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Pet boutique Mungo & Maud provides customers with accessories for their much-loved pooches and moggies from its store in Belgravia. Co-founder Nicola Sacher tells us more about the concept.
The evolution of Mungo & Maud arose around the kitchen table in a desperate search for a bed for Michael and Nicola’s dog, George; could you tell us a little more about this, and how this experience inspired an entire business?
In 2003, when we began to create the company, there was little other than traditional pet stores. We were struggling to find products that complemented our interiors and lifestyle; the products were there – just not to our particular style choices. This sparked the idea, so we took a deep breath, left our prospective careers and began a huge amount of research and development. Then, in 2005, Mungo & Maud opened its doors.
When starting the business, were there always plans to have a physical location to sell designs or did you consider starting out online? I have always loved the visual experience of walking into a charming store and feeling special when you buy something that is beautifully packaged. It was always the intention to create an environment like this – especially as there were no other offerings at the time – it was important to express the idea in a physical way, not just a virtual one.
When deciding to have a physical store, how did the company go about selecting a location and particular residence? Did you have any criteria/ideas in mind?
I wanted to find a location that had a similar feeling to the identity of the brand. Somewhere that had a village feel and a sense of elegance. The building style was of huge importance, we wanted somewhere timeless and full of character.
How was the location found?
The location took a while to find but on a Sunday morning walk with my dog, I happened to walk past its door on Elizabeth Street and instantly fell in love. It had all the ingredients I was looking for. I could visualise everything.
What do you like about the area?
I have always liked the way you could buy your simple groceries, bread and wine all in the same street. Elizabeth Street has changed considerably since then but it still has a wonderful feeling and there is always a lovely ambiance and the architecture so beautiful.
Where else do you like to visit while here?
I tend to shop around the area, especially as I am never without a loaf of poilane… my ‘daily bread’. At least once a week we eat at either Oliveto on Elizabeth Street or Olivomare on Lower Belgrave Street, and buy huge quantities of ice cream from Olivogelo. Our new neighbour, opposite Summerhill & Bishop, is the perfect stop for tableware gifts. One of my favourite stores for a bit of retail therapy is Vis a Vis in Motcomb Street. In the springtime I always make a visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden, where my husband took me on our first date. It’s the perfect ‘secret garden’.
You offer many different items – from bags, beds, and blankets to individual pet accessories, toys, and treats. Do you have a particular favourite?
I’m rather proud of our new grooming collection, which took two years to develop. The products are fragrance-free, so also good for sensitive dogs and puppies. The wipes, ‘Mes Petites Lingettes’, can be used for eyes, ears and paws. From my dog’s perspective, I am sure that his favourites are his bed, where he likes to nest with his Polly Piglet, and his constant supply of organic carrot biscuits.
What have been your highlights as a business?
There are many. I suppose opening the doors on the 5 May 2005 at 5pm was a pretty big one. Then creating our webstore and Harrods store and having a presence in my favourite city, Tokyo, at the prestigious Isetan store. Collaborating with creative brands and people like Yasmin le Bon, Mulberry and Peanuts has also been such a privilege.
What is next for Mungo & Maud?
We have just launched our new movie collaboration, for the iconic sartorial British film and brand Kingsman, which is hugely exciting. Our webstore has just relaunched too, so this will be a big focus for us moving forward as we continue to develop the brand internationally.