Fashion firm opens store in London

Couture Club

A Manchester fashion firm has opened its first store in the south of England.

The Couture Club which was launched in 2015 with an initial investment of £5,000 has opened a store in London’s Westfield Stratford City shopping centre.

Founders Ross Worswick and Scott Shashua say they want to to buck the national trend by opening High Street stores.

Their new pop-up store, in London, opened at the end of August and means the Manchester-based company has created 23 jobs, bringing their total number of staff from 70 to 93.

The Westfield store has opened as a two-year pop-up shop, with an option to extend the deal afterwards.

Scott Shashua said: “We learn an awful lot from physically seeing who buys our brand because we can target that person and create products specifically for them.

“And we take inspiration from them, because we’ll see our customers wearing our clothes different ways as well, and it influences our design process.

“Our London store is already doing really well and we couldn’t be happier with the public’s response to the opening.”

The firm has two other shops in Manchester and Newcastle – and exclusive endorsement deals with celebrities – the entrepreneurs have set their sights on continuing their investment in the British High Street and opening more stores nationally.

They have plans to open stores in Birmingham, Glasgow and either Leeds or Sheffield – as well as internationally.
The company’s Manchester store, in the Trafford Centre, opened as a six-month pop-up in 2017 – but traded so well it’s now in its third year of business.

Scott, who is a trained lawyer and registered football agent, added: “Before we opened our first store in Manchester we were choosing between doing that, or running a national billboard campaign, which was going to cost almost double the amount of a shop fit-out.

“But the way we see things is that opening a store is cheaper and just as beneficial as running an advertising campaign – but brings the added bonus of creating jobs at a time when the High Street really needs that investment from companies such as ours.

“It allows our customers to get a lot closer to the brand. We would rather open up stores and let them see our real vision, to raise awareness of the brand and drive the traffic back online.”

The Newcastle store, in the city’s Metrocentre, opened last year as a pop-up shop.

Former reality TV star Ross puts his firm’s success down to doing things a little differently to the other brands that also started out as bedroom and Instagram brands.

The 30-year-old said: “It would have been really easy, and cheaper, for us to have our products sold inside other stores.

“But we wanted full control and we wanted to differentiate ourselves from the other brands out there, we don’t want our products placed alongside loads of other names because we’re unique and totally different to them.

“Our products are sold online on Asos, to which most of the products are exclusive, but that’s it – you won’t see them physically in any other stores but our own.

“We wanted to create our own environment, our own lifestyle, for our customers, and that’s another reason we took the plunge with the stores.

“I think if we’d have opened up as an actual store in Manchester people would have said we were mad, but because it was a pop-up they didn’t.

“So you almost don’t get the credit for opening a permanent store, but essentially that’s what we’ve done.”

The business’s staff are split across its stores, head office in Ardwick, Manchester, and in their dedicated warehouse.