LONDON — The multibrand London retailer Goodhood is toasting its 10-year anniversary with new collaborations, the creation of a premium in-house clothing range and a commitment to remain small and independent.
Launched in 2007 by Jo Sindle and Kyle Stewart, who met when they were both working at Levi’s, the store now has a full lifestyle offering. Located on Curtain Road in Shoreditch, the store sells brands such as Comme des Garçons, Norse Projects and Vans alongside more obscure labels such as Have a Good Time, Wood Wood and Aries.
The store, with its minimalist interiors, white walls and wooden flooring, also stocks homeware including bamboo furniture by Snow Peak, storm lanterns by Feuerhand and bath brushes by Iris Hantverk.
The pair sources products from their travels, shopping and speaking to their friends that work in design. “The smaller and lesser-known a brand is, the better it does for us — which is really weird,” said Sindle. “Over the past few years we’ve experimented with different labels. We had Alexander Wang for a bit and Marc Jacobs when they relaunched. There were a few names which totally did not work for us at all. People aren’t interested in buying that from us.”
Among the emerging labels that have performed well include L F Markey and Can Pep Rey, while staple brands like Norse Projects have become bestsellers. To mark its decade in business, the retailer worked with a bevy of brands and designers on a number of projects and collaborations including the Japanese brand Neighbourhood and Dr Martens. The store has also done a women’s wear capsule with the Korean brand Neul, and streetwear label Aries.
Growth, they said, will come from e-commerce, expansion into new markets and their own range of clothing.
In 2013, the company launched an in-house brand called Goods, a unisex range consisting of T-shirts, accessories and some outerwear. Now they are ready to take the next step. “We’ve always wanted to do our own clothing range. Obviously, we’re designers so that’s our background,” said Sindle. He said that so far they’ve steered clear of launching a proper collection, “because we were scared off. We thought it’s a nightmare, production’s a nightmare, it costs a fortune, a shop’s going to be really easy. We just didn’t know anything about it.”
While it is still in the early stages, the plan is to design men’s and women’ clothing that can be sold at wholesale as well as in-store. “It’s very much like what you’d find in the store,” said Sindle of the upcoming range. “It’s very us. Casual, with influences from streetwear and culture. I think it will reference classic pieces and be really influenced by Japanese brands and designers. Taking that across into women’s wear will be quite interesting. A men’s wear edge to women’s wear really works well for us.”
Most of the business comes from the U.K., and a customer base that ranges from 16 to 75. “It’s more about what people are into rather than their age,” said Sindle. “You can come in and spend a fiver, or you can come in and spend 2,000 pounds on a coat. We want to be inclusive and we want people to come in and buy something.”
Sindle did not disclose sales figures, but said sales have grown about 40 percent each year for the past three years, although this year the store is expecting 35 percent growth. “Of course, at first when you’re tiny, that amount of growth is quite easy to achieve. It has slowed a little bit, but we are still growing quite rapidly and substantially. There still is potential because our web business is still relatively small compared to our store. The store turns over more than web. The split is about 35 percent from site and 65 from the store, which is quite unusual.”
The company has about 35 employees, including part-time staff. She said the biggest challenge has been trying to grow while having limited funds, which is why the pair were also consulting when the business was still young. “For five years we were working and doing other work for people. What we made from that we injected back into the business, the store — to help growth.”
They are also contemplating opening stores in new markets. “From the very start, we thought we didn’t want to open other stores in this country,” said Sindle. “At the moment they’re still ideas but we always talked about Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York. So it’ll be one of those places when it happens. When we first started 10 years ago, we both had design backgrounds, but no retail experience. We had this idea of a concept store and it was really romantic rather than a business vision. We didn’t know what we were doing in terms of business. We were very small. It was very idealistic. We didn’t consider sales at all — that wasn’t part of the strategy when we started, and now it totally is obviously, in order to survive you’ve got to sell things. That is crucial.”