Q + A with Molly Pepper
From London to Italy to Australia, Molly spent her 20’s as a model, traveling to countries all over the world. Now, as a full-time mom and creative designer with occasional modeling auditions, she hustles from sending her kids to three different schools to simultaneously creating pieces for her nightwear brand hoping to make every woman feel beautiful in their own mind and body.
What inspired you to start your company/brand?
I lived abroad for 12 years between Europe and Australia before moving to Los Angeles. While I was abroad, I always found beautiful sleepwear; it felt a part of both cultures. As I had started having kids, I spent a lot of time in lounge clothing or sleepwear, and when I moved back to the U.S., I went shopping for a new nightie and couldn’t really find anything. I found everything was either too sexy, frumpy or made of terrible quality. So I decided I would just make my own. I started with one piece and sold them at my kids’ school’s holiday boutiques and realized I could definitely fill a void for people like me - those looking for feminine, well, American made sleep pieces that were comfy, beautiful, and easy to wear around the house with a growing family. Platforms like Unique gave me a place to explore what people liked, test out new styles and connect with customers. I have grown to add some dresses and resort style pieces too. Every piece is about feeling feminine, strong, confident, comfy, beautiful and made for every woman in mind.
What did you do before starting your business?
I grew up in Minnesota and left for Milan, Italy at 19 to start a career as a model. Thinking I would just go for a month, I ended up never moving back home. I modeled all over the world, living between London and Paris, until I moved to Australia where I got married. I had two babies, continued to model and started working as an actor doing commercials. We moved to LA in 2007 where I continued to work; I started Molly Pepper in 2015, growing it slowly & organically as I've raised my three children in this busy city!
What does your typical work day look like?
Nothing is typical, and I pretty much live day to day. First, coffee. Then my husband and I spend the mornings getting kids to three different schools, then coffee again. From there, I either work from the house, go to downtown Los Angeles to work with pattern makers and sewers, or work from my new shop-showroom in Hollywood. I’m very lucky that my husband does most of the photography and understands all the tech needed to run an online business
But, when I get a call for an audition... off I go….(my bread and butter). This is how I survive being a small business owner; the hustle is real and I love it all.
What’s the most important thing you attribute to your success?
Being true to what you love doing. It's easy to feel like you are not doing enough, not growing fast enough, and comparing yourself to what others are doing. You don’t need to please everyone, but the ones that you do will keep coming back, and suddenly it's a success!
What is the hardest thing about being a business owner?
CASH FLOW. I have so many ideas and things that I want to do and create, but there is never enough money to do it all! I’m sure it’s the same for us all.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
I see Molly Pepper in at least one shop in every state, a strong online business and a flagship shop in LA or Australia (or both). I would also have a mens PJ line and some homewares - sheets, candles and things.
Any advice to someone wanting to take a leap of faith to start their own business?
Just do it. Start with one small idea, and take it one step at a time. If your first idea doesn’t work out, it will lead you to another idea or another amazing opportunity. Doing your own thing is super hard but super rewarding!
Your biggest inspiration?
Anything vintage, antique, nature, family & love
Favorite “Get Sh*t done” Song?
Notorious BIG - Mo Money or Hypnotize or anything SADE for creation
Dream Brand Collab?
Anything from French brands Mes Demoiselles, or Chloe to something fierce for Opening Ceremony to Bridal nightwear for BHLDN to something sweet for Target.