Kevin Kafesu is the online men’s buyer at Norse Projects, the go-to shopping stop in Copenhagen for the best in menswear and lifestyle. Read on below to find out what it’s like being a buyer, what goes into deciding on what products to buy, plus get an exclusive playlist put together by Kevin.
Kevin Kafesu For M&D SelectsDecember 18, 2017
Tell us what you do.
I’m in charge of Norse’s e-comm channels in terms of buying and merchandising, alongside another Kevin, who’s also in charge of our Norse Projects flagship. So we do the rounds every six months, attending shows and showrooms, curating the Norse Store six months ahead of time. I mainly focus on the men’s side of things.
So the products that you buy, is it everything from clothes to tech?
Everything from clothes to tech, but also lifestyle, so publications, homewares, etc. It’s just a nice mix.
How do you decide what to buy?
The process starts off with an overall conversation. Other Kevin and I will sit down and we’ll do a little bit of research. But we’ll also try and create an experience, and that’s the whole idea: what kind of customer are we trying to target, and what are we trying to put around that customer, or what would be familiar to that customer. For example, if you create a picture of a guy who goes, I don’t know, let’s say to Hawaii regularly, then obviously you’re going to create an understanding of okay, what kind of newspaper does he read, what kind of car does he drive, where does he live? So once we create that picture, then we create an idea of what kind of products we’d want to buy for this guy.
Did you always know this was what you wanted to do?
Actually, no. I graduated in spatial architecture, so the idea was I was going to go into some sort of architectural discipline—but it didn’t work out that way. It kind of just happened naturally.
Do you bring any of your architecture background into what you do now?
Kind of. The one thing that comes in a lot of the time is the problem solving. Because we always face issues in terms of what’s the right product for this, or price versus quality, so there are many aspects that come into play.
The research part is the biggest part, because research is key to what we do—to understanding the product now, and where the product is going. You’re always trying to create what we call “future classics,” and in a way you could say you’re always trying to push for sustainability. So by creating future classics, you’re really playing a part in getting the customer something you know they’re going to continue to have for a long time, and it’s going to age beautifully, and they’re going to love it for a long, long time.
Does the store reflect your personal style, or vice versa?
You could say that. A lot of the brands we carry are actually brands that we have in our own wardrobes. I would say it’s a mixture of classic and Americana but also functional-tech.
How does music play a part in both the store and your personal approach to how you work?
Music is a big part of it. Music is culture, in a way. And for us culture is a big thing, and music plays a huge part in that.
What do you love the most about what you do?
The exploration part of it. The thing about buying is you get to see so much product, you get to go so many places, meet so many different people. In a way, you’re kind of on a constant expedition. Some of us have got that thing where we’re after that ultimate product that you get so stoked on, and every season you think you’ve found it—until the next season, where things just get better and better and better.