It’s been 19 years and now it’s time for them to come back to the beginning.
New Zealand clothing brand Moochi started out in Mount Maunganui and is now returning to its roots to open a store just 50m from where it all began.
“Nineteen years ago we had a tiny little design office upstairs on the Mount’s Mainstreet looking over towards the Mainstreet Carpark. We used to carry mannequins down fraying, carpeted stairs to show the shoppers there was a new designer to check out,” says Moochi creative director Kellie Taylor.
“It was really hard when we packed up and moved the business to Auckland – that was definitely an emotional exercise. We loved living in the Mount so it was really challenging to leave. I think that ultimately it’s cool to be able to get back to where we started.”
With 12 brick-and-mortar stores around the country and a successful online shopping platform, Moochi will open the thirteenth store in the heart of Mount Mainstreet, in the old ASB site.
The Mount Maunganui creative and retail scene has gone from strength to strength over the past decade and with the perfect location being secured, the time to return feels right, says Kellie.
Moochi, founded by Kellie and Chris Taylor in 2000, remains 100 per cent owned by the couple. All design work is done by a team headed up by Kellie with most of the garments manufactured right here in New Zealand. Chris leads the business as managing director and he has almost completed a very busy run of new store fit-outs and refits across the country, with new stores in Havelock North, Nelson, Christchurch CBD and Queenstown most recently. The business has grown steadily from the early years when they were award winners at the local business awards.
“We now have 25 in our head office, it’s crazy!” says Kellie.
“As a team we do feel genuinely proud of what we are doing, supporting the industry here. We are putting really good numbers of garments through the New Zealand manufacturing businesses which we think is really positive.”
She says the new Mount store will be bigger than the current store in Tauranga and Kellie is excited to show the Bay clientele how much they’ve grown up since their humble beginnings. Each Moochi store has its own name to reflect the location, the new spot is aptly named Moochi Main.
“I’m really looking forward to them seeing and feeling Moochi how it is now. They can see the variety of product – there’s so much more to the brand than there was and to be able to show it in the new fit out is great.
“The Tauranga store, The Light Capsule, on Devonport Road will remain for its loyal Tauranga customers and the products will largely be the same at the two locations, but the customers at the new Mount store are genuinely going to walk in and feel the brand on a whole new level,” says Kellie.
“I think they deserve that, given they helped get the business on its feet and have stayed truly loyal for two decades and I’m sorry it’s taken us so long to get the Mount store they’ve been asking for, for years, but I’m really excited that it’s happening!”
The growth of the Moochi business over the period since they moved to Auckland has been significant. There were just five stores back then. Their learning has been immense and the Taylors have worked hard. Their children - now 15 and 17 - were only 5 and 7 when they left and they would say Moochi was their third child.
“Success in the fashion industry does not happen through luck, it is a real grind but if you love what you do it is worth it, as other local successful brands would agree,” says Kellie.
“I’m hoping that the local community will go: ‘wow can you believe it’s almost 20 years since they started here, they’ve done really great and it’s awesome that they’re back here with us’,” she says
“At our heart, we’re incredibly grateful for being able to start the business at the Mount, for the creative freedom the environment allowed us and the confidence the locals gave us in what we were doing. We must be the only mad fools that were smart enough to move to the beach and foolish enough to leave!”