Gunz, dudeâ€™s flow is unreal, Mickey Factz, a crazy lyricist with real imagination and hunger, Skyzoo, that authentic Brooklyn shit, Curren$y, Charles Hamilton, you got a lot of people out there, trying to be creative, hungry, bringing something new, but at the same time, because of what an Amalgam Digital type does, these artists can do whatever they want and bring the people the music weâ€™ve been missing. So ultimately, I think hip hop is pretty healthy and will continue to grow and just get better.
Format: How does a brand in todayâ€™s fashion market stay innovative?
Doug Cohen: Hunger. Itâ€™s like music, sports, any kind of art. You gotta stay hungry, you gotta have that drive to keep doing better and not just to cash in the checks. At the same time, you have to see the fruits of your labor so you can keep that focus going. Itâ€™s really all about that hunger, that love, that drive. Do you have it really?
Format: Will you be producing any collabos in the near future?
Doug Cohen: Weâ€™ve got some stuff in the works. First up is a Rocksmith Collab weâ€™re working on that should be seen pretty soon.
Format: Whoâ€™s one designer that youâ€™d love to collaborate with?
Doug Cohen: Classically speaking, Ralph Lauren. Iâ€™m a New York kid, you have to love Ralph, the greatest brand of all time. Nike, of course. Past that Iâ€™d really love to collaborate with anyone who can bring something new to the table, simple as that.
Format: Where do you see FlÃ¼d in five to ten years?
Doug Cohen: FlÃ¼d in five years, ten years, bigger, better, more innovative, with the same drive that keeps us going now. The next Swatch from the 80â€™s when it was killing? Mostly, I see it on your wrists!
More info: http://www.fludwatches.com/