Import News: The Hipster's Hudson News
So you’ve been open around a year? And it's been going well?
Yeah, late January. It's been going great.
Awesome! Do you guys sell online as well or is it all in here?
Just here and we have a second store in San Francisco.
Nice! But are you guys living here? Where are you in SF?
We kind of go back and forth. The store is in the Mission, on Valencia and 18th.
Where are you guys from?
Ken is from New York and I’m from Canada. I’m from this tiny town near Ontario.
Being from Canada, have you experienced any homesickness?
I wouldn’t say homesickness, but it's pretty close. I think there are elements of the culture that I appreciate, that drew me in here. But I’m still pretty close to home.
The idea for the store was really about getting to travel, that’s why there are snacks and magazines from all over the world. One of the original references were what if there was an airport kiosk but it wasn’t at the airport.
I love it, and I haven’t really seen a lot of these things before— so that’s always awesome, because being from New York, you have a lot access to a lot of different cultures.
You would be surprised though, I feel like people rarely people explore. They’re in New York, and they want to do nice things, but the nice thing can become a generic thing. We’re both similar in that we like to explore the city a lot so we realized like there all these cool things, lost in context. That was sort of the idea, like, how do we get people to encounter things as they do when they travel, because whenever you travel you’re more open and willing to try stuff.
And a lot of these things are from the U.S., which presents a pleasant surprise. For me, I try not to use any apps like Yelp in my everyday life, and I feel like that is how I still find new things in New York City, everyday, even though I grew up here.
Yeah, we try to have everything side by side and also that’s the way we do a lot of our shopping. It's like going all the way across the city, to find this one thing, from one spot.
That’s amazing! So have you not heard of a lot of these things previously?
That’s almost everything. We had a few things in mind, right when we started going, but we wanted to do a lot of research and a lot travel.
What were the few things that you started with?
I think the Spanish potato chips, and these chocolates. They’re a design studio based in Mexico City that we have been tracking and they released the chocolate bars close to the time we were opening, but weren’t ready to sell them in the US. So, when we finally went to go pick them up, they opened an office in NYC that was basically a room with a box of chocolate in it.
What was the trial and error process like with most of these things?
We do a lot of sampling, where we eat a lot of snacks. Often we’ll pick things out, but if they don't look that great, we won’t carry it, though.
That’s a pallette exploration thing as well, sometimes people will write things off because it’s completely out of their comfort zone.
Yeah, texture-wise sometimes things can be a little different as well. I wouldn’t say we carry anything that can be seen as only "novelty". That was one of the first questions that we would get when we first opened up, we’re not going for anything too exotic. But, people are still resistant to trying new things! Like, come on— they're potato chips from Spain.
That’s weird because people would eat Lay’s that are beer or cappuccino flavored, just because they know Lay’s.
Exactly, that’s what we mean, about putting it into a context where people try it. We always get people to try things, and when they finally do, they go, “Oh that’s good”. And it's like, we know, we’re not trying to sell you something gross!
It’s cool that you guys have multiple locations! Hopefully you could bring this to some middle-America states, I don't know how welcoming they would be about all of it, though.
We’re really optimistic about going into other spaces. I think logistically we would have to figure out how to scale it but yeah. We were on this job last fall that had us travelling around the US like crazy we were suddenly going to places like Pittsburgh, Columbus, Ohio, and Houston. Cities in America are all super diverse, and I feel like there is almost a need for this.
Do you plan on having an online shop?
I mean we might, it’s something that we often discuss, but we kind of like the idea of people coming together in a physical place.