I first met Kata Greaney and Sandra Pelikan last year when they approached me at Six Scents and introduced me to their concept for A8 New York : A marketplace for unique mens’ accessories, beauty products and gifts that would reflect the hustle and bustle of New York City. Kata and Sandra were gracious enough to invite me over today to their studio in Soho and take the time to answer questions about their new venture.
How did the two of you meet?
We met at a casting and clicked instantly so made plans on the spot to meet for a coffee at Saturday’s and the rest is history.
You sell everything from headphones to fragrance to skateboards on your website. How did you curate such a wide range of product?
We work closely with all our brands, although not all products are from the US the brands and products we carry are chosen because they reflect a certain aesthetic that we feel is reflective of New York; items that a New York Gentleman would wear/use. Every item and every brand we hand pick is unique, each product has a handmade quality and a story behind the making of it.
It seems guys are becoming more concerned with grooming and fashion in general where do you see things heading in the future?
As women we are VERY PLEASED to see men spending more time on their appearance, grooming in particular and there are many new cosmetic brands tailored just for men. We are not sure how we would like to see this develop in the future. Right now it’s perfect, I mean we don’t want men walking around smelling and looking like women, men still need to be dirty sometimes.
When it comes to first impressions what makes a guy stand out from the rest?
Attention to detail! Finer details like grooming and accessorizing but in a clean modern masculine way. Men are wearing jewelry and accessories more now when we love to see, it’s just about choosing the right understated pieces.
Kata Greaney next to a prized possession of hers. A photograph taken by her late dear friend Craig Owen shot on new years eve year 2000 in Auckland, New Zealand
How did your experience as models influence A8 New York?
Well between us we have a combined 25 years experience surrounded by talented creative fashion experts, it certainly rubs off and has come in very handy especially when we scout for brands to feature on the site. It’s an industry that we know inside out so there were no surprises. Modeling is like a back stage pass to a concert, you see everything the good and the bad so it prepares you for any kind of work in the fashion business and we have grown a thick skin.
What is it about New York that continues to inspire you?
Kata : For me it is all about the architecture, the streets, the bridges, the landscape and noise.. New York inspires me everyday and is a big part of A8.
Sandra : New York city is so diverse in culture and I take particular inspiration from the people, their style , the neighborhoods and the ever changing movement and energy in the city.
We both agree that New York has a special energy unlike any other place and that drives you to pursue and chase your dreams. New York reminds us every day what we are here for.
What makes A8 New York different from other mens online sites ?
We wanted to create an online shopping experience that focuses on the beauty of each product, without distracting clutter and over crowded shopping pages. By categorizing each product by it’s core material we can display items together on a page that complement each other, where on standard shopping sites they would rarely be seen together. We feel the exposure and focus on the raw material of products gives the site a masculine appeal.
We wanted to create a site where shopping wasn’t the focus as much as the experience of browsing beautiful products; almost like flicking through an architectural design magazine or wandering through an exhibition at an art gallery.
Photography and questions by Rocky Li
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