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Q&A: Matthew Murphy, co-founder of b store and Other

With news this week of the closure of iconic indie and brand b store, Drapers’ Ana Santi caught up with co-founder Matthew Murphy to learn about his new retail venture called Other

Why did you decide to close b store and launch Other?

I’m very proud of b store, but the issue we had was that it had become something else. The brand itself became 70% of what we sold in the shop, but b store was supposed to be a platform for other brands. We found ourselves working harder for [our stockists] and finding time to focus on the shop became really hard.

If the brand was performing well, did you try to find a way of keeping b store going, as well as launching the new venture?

We had a board meeting [with shareholders and distributors Six London] but their experience and knowledge lies in shoes, [so they’re continuing to run b store’s footwear business]. For b store the brand [rather than retailer], sales of clothing and shoes was 50/50 and there’s more heritage on the shoe side as b store started as a shoe business. That’s why we want to continue to buy b store shoes for Other.

What’s the concept behind Other?

The foundation of Other is b store. We wanted to get back to being retailers and support young designers. We’ll be taking a lot of b store brands with us like Peter Jensen and Sophie Hulme, so we have a foundation, and we’ll be doing collaborations with brands. We’re also looking to open Other Space, a second unit in East London, but probably not until the end of next year. The concept of Other Space could change month on month. It could be a gallery space, for example. And it won’t sell the same product as the Kingly Street store.

You’re also launching Other as a clothing brand. I take it you’re not planning to wholesale it…

We’re not touching wholesale! I think we’ve learnt from that experience! The intention for Other is not to be a trend-led brand and be less dependent on seasons. On menswear, there will be similarities with b store on shapes, like the cropped utility jacket [b store was known for]. That utilitarian feel will carry through. On women’s, it will be a bit different [to b store]. If we have a great shirt dress shape, for example, it might be there every season, but with different fabrics and colours. The first womenswear collection will be silk-based. And it’s 100% made in England.

To read today’s news story, click here: “B store closed as founders launch new store

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