Although we sell directly from our website, ONA also partners with select retail stores throughout the United States and the world to sell ONA camera bags and accessories. Our retail partnerships expose us to a larger audience, as well as allow people to feel the bags before purchasing. Over the past few years, we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know our retailers and their customers and experience how they’re adapting to the changing world of photography. We wanted to give you a glimpse into these stores, and highlight each retailer’s unique personality.
We’re particularly grateful for our retail partnership with Leica: we’re currently sold in the Leica Store Washington DC (since it opened in May 2012 as the first dedicated Leica store in the United States), Leica Store Miami and Leica Store Los Angeles. However, the Leica Store SoHo is likely the closest to our hearts: located just a few blocks away from our New York office, we’re able to pop into this store on a regular basis to hear about the latest celebrity sightings, see how the bags are displayed or attend a gallery opening. Manager Chris Durkin was kind enough to sit down with us and answer a few of our questions about the Leica Store SoHo:
ONA: How would you describe your store’s personality in one sentence?
CD: We’re laid-back, comfortable, not intimidating. Leica can be an intimidating brand, and we try to go out of our way not to be.
ONA: For your own photography, what are your favorite types of photos to take?
CD: I’m not a photographer, but almost everyone else on our staff is a very talented, professional photographer. Many were dedicated Leica shooters far before they started working in the store.
ONA: What keeps customers coming back?
CD: There’s a real sense of friendship. So many of our customers become friends! [Staff chimes in: “It’s the warm and wonderful service, and long-flowing locks!”]
ONA: What’s one of your favorite customer stories?
CD: A popular musician came in looking for a Monochrome. When he mentioned who we was, I realized that I had tickets to his show that night. He bought the camera and we ended up meeting up before the show and taking photos together of the opening band. He took me backstage to meet the rest of the band and take their photos. We’ve kept in touch, and now we always shoot together when he has a gig in town.
On that note, another reason why we’re able to keep some of our high-profile customers coming back is that same sense of friendship. We have a lot of celebrities who shop here, and we don’t hound them. We provide excellent service, but we don’t bow down, and I think they appreciate that.
ONA: Where’s your favorite place to take a break in the neighborhood?
This is a frustrating question! All of our favorite restaurants and cafes have shut down recently. However, we do like to go the Raccoon Lodge to get a drink and blow off steam after work. It’s a place where we like to catch up with some of our customers who have become friends!