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Interview with Tom Broughton, CEO and founder, Cubitts

We interviewed founder of Cubitts, Tom Broughton, to discuss the launch of Cubitts at 37 Marshall Street in 2013. He talks about his and Cubitts’ experience of the Carnaby neighbourhood and what made it the right place to open the first Cubitts store.

 

 

1. Can you tell us about Cubitts? How was the concept inspired by the location?    

We launched in October 2013. Our first store is the one in Carnaby. We started around a kitchen table and were trading without a site before opening at 37 Marshall Street. It all grew from there! As soon as we had a site we could offer eye exams, bespoke consultations, repairs – all sorts of things we couldn’t offer online.

 

2. How has Cubitts evolved since opening in 2015?

We’re a lot better at what we do now. We started off without a clue on how to do anything! Now we’re proficient! Retail, digital, design, and generally how to operate a retail business in the 21st century are all under our belt.

 

3. Why do you think both Cubitts and the location have been successful? What are the main benefits for you to being in Carnaby?

It’s 100% thanks to the location that we have made it to where we are today! The process of choosing the first location for your business is daunting. It’s expensive, and if you get it wrong it’s going to have a huge impact. You have to get it right and fortunately we did. The 37 Marshall Street site has given us a blueprint for success that we have replicated at our a load of our other 13 stores.

We learned about the size of units and orientation. We like the small site, corner building, big window, easy access with secondary room template and we’ve carried that to other locations.

We started with the view that it has to be Soho. There’s nowhere in the world like Soho. You have tourists, creatives, drunkards, flanneurs, actors, and the lot. I walked around looking for a location and found 37 Marshall Street – it ticked every box.

It was also close to other great brands, including Lazy Oaf and Red Wing - brands our customers would be visiting. So, it made sense to join the mix.

 

4. What is your relationship like with the community? How would you describe the Carnaby community in three words?

I’ve worked on the shop floor at our Carnaby store so I know most of the other occupiers around. We’ve formed some good relationships that we cherish to this day. The store manager of Red Wing in 2014 checked in just this week to see how we are doing.

It’s helpful to speak to other brands who have been through the same experiences. Lazy Oaf went through growing pains like us and it was helpful to share tips for the both us. Getting to know the community gives you great access to decision makers. Our Carnaby store is definitely part of the strongest community out of all of our stores.

How would I describe the community in three words? Vibrant, eclectic and independent.

 

5. What are a few of your favourite memories about Cubitts and Carnaby over the years?

On record store day, we held a party outside the shop without the necessary permission. A video of an elderly woman dancing went viral, which was brilliant!