Owner and Director of two Nikkou Stores in Brisbane and Casuarina, NSW, Tiffany Cooper is a busy, inspiring and delightful part of the Marle family.
Having stocked the brand for two years now, we loved Tiff's goal of curating a space for women of all shapes and sizes. She prides herself on creating a beautiful, personable experience for her customers and you'll often personally see her trying on new products on Instagram as well as hosting events and brand launches.
Here, we chat to Tiff about how Nikkou came to be, the future of retail in a pandemic and what you can expect from the stores next.
Can you share with us how the concept of Nikkou came to be?
Nikkou first fell into place when a good friend, Nick who owns Tucker, told me he was putting in a cafe and asked me to jump onboard. Casuarina is in such a great position, halfway between Byron Bay and the Gold Coast and so I jumped at the opportunity and within one year I had opened the Nikkou Store in Casuarina. It was forever a dream to do something on my own. I have worked in the fashion industry for quite some time, upon returning to the Gold Coast from Uni in Melbourne, I helped to open the first QLD Zara store at Robina and eventually moved on to work as the wholesale manager for Zulu and Zephyr. Working for the brand for two years in Byron Bay was a dream. It gave me a great experience of the wholesale industry. I think truly understanding the customer, the area and the lifestyle, has really helped to bring this vision to life.
What does the name ‘Nikkou’ mean?
Nikkou translated in Japanese means sunlight. I have created the stores to be just that. A space that is full of sunshine, beautiful brands and a beautiful energy. I came across the name throughout my travels in Japan. The shopping there is incredible and inspired me to create the layout and overall experience of each store to be an experience where customers can come to relax and discover new products. I wanted the feeling of sunshine to flow through every inch of the space, whether that be through beautiful clothing pieces or the space in itself.
You launched your flagship store in the small coastal town of Casuarina, and just last year, opened a second store in Brisbane. What inspired you to open a second store and how do they differ from each other?
When Queensland and New South Wales border closures were introduced for the first time last year due to COVID, I shifted the business online. This resulted in an 81% boost in sales, which was the light at the end of the tunnel for me. We also saw that these customers were mainly Brisbane based.
The idea blossomed from there and when an opportunity to work alongside like-minded business owners such as Lauren Lance, a great friend and owner of the Borrowed Nursery was presented to me, I couldn’t say no. It was also a personal decision for me. My partner is a lawyer based in Brisbane City and although I tried to convince him to move south it made more sense for our future for me to expand the business and move north.
I think such a great quality about both stores are the customers and communities surrounding them, we lean on each other, work together and lift each other up in tough times such as going through multiple lockdowns together. Brisbane and Casuarina are both very different, I suppose this is due to the different lifestyles the locals lead. Brisbane is often fast-paced and Casuarina has a laid back customer. I absolutely love each of these aspects and enjoy heading down to Casuarina from time to time to work in the store and see familiar faces.
What do you love most about Marle, and how do you think it serves the Australian customer?
I think today more than ever, the Australian consumer is looking for pieces that will last for seasons to come. Marle creates such high-quality pieces that are naturally made and easy to style in multiple ways. The beautiful pieces I have invested in are both classic and timeless yet still have a cool girl feel about them.
Who is the Nikkou woman?
The Nikkou woman brings sunshine into your life, she is a lover of the ocean, great food, friendship and fun. She lifts you up and makes you feel relaxed no matter what you may be doing.
How have customer purchasing habits changed during the pandemic and what shifts are you currently seeing?
We have definitely seen a shift in the way customers have less interest in impulse purchasing and have a growing motivation to look into what they are purchasing, wanting to know the story behind the brand, where it has come from and what it is made out of. It has been really beautiful to see our customers and brands form connections, and to be given the opportunity to be the storyteller between the both is one of my favourite parts about my job.
What do you love about where you live?
I live in Teneriffe in Brisbane with my partner Al, it is a beautiful riverside area just out of the city and only 8 mins from the store. I love going on a river walk in the morning, grabbing a coffee from my local then heading into work.
I would be lying if I didn't say I missed living closer to the beach but this area is like the Manhattan of Brisbane, with so many hidden gems, new restaurants, shops and fun spots all tucked away in the one central area. It has started to feel like home.
What's your favourite thing to do/place to go in your area?
It is hard to narrow this down as I am both a Casuarina and Brisbane girl these days.
Eat, play & stay in these spots would have to be…
Eat - Tucker (Breakfast) & Jordy’s (Dinner)
Play - Kalm Springs (Pamper day) or watching the dolphins pass by at the Cabarita Headland
Stay - Halcyon House or Grounds of Cabarita (Air Bnb)
Eat - Bear Boy (breakfast/lunch) & Bianca (Dinner)
Play - Walk along the river walk to the Powerhouse markets on a Saturday morning…this is the best way to take in the best river views. In the afternoon, stroll down to the Calile and have a drink at the lobby bar or pull up at the Howard Smith Wharves and take it all in.
Stay - The Calile Hotel