Fashion & Trends
Spotlight: Molly Pepper
DLS:How did you get started as a seamstress and designer?
MOLLY: I have always loved fashion, design, and textiles. I never made it to university after high school because I got an opportunity to model which took me all over the world for many years, where I’ve had an amazing education in the fashion business. I always knew one day I would design/make something when the time was right. I’ve continued to work as model and actor and have 3 kids, ages 7, 10, and 14. So finding the time to focus was important!
DLS: What inspired you to start your own clothing brand, and why did sleepwear, specifically, appeal to you?
MOLLY: I’ve always loved wearing nightgowns. I’ve always had an obsession with finding nightwear pieces from all over the world, especially vintage ones. We settled in LA eight years ago, and I had such hard time finding nice sleepwear here in the US, and would buy things from out of the country. I realized there is a huge hole in the market for beautiful sleepwear that is sexy, beautiful, and well made. So I decided to create my own line two years ago and just started off playing with a few ideas. I only had basic sewing skills so I had to find a sewer to work with, which was a challenge. I tried out my few styles with friends and everyone loved them, and so did I! So I decided at the beginning of 2015 to take this sleepwear line seriously. I wanted to create a line of sleepwear that appealed to all women, that was for women, made by a woman. I wanted to feel beautiful and sexy, but also wanted to be able to wear them around the kids comfortably.
DLS: What were the biggest challenges you overcame in starting your own business?
MOLLY: There have been so many challenges! Finding good sewers and pattern makers that can all work together has been the hardest. And of course, it’s been a financial challenge. Trying to create an empire on a small budget is very hard to do! You have to remind yourself everyday to keep going and that it’s going to work out!
DLS: What were the greatest rewards?
MOLLY: It’s challenging when you believe what you’re doing is amazing, but it takes a year before anyone actually purchases one. Once they did, however, I knew I had a whole lot of gems! Seeing everyone’s reactions has been amazing. Getting women out of their baggy old t-shirts and into beautiful nightgowns, and hearing them say how amazing they now feel when they go to sleep and wake up has been so rewarding! It’s actually very empowering for women. I’ve also found most women think sexy nightwear is supposed to be for the man in their life, but it’s not. It’s meant to be for the woman, herself, and if her husband likes it, bonus! And he will.
DLS: Tell me a little bit about your process when designing a new piece? What are your steps from your imagining to reality?
MOLLY: I have an endless amount of ideas. I do drawings, I play with fabric and lace that excites me, and then I start building. I end up doing a lot of explaining to a pattern maker, and then work with a sewer to create the piece. Sometimes they turn out great, and sometimes we collaborate on a lot of changes. Then I fit on a model to perfect the fit on a real body.
DLS: How has your career as an actress and model influenced your path as a designer?
MOLLY: It has been a huge influence, being a model and actress. I’ve worked with so many different personalities, traveling and living in so many different countries – you never know who or what the day will hold, and you have to make it a great day. I think that’s an amazing lesson to learn in running any business. I’ve worked with all different levels of craftsmanship in fashion. I also worked as a fit model for Gucci, which was my first insight on how the process of making clothes works. I watched the pieces being made from beginning to end, and I paid attention!
DLS: What upcoming projects are on the horizon that you are excited about?
MOLLY: I’m excited to make some warmer sleepwear pieces for next Fall.
DLS: If you could go back in time to when you were just starting as a professional crafter, what advice would you give your younger self?
MOLLY: Honestly, I don’t know what I would’ve done differently. There were and still are bumps, and it can be rough…sometimes really rough, but its all part of the learning process. The down times make the up times sweeter. It’s not easy, and I never expected it to be.
DLS: Do you have any advice for other designers just starting their own business ventures?
MOLLY: As a designer, everything is your idea and under your direction, so you have to be clear on what you want and what you expect. Everyone is working under your direction, so you’ve got to keep your eye on EVERYTHING, and be kind to everyone that you work with. A lot of it is about building relationships.
For more information or to purchase any of Molly’s amazing nightgowns, visit her website! Also, you can create customized woven labels, custom care labels, or even hang tags like the ones Molly uses on the Dutch Label Shop website! J