Skip to content
Tom Heyes interview GoodHoodTom Heyes interview GoodHood


Under the hood at Goodhood

Tom Heyes is Commercial and Trade Director at Goodhood, and has come from working with some of the fashion giants like Dover St Market and Net-A-Porter.

In the run-up to the new store opening and the launch of Goodhood 3.0, we caught up with him to hear about brand building with a commercial hat on – how are the stories and ideas we share with customers shaping their relationship with us and what they buy?


LOP: Hey Tom! Thanks for sitting down with us to explore some of the big shifts in Fashion and Lifestyle and Leisure. We’ve been really interested in the idea of building community through these types of industries. Goodhood’s social say “Goodhood – Community – For the people, by the people”. What does community mean to you in your business – not only your customers but also in how you operate?

TH: The mindset of major fashion e-com players is to be everything to everyone. Their viewpoint becomes quite diluted, they’re not standing behind anything. At Goodhood our community is our customer base – like minded individuals who are into the same stuff that we’re into music, design, art, literature, food….

We’re small, we don’t have huge overheads and so we don’t have a need to be everything to everyone. We can just pick and choose the things that are interesting to us.

Personally, I don’t feel like fashion is very interesting at the moment. We are in a saturated marketplace where there’s a huge cultural shift away from these massive online retailers like Matches, Farfetch, Net-A-Porter and Mr. Porter, who are creaking now because people don’t want to see 200 pairs of black trousers or 300 knitwear brands. Customers want to hear that “we spent the time to find these for you guys, and we think they’re good”. Because of this, our communities, our customers, have a similar taste to us, and so together we can explore ideas that don’t necessarily come with lots of money attached alongside that more commercial relationship.

Like last night we did a listening party for Mount Kimbie, as we’ve recently started working with Warp Records doing album launches and listening parties. At Goodhood, it’s not always streetwear bros coming in and having a free beer, we can have of a bit more fun with engaging with our community. We can talk about what’s good, do film screenings, talks and workshops, or we can host an interview with Glenn Kitson or a Weird Walk in the countryside curated by the guys that love big stones.

If you’ve got engaged customers who look to you for direction and find you interesting you can go on a bit of a voyage of discovery together, it has integrity. You’ve got to keep your community happy and fed with things that are interesting. Not just more clothes from the same old brands. It’s a symbiotic relationship. We can’t exist without them.


LOP: Yes, it seems your community, your following at Goodhood is in a circular relationship with you, defining your brand. We’d be interested to know, how does building these community relationships play out with a commercial lens?

TH: Life used to be simpler. We would get a sneaker launch and put an email together about what the sneaker is and the history behind it and make huge amounts of money off those kinds of comms – really straightforward. But the world has changed. Now it’s about taking what we think is good to the customer in an authentic, legitimate way, and then looking to convert sales from those emails or social posts. It’s about balancing the commercial with the cultural elements, things that are interesting and that we as a brand stand behind – the non-transactional sort of relationship with customers, where we are trying to make a connection rather than sell stuff.

If you put a post on the Instagram grid, which says ‘come and buy these jumpers’ you get very little interaction. No one finds that interesting. What IS interesting is when you post something about rave flyers or old Stüssy adverts or the style legacy of someone cool, suddenly customers are engaged, you’re telling stories, giving them ideas. It helps our customers believe in us and trust us – they know they can come into our store and find something that they genuinely like and will want to buy, because we’ve had a broader conversation with them.

We send a weekly cultural email out – a Sunday Supplement mailer which shares ideas like this – this has an incredibly high open rate, much higher than anywhere else that I’ve worked before.

Ultimately, you have to engage with the customers beyond the product – if they want to come and buy something, they know they can come to the store or the website. But it’s more than just directing them to a sale. We can’t tell them what to buy, but we can let them know what we think is good or surprising us at the moment and hope they agree.


LOP: We’ve been excited to hear about the new Goodhood space on the horizon. How is this mindset of building relationships translating into thinking about your new store?

TH: We’ve got a real opportunity with our new space. Coming from Dover Street Market, my philosophy has been that you give your key brands a space to play around with, give them some freedom to test things out, and explore what they can offer to our community. Having more space equals more freedom and potential to explore ideas and build relationships.

And so firstly, we want to have fun with our brands and work with them in a more engaging way. We want to be a complete lifestyle store, like the ones you get in Japan – like Tokyo Hands – where they’re showcasing what they believe is the best in every category, not just fashion or product. We already work with some amazing partners who we believe are the best at what they do. Like Strange Paradise Records, who have really quickly become an iconic East London record store, and who were thrilled to be on board in joining us in our new space. Artwords bookshop too.

We’ll be able to showcase what we think is the best in interior design, or we can give away a huge space to someone new… there’s a whole world of opportunities when everything can be modular in both space and mindset, things can come and go.

We’ll have a whole terrace at the back, so if someone wants to put a load of skate ramps in there, if someone wants to put a music stage out there, if someone just wants to do some food… it gives us more opportunities to do things in a more meaningful way. We won’t just showcase these ideas digitally through content, we’ll be able to bring them to life.

It won’t just be a shop, it will be a hub where you can come down and get a drink and some food, hang out with friends and maybe discover something new. This idea of inviting people to hang out with us is really exciting to me.
That’s the main reason why we’re moving to the new store but secondly, I do think the world is really bored of online retail. It’s all about how much money you can spend on Google, on ads, undercutting people, SEO, PPC, conversion and tactics, how to give people quicker checkout or 10% if you sign up to our newsletter, there’s just little discounts everywhere. It’s a whole different mindset.

I’m sure it will always continue to exist and people will do it well and they’ll be the ones that survive this cultural shift. But, at Goodhood, we want to really focus on physical retail and for the website to be supplementary to the physical business. Because personally, we believe in our community actually coming down and living the physical retail experience. That’s how we see the future to be in a new area which is a much more vibrant, positive area of town. We want to make it easy for our customers to come in and visit, to join us and have that relationship.


LOP: Sustainability is also really at the fore when thinking about fashion and retail – we’ve been digging into how people are really responding to it in their context. How are you thinking about it at Goodhood?

TH: Everyone knows that overconsumption is a huge problem. We certainly don’t make any bold claims about ourselves. I think that we are seeing a cultural shift in shoppers: people are buying less now in general, especially younger customers.

They are looking more at influencers, looking at what certain people they identify with are wearing and are in general more specific about the brands that they want to buy into. It’s more about a uniform or an identity. They’re following a set of style rules rather than just buying what looks good on a hanger or a scroll. Also, it’s really important to this customer that there’s a resale value to what they buy. There used to be a stigma attached to second-hand clothes 20, 30 years ago. But now it’s just normal – and the whole world of second hand is really exciting.

So we’re seeing a whole shift away from buying twenty things from Primark, ASOS or Shein.These businesses are all posting massive declines and I don’t necessarily think it’s just down the to cost of living crisis, I think that it can be attributed to people being happier to spend more and buy less.

At Goodhood, we aren’t sitting on mountains of stock, we’re very frugal with discounting. I’d prefer to do none of it – in fact in the long term the plan is to cut right back on all of that, disband the traditional season selling cycles which are becoming shorter and less relevant. We don’t really engage in the race to the bottom with prices, nor do we encourage overconsumption. We have to also trust that the brands we choose to work with are doing their due diligence and not being unethical – on that we really do rely on trust. We carry brands like Story Mfg, for example, who create pieces from natural dyes, doing fashion in a slow way, and are also working with Gomi who are recycling our carrier bags into speakers and power banks with a circular mindset.

So there are practical choices we’re making with our buying and how we work with the seasonal model, but also, it’s about framing the decision around why we would buy something in a way that’s less about buying more, and more about buying well – or at least buying something that means something to you.


LOP: We frame what we do at Land of Plenty through the lens of Leisure and Lifestyle, and that’s at the core of Goodhood’s philosophy too. How do you understand the idea of Lifestyle in today’s context – things change so quickly.

TH: Goodhood’s perception of lifestyle has never really changed. The makeup of our business has always been half lifestyle with interior design, music, books, cosmetics, ceramics – trying to tap into what people find interesting, be a voyage of discovery and less so just another clothing retailer.

I do think that’s part of the reason why we’re standing the test of time versus some of our contemporaries who are similar in size to us – albeit in different cities – who have recently ceased trading. It’s just not possible for them anymore as a clothing retailer, up against companies that go into sale with 24,000 SKUs all at 50% off – you just can’t compete with that.

Goodhood has weathered the storm because it’s always been about a lifestyle – yes it’s about what’s fashionable, but it’s looking at this from a whole life perspective, not just the clothes.


LOP: Finally, are there any fashion brands or fashion related things that are happening out there on your radar that you’re really excited by, that you want to bring into Goodhood, or that you personally are kind of wearing, buying, or excited by?

TH: I do find, after working in this industry for such a long time, that a lot of fashion or streetwear brands are a bit boring, there are so many of them out there now and lots of stuff looks the same. I like the functionality of a lot of Japanese brands – hiking and outerwear brands that are built for functionality. The design is very considered, a lot of the best lifestyle stuff is coming from there. That useful, practical stuff will never go out of fashion, I know I’ll buy it and have it for the rest of my life – I guess that’s how I think about sustainable fashion.

The last five years have also been dominated by brands doing collabs. Especially ones like Stüssy, Supreme and Palace who are finding these cultural touch points, these meeting of minds with music or films or other brands. I do like the idea of wearing your identity on your clothing, so I’m always excited to see what those brands are doing and who they’re going to collaborate with next.

I think clothing for clothing’s sake now is going to be difficult. It’s a difficult sell. There has to be a meaning to it.