Interview by Lorenzo Molina

Probably you’ve heard or read a lot about the aging of brick and mortar retail in recent times, and the need to find new incentives to drive consumers out of their couches, getting everything delivered home by Amazon, Asos and the like. Luckily, a few brave entrepreneurs like Yazid Aksas, founder of the Public Factory space decided to make a difference by renting retail slots to a variety of apparel- and accessory brands for determined periods of time. “Basically there was nothing between pop-ups and long-term leases, and that's what I decided to solve with Public Factory,” maintains Aksas. “By sharing resources, spaces, staff, and all the costs, and creating a flexible terms (3 months renewable), we optimize the chances of success for brands.” In order to keep it exciting, new brands are added to the assortment throughout the year, so that customers always find something new. Currently in stock, menswear brands like Cockpit USA, shirts-specialist Aksel Paris, jeans brand Mott & Bow and Swedish accessories label Enter. In this interview, Aksas explains us the concept behind Public Factory with greater detail.

Public Factory, New York
Public Factory, New York


What is your professional background before founding Public Factory?
I have a technology background and I am a Stanford MBA graduate. A few years prior to Public Factory, I started a menswear brand called Beau. When I decided to open my own store in New York, I realized how complicated, expensive and risky it was. My brand was not even two years old and I had to commit to a 10 years lease, spend hundreds of thousands in construction and deposit. Then add to that staff costs, logistics etc. It because almost impossible for small brands to survive on the retail world.

Can you share with me how much does it cost approximately for a brand to get a shop-in-shop within Public Factory?
It costs $3000 per month for a shop-in-shop of about 100 sqft (9 sqm).

What brands and designer profiles are interesting for you? Which features are important when choosing a brand/designer to start a partnership with?
What's very important is how they fit and complement the rest of the brands we have at the space. Additionally, how unique their products and designs are.



What advantages do you think that the Public Factory’s assortment offers to consumers?
We showcase products they usually won't find at big box retailers and the traditional mall everybody is tired about. Public Factory is a purveyor of cool and new and customers appreciate the uniqueness we bring to the retail market.

How to get men interested into small and impendent designers? In the past, men were considered very brand-loyal and it was rare for them to buy garments from little-known creators…
Men like experiences, so you have to provide an excited environment that enhances the products you are selling. That's what we offer. Also telling the story behind each brand and pointing out what's unique and special is a good way to get them excited about purchasing a brand they don't particularly know.

Public Factory, New York
Public Factory, New York


How would you describe your average consumer?
Sophisticated, curious, international traveler and with a high purchasing power,

Have you perceived an evolution on how men shop clothes and their attitude towards fashion in recent times?
I think they are definitely more aware of what's going on, they read a lot of content about men's lifestyle, they don't hesitate to ask questions about the making of the products they are buying, they like to feel special and like unique items that make them stand out. I do feel they spend a bit more, but they don't go crazy. Men are still reasonable compared to women.

Public Factory, New York
Public Factory, New York


Public Factory, New York
Public Factory, New York


Public Factory, New York
Public Factory, New York


Public Factory, New York
Public Factory, New York


Public Factory
Soho Grand Hotel
310 West Broadway,
New York, NY 10013
USA