Q&A: Lee and Maureen Hooson, Mococo

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The husband and wife team building a branded jewellery retail empire.

Maureen and Lee Hooson are the husband and wife team between the rapidly expanding West Midlands retailer Mococo. As well as driving branded jewellery sales, the store has its own perfume and has won a business award. They were named Ti Sento Retail Stars in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, in association with the Company of Master Jewellers.

Professional Jeweller: This year you have opened your sixth store – has it been hard work or is it getting easier as you grow?
Lee Hooson: Opening the Wrexham store was a highlight this year – it was hard work and a blast at the same time. Launching of the staff training programme has been another positive in 2012 as this gives both us and staff several opportunities to improve and scrutinise what we do.

PJ: Sound like you have been busy, but surely it hasn’t all been plain sailing?
Maureen Hooson: Yes we are constantly hitting brick walls. One of the most obvious in this climate is cash so at the moment everything we do is done organically, both banks and finance houses have stopped lending so any potential for business growth is restricted by borrowing. We think it has its positives in the sense we are not beholden to anyone.

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PJ: You recently opened another store, your sixth in seven years. Do you plan to keep growing at such a rate?
LH: Yes, we recently opened store number six in Eagles Meadow, Wrexham. We were trying to calculate how this store was going to perform, which was a nightmare, but luckily we massively underestimated and it is performing so well at this moment. Because of the increase in cashflow it provides a further springboard for expansion which we intend to follow through with.

PJ: You also launched your own frangrance this year, which is a little unusual for a jewellery retailer. How did this come about?
MH: The launch of our fragrance was done for reasons of brand identification. We have always used smells within stores, we used to use someone else’s fragrance and realised quickly we were giving our business away. We do have more plans to expand the brand into other area’s but those we would like to keep under wraps rather than spoil the surprise.

PJ: Most importantly this year, Mococo has been enjoying a strong turnover. What’s your recipe for success?
LH: Yes turnover this year has been good, and if there is a recipe the only thing Maureen and I can put it down to is quite simply the amazing response from our customers and the fact we both love the industry.

PJ: How do the two of you get away from it all?
MH: We take as much time off work as we both need. Our staff are that well organised it allows us to travel around the world, mainly the US, whenever it suits us. This acts as a great release, but in all honesty we don’t suffer too much from stress.

PJ: Looking ahead to 2013, what can we expect from Mococo?
LH: Our plans for next year are to increase the number of retail units whilst consolidating at the same time. We will hopefully make our website one to be reckoned with amongst some other small ideas which we would like to keep under our hats for now.
 

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