Here’s what went down, plus a few other questions Kellie didn't quite have time to answer.
Where did the name moochi originate from?
Starting out, I was trying to explain to Chris (business partner and husband) how our clothes should feel. Clothes to chill in, clothes to ‘mooch’ in. A moochi feeling!
With the advent of all things internet, could you run your business from anywhere?
Moochi garments still start from a drawing, a discussion, an idea, which comes from the energy of a team.
It's a hands on, tangible process that happens in our design office and work room. We still use a pencil, pins, and scissors every day.
Who is your fashion influence?
My inspiration doesn’t come from a single person. Inspiration is a balance between international trends, our brand essence, and what our customers want to wear.
What are some important lessons you've learned about going into business?
Celebrate the moments. Enjoy the journey. A good business never meets its destination.
What is the biggest change you've made to your brand and why?
As our customers have wanted more from the brand we have created sub-brands to meet their needs. For e.g. our 6 and 7 brand for your off-duty, and COLLECTION for your high fashion moment.
Are your clothes made locally?
moochi is 100% designed and mostly made in NZ. Currently we are approx. 80% NZ made, we seek offshore manufacturing partners where local can’t provide – e.g. shoes.
What are your design tips for this season?
We're loving spicy tones, khakis and mid-length silhouettes for dresses and coats.
How did you fund your first bricks and mortar store?
More easily than you’d think compared with what it costs us today. Back then, I made 300 units, leased a store in what the agent said was a terrible spot, but it worked!
You're using social media – what do you find is the best mix?
Instagram’s visual nature works well to tell a fashion story and it has a more intimate connection. Social media keeps us close to and in conversation with our customers.
How do you turn your creative ideas into a business?
The key is understanding your market. Who are you talking to? It's easy to have creative ideas, but harder to have creative ideas that sell!
What was the best advice you were given as you set up Moochi?
It’s actually what people told us we couldn’t do that stands out more, like open a store in Auckland and live at Mount Maunganui, which we did anyway! Remember anything is possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
Did you have a mentor to guide you?
We worked with a business coach in year two when I was pregnant and we realised we had to seriously change the way we were working, as too much revolved around what was in my head!
They helped us make ourselves more accountable, formalising procedures, that sort of thing.
Did you originally do a 1 or 5 year business plan or did things evolve over time?
We had a basic plan that reviewed each year but growth also came from simple opportunities we jumped on like new stores in good locations.
If there was one thing you would do differently if you had your time again what would it be?
Maybe choosing to start a business and a family simultaneously! Being a mum, business owner and creative is full on and full of compromise.
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