Sandra O’Connell and Evelyn O’Flaherty, founders of Mooch, tell us about the origins of their beautiful chain of shops.
Mooch was opened in May 2016 by Sandra and Evelyn, two local residents who met at the school gates of Mount Carmel Primary School when their youngest children became best friends.
We had both been making our own products while our children were at school. This eventually led to having stalls (always next to each other) at local West London artisan Makers markets. We often met with other artisan makers and always said that their products would be great if we ever had a shop. So, when an empty shop on our local high street (we live a stone’s throw from the first shop so are true locals!) became available our vision was always to support small independent makers and designers and we have worked with lots of people who we met at the markets, who we still stock to this day. And Evelyn still produces beautiful jewellery which we, of course, sell at the stores.
We have four shops: two along Northfields Avenue, one on Pitshanger Lane and one on Fulham Road. We are also due to open our fifth store in Barnes this Summer. We stock a mixture of carefully curated, well known brands (mostly with a good environmental and ethical story) as well as lots of small independent maker designers with whom we have developed close relationships. Our aim is to offer products that are not easily found and help small independents springboard into the wider retail community.
We have a mixture of brands that do particularly well for us, including One Hundred Stars who make the most gorgeous kimonos, gowns and bags. Aery and St Eval Candles are both strong brands with good environmental and ethical stories.
Our locally themed products based on the local Ealing Area designed by the wonderful Jessica Hogarth sell well throughout the year. In our children’s shop we sell Albetta Clothing which is an organic children’s clothes and toys brand; Tenderleaf toys which are made from sustainable wood and use non-toxic paints. We are also one of the biggest JellyCat stockists in West London.
We stock well over 100 brands so it’s almost impossible to choose a favourite! We also have a huge range of greeting cards and last year won an industry award for the Best Independent Card Retailer in London and the South East.
We have some new products arriving from India in the Summer as we recently visited Jaipur where we met with the producers and were able to meet with the artisan makers and watch them produce the most beautiful products. These products will include clothing, jewellery and nightwear. We wanted to develop more of our own products, and it was very important for us to visit the manufacturing sites so we could be confident in our purchasing choices and be able to see what conditions these were being made in.