A few ramblings from Mrs MOOCH...

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  1. When we started looking for a shop, there was only one location that we had in mind. St Giles Street is a fabulous spot in Northampton, brimming with wonderful boutique style independent shops. We know the location very well, and having spent lots of time (and money!) in the shops, we knew we had something to add to the street’s offering.

    There were six key factors that influenced our choice of location:

    • Style – when we were creating MOOCH in our mind’s eye, we always had something classic, stylish and unique. St Giles Street absolutely embodies that style, and when we chose to open in 33 St Giles Street the wonderful style of the business was perfect for us.

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    • Competitive landscape – St Giles Street had already become a fabulous spot for independent retailers, and is definitely a destination for discerning customers looking for the perfect gift, whether that be something for the kitchen, jewellery or fashion. When we were creating our range we were careful not to simply duplicate what was already on offer. Someone told me once “fish where the fish are” and we know customers visit locations where there is choice. We felt that we could add to the choice on offer on St Giles Street, and hopefully to increase its attractiveness as a shopping destination.

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    • Parking & accessibility - parking is a bit of a hot topic in Northampton, however there is meter parking all around St Giles Street, and several multi-storey car parks around the town. 
    • Footfall – although St Giles Street is a secondary location, it has a lot of great cafes, restaurants and shops that attract a steady flow of people seven days a week. There are also a few big employers for whom the street is the ideal spot for a bit of lunchtime shopping.
    • Demographic – there are a number of mid-range and upmarket independent shops and businesses on St Giles Street, and the profile of the customers was perfect for the style and range of products we had in mind. We work hard to make sure we have a good range of products with something for every budget.

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    • Image – St Giles Street is well known around Northampton and beyond as a hot spot for independent businesses. In fact, it won Britain’s Best High Street in 2015 due to its style and range of quality indies. And St Giles Street also has a long history of being a great place to shop… so that was the only place we wanted to be for our first shop. 

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    TOP TIPS:

    • Know your location, research it carefully, speak to other businesses to find out everything about it
    • Visit the location every day of the week, and observe the customer flow
    • Look at the other businesses – what they do, who their customers are, when they’re busy, this will help when pitching your products at the right level
    • Fish where the fish are … competition is healthy, but people want choice – don’t do exactly the same thing as everyone else
  2. From the outset, we had decided that supporting local was a very important part of what we do – from our resources through to the products we sell, supporting the Northampton economy was important to us.

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    We found a couple of great guys (recommendation from Helen & Andy Barber, our friends and fellow business owners on St Giles Street) to undertake the work, and we found lots of local businesses to buy supplies from – we owe these guys many thanks for their support and advice:

    • Carpet Supacentre on St Edmunds Road in Northampton – they did our floor coverings, and there’s hardly a day goes past when someone doesn’t comment on our lovely stair carpet!
    • Abington Decorating Supplies – the advice these guys gave us on which paints to use in a conservation area was fabulous. They really know their stuff.
    • Travis Perkins – after our first evening’s shopping at B&Q (TP wasn’t open that first evening) they became our go-to spot for all things wood, screws and glues.
    • The Heat Corporation – who put much needed plumbing into our kitchen (and fixed the plumbing in the WC which had previously just been dumping the water from the sink on to the ground outside!)
    • On-load Systems Ltd - who added electricity to our upper floors … on our first floor there was just ONE plug socket for the whole floor, and on the second floor there was NO electricity … no lights, no plug sockets, nothing!
    • Garrod & Co – provided our EPOS system. We’ll talk a bit more about this in a future blog, but the guys here helped us to choose a system that would give us great management information and would allow MOOCH to be easily scalable. 
    • and finally … the all-round grafting duo of Chris and Craig who did everything to make sure we got open on time. We literally couldn’t have done it without them.

    Our interest in ‘local’ quickly extended into our range, and we have a fabulous selection of products that are sourced locally.

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    • Jane Warwick – local artist – Jane creates the most wonderful art based on trees. She is one of the most lovely people we’ve ever met, and we are so happy to be working with her. Hugely popular with our customers. She has also created a fab range of cards
    • Studio 8 embroidery – another Jayne (with a y this time) – Jayne makes fabulous cushions and doorstops. We have a range of cushions featuring our local team; and we’ve also done some fabulous bespoke cushions for weddings and special occasions. Jayne is a fabulous local business woman and an inspiration to us.
    • Kendall & Co – another range of gorgeous candles and room scents. The inspiration for the Kendall & Co brand was Harriet’s grandfather, who had a shop on St Giles Street! It feels very special to be able to keep the Kendall spirit alive on St Giles Street, and we imagine Harriet’s grandfather would have been very proud to know that his name would still stand proud here where his business stood.
    • Coulson Macleod – these guys are based just outside Kettering and they have created an awesome range of great cards and art prints. We love their work – and they’re really cool – we love working with them.
    • Lee Cousins – another very talented artist. Lee has been a customer sinc
      e we opened, and when he told us about his work we were immediately interested. Lee is a very talented artist and shoe designer and he creates shoe designs for some of the biggest and best known brands in the world. We are very lucky to have some of his fabulous, original, technical drawings, framed and ready to hang. Stunning!
    • The Velvet Co – candles and room scents produced locally, using soy wax and beautiful packaging

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    We are firm believers in karma – and we hope that if we support local businesses, that the local people of Northampton will support us. It seems to be going well so far… so we’ll continue with that!

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    TOP TIPS:

    1. When searching out local tradespeople, ask for recommendations from friends and other businesses
    2. Spending time talking to customers and getting to know them will often reveal more information about them - we have three great ranges that came about by getting to know our customers better
    3. Finding and supporting local businesses is really important - but don't compromise on quality - people will only buy local if it's good
    4. Know your local area well - and be ready to recommend the businesses you rate