Kellie and Chris Taylor founded moochi 17 years ago. Well known for off-duty essentials, beautiful dresses and classic must-have statement pieces, it has become a favourite wardrobe staple for many New Zealand women. With 9 stores across the country, it has been Kellie’s understanding of the importance of her customer’s feedback that has amplified moochi’s success. Portia Campbell caught up with the busy designer over the summer break.
Chris and I travelled to Europe on our OE as 25/26 year olds looking for that great idea that we could bring home to NZ. On our travels we decided that NZ was actually pretty awesome and it wasn’t what the world could do for NZ but more about us doing what we love. I drew up my first collection while we were away and we came back, considered other options and then settled into the moochi plan. The name moochi was created to describe how you would feel in our gear, clothes to moochi in, to relax and feel good in at your favourite cafe, on the weekend or at the bar having a casual drink with a friend. The range has developed and grown so much since we started, much of this is driven by what our customers wanted from us. I consider that our customers own the brand and I am here to guide it.
N. Under the moochi brand sit sub-labels ‘6 and 7’, ‘bread and butter’, ‘faithfuls’ and COLLECTION. How have these diffusion lines added to the wider moochi experience?
We created these to better help us focus our design thoughts on the needs from different areas of our customers’ lives. Each label also gives us a chance to connect our wardrobes with the multiple facets in all our lives. For most of us we are not just casual or dressy, we are much more complex and the different labels allow us to tend to this easily. We now have customers who talk very specifically about a favourite label within our brand. It’s fun!
N. It’s 10am on a Sunday morning. Where would we find you and what are you doing?
Just sitting down to a Little Bird muesli with fresh fruit and a coffee made with love by Chris!! After a crazy busy week I enjoy the peace of Sunday morning at home. I have never learned to use our coffee machine so I can feel treated every time. We have been renovating our home for a crazy 7 years and we’d spend the time talking about what to do next! It’s nearly done now. Phew!
N. How would your best friend describe your own personal style?
Moochi, lol! I am not a super dressy person and will often be seen in sneakers at work or out at dinner. I’m definitely more of a masculine than feminine dresser. I think this is to balance out that my colouring is quite ‘pretty’ and if I wear feminine clothes I feel very girlie and odd! My key look is more often mostly black with a silk top and black pants of varying versions. I do embrace a lighter look too though, with denim and soft marles. On the worst weather days or when I’m really weary, I’ll go for a light all over look in white, ivory or oyster. I prefer to be in one tone all over than splitting it up.
When I was studying fashion I always thought I would be a magazine editor one day! I entered fashion school more as an academic than a hands on creative. It was tough for me at first at design school but I got there. I have always loved the message of clothing and for me this remains true today. Moochi is about an experience, not just the clothes.
N. For several years, moochi has hosted the ever popular ‘Dress Week’. Tell us a bit about this activation…
This was started in response to our customers asking us for dresses for the special events in their lives. Up until then dresses were not really a moochi focus and this event really encouraged the brand to grow and dress up a little more. I’ve never been a ‘dress’ girl, usually opting for pants, so this annual event is always a great journey for me too. The event itself is all about the celebration of being a girl and all the fun that goes with getting ready to party. From hair and makeup, to shoes and hand bags. We work with fabulous brand partners like MAC and Redken, and present key looks that our customers can be inspired by. The dresses are designed for balls to garden parties, Friday drinks to work do’s.
N. How do you manage to balance designing, running your own business and motherhood?
I don’t. I have long given up seeking that concept of balance. I deal with what is directly in front of me and stay flexible. I have an amazing team at moochi and our kids know that moochi is part of what makes me and also that it allows for the fun things in their lives too!
N. What are your 3 must-have beauty essentials?
Sleep, MAC everything and blonde highlights!
N. What is Newmarket’s best kept secret?
I am not sure it’s a secret, but I feel that despite other areas developing, Newmarket is still a pretty fabulous shopping district. From when I was a teenager at Epsom Girls to now, I think for Aucklanders and visitors, this area represents the best of what the country has to offer. We love being on the corner of Teed and Osborne streets. The further lane developments have extended this boutique experience and there is lots to discover! It’s a great place to shop!!
N. How do you start each day?
With the cold nose from my mini schnauzer on my arm saying get up, let me out! Then it’s all go with kids to school, tradesmen arriving, breakfast, work emails, HR conversations with Chris about what’s happening at work and of course that daily question, ‘ what to wear?!’ I use this question to consider not just my daily need, but what seems to be working in my wardrobe and why, what is missing and what to develop. It’s a busy brain time!
We love having the extra platforms to share with our customers. It’s an ongoing opportunity and we are learning all the time. From a creative perspective the volume of incoming information around can be overwhelming and it’s important to know when to absorb and when to step back and stay on your own path.
N. Tell us a bit about the moochi Bridesmaid collection…
We’ve curated a selection of our most loved dresses in response to the number of requests for us to make favourite dresses for up-and-coming weddings. The bridesmaid collection is available to view in all regions and you can walk in or ideally make an appointment and get a really intimate session to learn all of your options within the bespoke service we provide. Once the decision is made on which style suits, it is hand cut and made to order. Magic!
N. Name 5 things that you can’t live without.
Chris. Creating. Drop crotch pants. Coffee. Phoenix coconut toast. I should say my kids too huh!
N. If you could raid any woman’s wardrobe, who’s would you raid and why?
This may seem strange but I don’t really have style icons as such. I respect any woman who values herself enough to understand her body and the needs of her lifestyle and match her wardrobe needs accordingly. Having said that Rebecca, who designs with me at moochi, seems to have quite the Narnia wardrobe and I have said I’d love to get in there with her!
Value per wear, it’s always white sneakers and black pants. Right now that’s my moochi glass pants and twice kicks.
N. And your worst?
Any pair of heels. I love to own them but hate to wear them as I have a bad back that says no!
N. What is next for moochi?
2017! We had a record breaking 2016 and I’m in the middle of writing a strategy for this new year. I’m definitely feeling the pressure to come up with some cracker ideas to elevate us on last year. It’s good pressure, I like it. Watch this space to see what we lock in.
Corner Teed and Osborne Street, Newmarket
09 523 4640 @moochi_