Lounging around led Desmond & Dempsey co-founder to launch a pyjama brand with no fashion experience
Molly Goddard, Desmond & Dempsey
Lazy Sunday mornings inspired Molly Goddard and her fiancé, Joel Jeffery, to launch their pyjama brand, Desmond & Dempsey, in 2014 in response to a lack of available attire in which to successfully lounge around. Wholesale prices range from £26 for a tunic to £52 for a pyjama set.
Where did the idea for Desmond & Dempsey come from?
From a bad habit, I guess. Both Joel and I have an affinity with Sundays and lounging in our pyjamas. I would wear Joel’s shirts and would end up spilling coffee on them. So one day he said, “Enough,” and we went out shopping for pyjamas. There were so many beautiful silk brands, but for me dry cleaning loungewear wasn’t an option – it had to be cotton. With no success on our hunt, Joel and I started looking into why no one was doing premium cotton nightwear, and identified a space in the market. We took Joel’s shirt to a tailor, and asked him to help transform it into something [for women]. Joel’s brother is an amazing artist and graphic designer, so we worked with him on a print for the collection and from there Desmond & Dempsey was born. Desmond is Joel’s grandad’s – and Joel’s – middle name and Dempsey is Molly’s grandad’s surname.
What do you love about pyjamas?
I love pottering. I could spend hours and days just lounging around the house, and to me luxury is being able to do that in a pair of beautiful pyjamas. That, and also the fact that to me they have a real “celebration” to them. Don’t they remind you of Christmas, and family holidays, and long Sundays?
What have been the biggest challenges in launching a brand?
Not having a fashion or design background, the biggest challenge was making them and working with the right team to create our collections. Setting up the supply chain was far more complicated then I anticipated.
We’ve just introduced our bridal collection [for wedding nights], which we have launched the same year that Joel and I are getting married. And Joel is determined to get his own pyjama set, so we will be introducing a menswear collection later this year.
How is it to work with your fiancé?
Surprisingly to most people, really good. We haven’t quite figured out a good work/life balance yet, but we are getting there. We’re very different characters and seem to balance each other out. He is always calm, and annoyingly logical and detail orientated, so he focuses on the business and finance. I am less so, and so work more on the brand and design.
What’s the biggest point of disagreement?
I guess the main difference is I make decisions with my gut and Joel with his head.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
[Sir] Paul Smith gave us some great advice: he said you have to do some things you don’t like to do the things you love. It’s all about compromise.
Desmond & Dempsey
What’s the biggest misconception about the fashion industry?
I think most people have this Devil Wears Prada misconception in their head, but we are so surprised and grateful for the support we have been given within the industry. Everyone in it is so lovely.
What other businesses do you admire?
There are so many but one that stands out is a shop called The Keep Boutique, which is owned by a woman named Kate, who is passionate about ethical stylish fashion, and not willing to comprise on second best on anything. She is very inspiring.
If you weren’t working in fashion what would you be doing?
I hope something in interiors, or perhaps food. I love branding too.
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
Favourite clothing brand?
I always feel good in Australian label Zimmermann.
Favourite places to shop?
Anywhere on Redchurch Street [east London]. I also love Merci Merci in Paris because it feels like a real experience going in there.
Last fashion purchase?
My wedding dress for my upcoming wedding
Skiing in Verbier with the family.
Last book you read?
Currently reading Walking with Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Last filmed you watched?
This is embarrassing: You Before Me.
At a boutique men’s store in Brisbane, Australia.