Eighty Seven founder: “We’ve had a positive start to the spring season”

Amy Cook, founder of Melbourne-based womenswear independent Eighty Seven, on her store’s latest developments

Named after founder Amy Cook’s birth year, Derbyshire independent Eighty Seven offers a curated edit of womenswear and accessories inspired by global travel. The business first opened in 2016 as a small boutique in the market town of Melbourne. Today it is a three-storey destination store stocking brands such as Mos Mosh, Second Female and Suncoo Paris. Here its founder reveals its current best-sellers, biggest challenges and the process behind its recent refurbishment…  

How is business at the moment?
We’ve had a positive start to the spring season at Eighty Seven. It’s been an interesting year navigating the challenges that come with an ever-changing economy. Our focus on staying flexible and responsive to these changes has served us well, and we’re seeing that effort reflected in the warm reception of our SS24 collection.

What’s been selling particularly well?
Our denim range has particularly resonated with our clients this season, especially barrel leg and boyfriend cuts in washes perfect for spring. We maintain a selective stock to ensure our offerings are unique, catering to customers that value exclusivity. Alongside denim, transitional pieces like versatile dresses and summery shirts have seen strong interest, attesting to their adaptability from crisp to sunny days. 

Tell us about your recent store refurbishment…
After seven years, the store’s evolution mirrored my personal growth. It’s now a space that reflects a serene-yet-vibrant atmosphere inspired by my travels and unique style. This refresh also aligns with our expansion into homeware, gifting and accessories, transforming Eighty Seven into a lifestyle destination. The revamped space has exceeded my expectations. I’m most proud of how the store now embodies a blend of quality and unique style, enhancing the shopping journey for our customers.

How have customers reacted to the space?
The feedback has been heart-warmingly positive, affirming that the redesign resonates with our customers’ desires for a tranquil and inviting shopping environment. Our social media has been buzzing with anticipation from customers planning their visits, eager to experience the new space in person.

Have you introduced any new brands for SS24?

We’ve introduced several fresh brands including Bonte, Esme Studios, and Hod Paris, each bringing a unique flair to the store. They’ve already resonated well with our customers and contributed to Eighty Seven’s dynamic edit.

Why did you decide to expand your lifestyle offer?
Responding to customer feedback, we’ve broadened our horizons to include homeware and thoughtful gifting. The new ranges echo the distinctive style of Eighty Seven. I hope it speaks to our commitment to cater to our customers’ lifestyle needs.

What do you love most about indie retail?

For me, the charm of independent retail is unparalleled. I relish the tactile experience of shopping, the diversity of high streets, and the personal connection that comes from a curated space. This is what excites me about the future of independent retail – the continued allure of distinct, personal shopping experiences.

What are the biggest challenges you’re facing right now?

Navigating the challenging landscape, from economic pressures to the evolving retail climate, requires tenacity. But passion and a keen understanding of our customers’ needs keep us moving forward. The team hope to provide a blend of exceptional service and beautiful product offerings that resonate with our customers.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

As we progress through the year, our focus is on elevating the Eighty Seven experience, inviting both loyal and new customers to discover the uniqueness of our store and the beauty of Melbourne. We encourage people to visit and explore the unique tapestry of shops, delis, cafés, and restaurants our town has to offer.