Day two of International Women’s Week is here and today we’re delighted to introduce you to Molly Goddard: the inspiring co-founder of luxury pyjama brand Desmond & Dempsey. Plus a competition with a twist…
We hear a lot about how women are taught not to take up space. And so, instead of just having one token day dedicated to women, we’re having an ENTIRE WEEK, International Women’s Day is fine, but no thanks – we’re having International Women’s Week. So this week, we’re hosting a series of interviews and competitions, each celebrating women and featuring one amazing female entrepreneur.
Today’s Sunday so we’ve got the perfect person to introduce you to – it’s Molly Goddard, one of the co-founders of the most Sundayish brand imaginable, Desmond & Dempsey. Molly actually founded the brand with her then-boyfriend-now-husband back in 2014, and these days you’ll find D&D’s elegant, printed jimjams stocked in the chicest stores – from New York’s Bergdorf Goodman to Liberty, Fortnum’s and Selfridges here in London, as well as their very own popup store on South Molton Street.
‘A timeless classic. Handsome style with those girly touches… Rolled cuffs, slip on shorts and pockets,’ D&D’s PJ’s are tailor made for ‘Sunday adventures’ and spending the day pottering about, reading the papers and that final chapter of your book, popping the kettle on for another cup of tea or perhaps serving a round of mimosas if the feeling takes you. And always more toast and jam, of course. We spoke to Molly about working with women, how to bring kindness into your managerial style and her most recent inspiring reads…
What does feminism mean to you?
It means having the choice. It means having a team full of women, not because they are women, but because they are the best at what they do.
A woman who inspires you and why?
The women in our team. One in particular who is teaching me how to lead. She doesn’t know it, but watching her carefully teach, intelligently negotiate and do rather tell, I am inspired by her day to day.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Choosing kindness. We were going through a difficult time with someone in our team, and while I wanted to shake them, give them warnings and demand better attitudes, we softly asked questions and listened to what they were going through. In total honesty, I haven’t enjoyed the the managing side of entrepreneurship, but as things started to slowly get better, I was so proud of how we approached a difficult position.
Tell us about your favourite female-authored book?
I take it in turns reading novels, and then inspirational books. So for the novel, it was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Not an easy book to read, but one that really stayed with me for months. Yanagihara pushes you as a reader, her words gripping you even when you want to put the book down. Centred on four male characters, A Little Life explores human love, strength and sadness.
I have just finished Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, and honestly wasn’t expecting to love it it so much. It was so honest, and brilliant and caring and real. It made me want to set my sights on making a difference to our community.
How do you feel about the future of feminism?
I am going to preference this, with the fact that I grew in a family where my dad played the traditional matriarchal role and had a brother who was always told to ask for his older sister’s opinion. Naively, I guess, I have always felt that the future for me was as bright, and my voice as loud as any male next to me. In my experience, as the only woman on a team looking after a very male oriented brand (Carling), to raising money, and now in a 99% female team, I have always experienced equal opportunities. I hope that the future of feminism includes more conversation with men, a lot of them are our partners in business and in life, so for things to continue to improve we need to have their voice equally heard.
Three female-founded brands you’re a fan of?
How can we make gender equality a reality?
I am reading a lot about this now, and a women named Lucy who is head of brand at Trouva, and very educated on this subject is teaching me. I think though, to make real change in the workforce we need to offer a better paternity programme across industries.
Desmond & Dempsey don’t really ‘do’ competitions or even work with influencers so much, and that’s fine! They actually skip sample sales and give all their extra products to charity too. So someone CAN win a pair of PJ’s, but it won’t be you… Oh yes, this is an ALTRUISTIC competition. (Is that a thing?! It is now!) Molly loved that we’re supporting women with out free boxes initiative – so if you’d like to WIN a pair of pyjamas for a friend going through a tough time, simply nominate someone who’s going through a hard time right here. We’ll send one person a book box AND a lovely voucher from Desmond & Dempsey so they can choose a beautiful pair of PJs.