Soaring fashion jewellery chain flies in to Eagles Meadow

It’s a classic tale of entrepreneurial success – with help from celebrities like Christine Aguilera, Cheryl Cole, boy band JLS and Holly Willoughby along the way.

From a modest investment of £250 in 2006, the rapidly expanding fashion jewellery chain, Mococo, is projecting a turnover well in excess of £4 million this year.

The latest chapter in the story of Mococo’s spectacular growth will see them open a sixth store at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham in June, adding to their existing shops in Ruthin, Mold, Chester, Liverpool and Tarporley.

Not unlike the iconic Laura Ashley in the 1960s, it all started with mum of two Maureen Hooson making her own jewellery at her kitchen table at the family home in Northop, in Flintshire.

Maureen is the creative driving force behind Mococo, which specialises in “affordable glamour”, while husband Lee keeps the wheels turning in the engine room of the business, in a partnership of complementary skills that’s proving a winner.

Born in Liverpool and raised on the Wirral, Maureen worked for more than 20 years for the high end jewellers, Boodles in Chester.

Following the arrival of sons Oliver and Adam, now 22 and 19 respectively, she worked part time and it was then that the idea for Mococo was born.

It started out in 2006 with Maureen making her own jewellery for a party plan business and later buying in jewellery from other designers.

She and Lee opened the first shop in Ruthin a year later at a time when the recession was beginning to bite but, counter-intuitively, it was the ideal time to do so.

Maureen explained: “When the recession kicked in, the sales of really expensive high end items slowed down while sales at the affordable end of the spectrum took off.

“What, on the face of it, seemed to be an inauspicious time to start a business was actually the perfect launch pad for Mococo.

“Just because there’s a recession, people don’t stop wanting to treat themselves.

“On top of that, a lot of what we sell is for important occasions like birthdays, for an anniversary, Christmas, Easter or Mother’s Day – those occasions never go away.

“We keep refreshing our range as fashions change, we keep on top of it. We spend a lot of time abroad or in shows – anywhere we can find the next big thing.

“In addition to favourites like Thomas Sabo and Pandora, we also sell stunning jewellery from cutting edge designers like Stephen Webster, Shaun Leane, Chlobo and Monica Vinader.

“We regularly see our jewellery being worn by the likes of Christine Aguilera, Martine Mccutcheon, Holly Willoughby and Cheryl Cole.

“Meanwhile, the boy band JLS like the bright sparkly bracelets made by Tresor Paris and Peter Andre loves Chlobo.”

“Our main focus though is our customers – customer service is king. Without our customers, the business would not exist. They are our number one priority.

“What we sell is fashion jewellery that is real, it’s semi-precious – it’s affordable glamour.

“For example, if a girl has bought a new outfit she’ll come in with the outfit to find the perfect jewellery to go with it.”

According to Lee, Eagles Meadow is the perfect location for the  next staging post as part of their ambition to open more than 30 stores nationwide.

They are taking over the premises formerly occupied by the Jane Norman fashion empire which bit the dust because of problems at a national level that were totally unrelated to the thriving shopping centre.

He said: “I know we have a lot of customers from Wrexham and other parts of North Wales who currently come to our stores in Chester or Tarporley, so we wanted to bring the shop to them rather them having to drive to us.

“There is a buzz about Eagles Meadow, I was there the other day and I couldn’t believe how many people were there. The demographics at Eagles Meadow are great, it’s a busy place.

“We’re really looking forward to opening our store there. Every time we open a new store, we go to the next level, we add a bit more.

“It’s a big store which will enable us to bring in more new brands like Toywatch which is very cool at the moment with their aluminium and tortoiseshell watches.”

Eagles Meadow Manager Kevin Critchley was “really excited” about the arrival of Mococo at the busy shopping centre.

He said: “We already have a whole host of shops catering for fashion lovers so the range of fashion jewellery sold by Mococo will be the perfect fit.”

Photograph: Maureen Hooson
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