175-187 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough
Who you need to know
Owner Steve Cochrane (left)
It’s no mean feat for an independent store to be the opening act for a major fashion event in its city but that was just one of the impressive achievements of Middlesbrough young fashion independent Psyche in 2010.
“Middlesbrough Fashion Week was something I’d been wanting to do for ages, so helping to get it off the ground and being the launch catwalk, was great,” enthuses owner Steve Cochrane, whose sales soared by 40% year on year during the week-long fashion extravaganza last April. Add to that a complete refit to the three-floor, 35,000 sq ft space, a nomination for Drapers’ Department Store of the Year Award and even its own Psyche-branded iPod shopping app, and the imposing, industrial-style store is still flying the flag handsomely for the North.
“Being nominated for awards gives us a great buzz up here. It’s more of a challenge being successful in a manufacturing city with higher unemployment and less affluence, so we are really proud of our success,” Cochrane says.
He believes in retail theatre and feels that keeping the store fresh is what encourages repeat customers and entices new ones through the door. This season has seen the introduction of a swathe of new brands, including Our Legacy, Denham, Nom de Guerre, Heritage Research and Oliver Spencer, which join core collections like D&G, Ralph Lauren and Paul Smith.
“I have a short attention span and love change and experimenting with smaller labels, and that is what gives us the fashion credentials we are so well known for. We are inspiring because we really do embrace change and innovation,” Cochrane says.