Town & Country (UK)
The sociable sorority at the heart of Berkshire’s favourite boutique, Mojo & Mccoy.
Laura Lopes and friends on their Hungerford boutique Mojo & Mccoy
Wait!’ exclaims Emily Hambro as she slams on the brakes of her 4WD so that it skids across the mossy cobbles outside her farmhouse. ‘We’ve forgotten the sloe gin.’ Clouds scud across the grey-blue sky, and shards of sunlight illuminate the grassy slopes of the North Wessex Downs. Emily’s car is one of a convoy preparing to snake its way down to a cluster of fishing huts on the river: the scene of our Town & Country photo call. Gin doesn’t usually feature on a magazine shoot, but Emily and her friends aren’t your average models. They are Chanelle Mccoy, a businesswoman and star of Ireland’s Dragon’s Den; the former farmer Emma Harding; the gallerist Laura Lopes; and her sister-in-law, Mima. Along with Chanelle’s sister Hilary, whose job at Goldman Sachs means she’s tied up in London today, they are all joint owners of Mojo & Mccoy, a fashion boutique in Hungerford.
‘We’re quite an eclectic bunch,’ admits Chanelle, as she sips hot chocolate in one of the huts. The wife of the retired jockey AP Mccoy, she was the brains behind Mojo as a shop that catered for the local racing community. Having f loated the idea to Emily, Emma and Laura over the school run (their children are in the same class), they snapped up an empty property in the centre of town. Laura enlisted Mima, who previously worked in Austique on the King’s Road, and Hilary joined to help with the accounts. Three years on, Mojo’s remit has broadened to include anyone who craves a lovely piece of cashmere or a fitted pair of jeans but doesn’t want to travel to the capital to get it. The store stocks around 50 brands, from country-chic coats by Troy to cocktail dresses by Diane von Furstenberg.
‘We are all in our thirties and forties,’ says Laura. ‘That’s our target market, but we try to cater for older women too.’ This includes her mother, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who is a particular fan of Mojo’s range of Samantha Sung dresses; they also stock Dotty Dungarees for children. Accommodating all ages is a technique that is clearly working, as last year was the store’s best yet. ‘It’s all come together very nicely,’ says Laura. ‘There hasn’t been one cross word between any of us, despite the fact that some of us didn’t know each other very well,’ adds Chanelle.
Such is the laughter and constant chatter throughout the day, one would never guess that the women are recent friends. On arrival at the water’s edge, one of the sheds is commandeered as a makeshift dressing-room. Later, we move to Laura’s home for lunch, where Sid the dachshund scampers through the grass after some rather skittish chickens. There is so much conversation that I wonder how anyone gets a word in edgeways at Mojo’s meetings.
‘We like to call them animated discussions,’ says Chanelle. ‘I make it my job to keep the girls in order, but there are a lot of interruptions.’ At their last gathering in Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel they ended up on the restaurant floor challenging each other to press-ups. Yet despite this sense of fun, they take business very seriously and each woman brings her own strengths to the table. While they all help with sourcing brands, Chanelle sets the budgets, Emma handles sales and Mima runs the back-end of the shop ‘with an iron fist’, according to her sister-in-law. ‘I mean, you can’t nick a thing,’ jokes Laura.
Needless to say, the one trait they all share is an unswerving commitment to the shopper’s experience, opening after hours for styling sessions and offering complimentary champagne. The result is a place that makes customers feel entirely relaxed, so much so that one recently tossed her prosthetic breast to Emma from inside the changing-room. With such loyal clientele and burgeoning sales, is expansion on the cards? ‘I would love to open a mini Mojo at some stage,’ Chanelle says with a wink. Let’s raise a glass of sloe gin to that. www.mojoandmccoy.com