Getting to know a bit more about Kimo and sister Diana, you realize the explosive creativity this female duo has always exuded even before starting in fashion retail: Kimo was a vinyl records' seller and DJ for more than 10 years, while Diana ran a restaurant before being a member of Colette -the much-hyped multi-label store for all things fashion and design related- for a couple of years.
Kimo and Diana Boulinier, the girls behind Démocratie
Kimo and Diana Boulinier, the girls behind Démocratie
In 2011, when their dad stopped working as a bookseller in one of the locations it the Latin Quartier of Paris, the two ladies saw their opportunity and started Démocratie where they merged their shared passion for fashion and music into one place. “For developing our concept it was a very good start to be an UFO in the old town,” remembers Kimo. Then earlier this year, the sisters moved to Etienne Marcel, the golden triangle of fashion, between Saint Honoré and Le Marais. In this interview, Kimo explains how successful Australian labels are in store and also how to retain a clientele that is overwhelmed by an ever-increasing offer of both physical and online retailers. Interview by Lorenzo Molina

Can you list the brands you are selling in the shop?
These last and next seasons we particularly appreciate emerging brands from Scandinavia, UK, US Australia and Asia for men and women, such as libertine libertine, Rains, Bibi Chemnitz, Waven Native youth, Somedays Lovin or Headbanger BKK and for our basics Dr. Denim has a great value and a great fitting. And because we love all parts, all details, all moods of the style, we carry sun eyewear such as Retrosuperfuture and Dblanc, shoes, sneakers from Vans, Novesta, Vagabond and jewelry … of course we are very pleased when we find a great French brand, as we used to sell Etudes or Sixpack few seasons ago.

Could you describe the classic male- and female consumer shopping at Démocratie?
Hard to say... Démocratie is a Democracy, we want to offer for any kind of consumer something they like, they look for or they’d like to discover. 7 to 77, classic or trendsetter, we are a place where all kind of expressions are possible; all kings, all queens.

Sneakers and shirts at Démocratie
Sneakers and shirts at Démocratie

Our young generation is overwhelmed by an ever-increasing offer of both online and physical retailers plus a growing number of brands. How do you manage in order to be relevant?
The identity is the answer. Display the stores' assortment as if any time you come to see what's going on in the store -or the online shop- you will have a surprise, a new proposition. For instance, even with such a famous brand as Vans you can stage products to provoke a different way to see the collection: the way you select the styles and you mix them with the other brands; the way to visual merchandise.
Then it is also very important, whether in a picture on Instagram or in the store itself. When you believe in a piece or a brand you need to understand all the potential and identity of it in a blink.

Within your brand repertoire, which ones are being overwhelmingly welcomed?
For the women, we’ve noted that Australian brands as Mink Pink or Evil Twin has the perfect value for the style they offer, Vagabond for the shoes is so comfortable and up to date in their shapes that women could buy them in every color. The Rains raincoats and bags for men and women are the perfect way to be protected from rain and still look stylish.

New store sign at Démocratie
New store sign at Démocratie

Have you recently added any new labels to your portfolio? Why?
We recently introduced 2 brands in France, an excellent brand of women shoes which is called Dysfunctional, very well designed and comfortable, feminine and original for every day. And it's European made as the designers own their factory.

What do you do in order to stay in the loop about new trends, labels and industry shifts?
Investigate and instinct, ask people whose style we like...
Could any fashion retailer manage without being active on social media these days?
Without social media, you can only count on the neighborhood of your location to make it. It's OK for a bakery or a grocery.

1 Rue de Turbigo
75001 Paris