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Welcome to Better Know a Store Owner, where we focus on the people who run our favorite boutiques around the city.
When it comes to Boston's boho outposts, Flock is the frontrunner bar-none. Overflowing with Cali gems like Wildfox, it's the place to go in midst of winter for some vitamin D, figuratively speaking. The fact that the store is owned and merchandised by mother-daughter duo Dani McDonald and Lisa Kupsc—well, that's a whole other type of warmth. Here, we chat with Dani on how it all began.
How did Flock come to be? Tell us how it started.
Flock started as an idea that my mom and I had while out shopping together. We always loved to shop together but found that it was hard to find the perfect place where we would both want to buy something. We thought that creating a boutique with something for every age would be the perfect spot.
You founded Flock with your mother, Lisa. Do you guys break up the buying by category or do you do it all together?
We do most of the buying together. We find that buying is most successful when we look through lines together and each pick our favorites.
How did you choose the South End as its location?
I live in the South End, so I have so much love for this neighborhood but I also saw that there was a need for another neighborhood boutique.
How long as Flock been around? How has it changed from then to now?
We just celebrated four years in September! We have had to adjust our vision a little bit since we opened. The biggest adjustment has been with the buying. I have realized that I really need to buy for my customers and not necessarily just what I love or see potential in. It's really a balance of both.
Have you ever thought about expanding?
I think our expansion will stay limited to online….for now.
You recently launched an e-commerce site. How is that augmenting business?
The site is still in the early stages. I know it has huge potential and I'm excited to see what that brings but we are still figuring out the best marketing strategy.
In the future do you see e-commerce getting bigger than the brick-and-mortar location or vice versa?
I think that online shopping is the future. With how busy our everyday has become, I think online shopping is an easy solution for consumers. I think there's something special about going out shopping and really taking in the environment, but my goal with the site is to make it feel like you are walking into Flock and that it's still a special experience.
You've won Boston magazine's Best of Boston "Best Women's Accessories" award two years in a row. What's your approach in accessory buying?
I really like to discover new up and coming brands. I'm pretty decisive in what I like and what I gravitate to so I keep my eye out always for the next big thing.
Which accessory brands seem to sell best at Flock?
Alkemie is a great seller for us. We have stocked in the shop since we opened so it really is a staple in Flock.
Any specific brands that people are always looking for?
We are one of the only stockists of Wildfox in the area so we have people who come looking for it specifically a lot.
What's the typical Flock customer like?
She's bohemian chic. I know that sounds cliché but I really like to think that Flock customers are the perfect combo of California boho-inspired but with Boston roots. We are quite different for Boston so anyone who walks into Flock and buys something has to have an open mind and an appreciation for our whimsical aesthetic.
Do you have a peak season?
Holiday is your biggest season, what three items in-store would make perfect gifts?
I think an Artemis Design Co. piece of any kind is the perfect gift, because it is designed by South End local Milicent Armstrong and everyone loves them. I also love our holiday Illume jarred candles, the perfect gift for anyone on your list, and our holiday ornaments are special and different than others you'd find anywhere else.
You guys are pretty active on social media, namely Facebook and Instagram. How has that helped business?
I personally love Instagram. I really believe that a picture can speak a thousand words. It definitely helps get people in the store and excited for new product.
I know you have two store sidekick pups: tell us about them!
Roscoe and Bo, my two rescue Bassadors, have been hanging with me at Flock since we opened. I wasn't sure if they would ever be real shop dogs, but they have seamlessly embraced the role. We have lots of customers who stop in just to see them. I like to think it makes the shop have a more welcoming and home-like vibe. We also have two other pups, Simon the Golden Retriever and Butters the Cockapoo, that belong to the other Flockettes and have also become quite the attraction at the shop.
And how about the other flockettes? Any fun facts or crazy in-store shenanigans to share?
I love my team of Flockettes so much. They all bring something different and unique to the shop. Elise, who is now our graphic designer, is currently living in Berlin but she is still "Flockin' out" and working hard to keep the website looking beautiful. I'm not sure how many other business relationships could stand the test of thousands of miles, but we make it work!
If you could move Flock into any other space in Boston, where would it be?
I would love a bigger space because there's so much more I'd love to incorporate into the shop. That being said I really love our spot on Shawmut Avenue, so I'm not sure I would move, maybe just expand the current space.
If you could add one thing to the store (regardless of space and logistics) what would it be?
More home product! I would love to incorporate more boho home style in the store.
Now for the lightning round...
Favorite item in the store right now?
Jenny Bird Guardian Tusk Hoops.
Anything you're excited about coming into the store in the coming weeks?
We have some really great holiday ornaments coming in that I can't wait to see.
1980s or 1990s?
8am or 8pm?
South End or Cambridge?
South End, my neighborhood!
North West or Blue Ivy?
Items in your closet you'd be lost without?
Siwy denim and my Chaser Grateful Dead shirts.
Favorite lunch spot?
Theme of your next lookbook?
Party time! A fun shoot featuring my favorite dresses for holiday festivities and New Year's Eve parties.
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