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Jazz Shapers

Shapers: Molly Goddard & Joel Jeffery

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Good morning, welcome to Jazz Shapers, it’s where the Shapers of Business join the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues. I am Elliot Moss and thank you so much for joining me. My guests today, I am very pleased to say, are Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffrey, Co-Founders of the luxury pyjama brand, Desmond & Dempsey. You will want to get into a pair when you’ve heard them talk – he says strangely. They met in 2011 on a ski slope in Canada, it was Whistler actually, and this is a special, romantic edition of Jazz Shapers therefore and their long-distance relationship was buoyed by Sunday skypes between Australia and London; who would have thought. A year later Molly moved to London to, as she says, chase both her loves; Joel and Sundays spent lounging around in pyjamas. We need some violins in the background. They soon noticed a gap in the market and indeed a gap in Molly’s wardrobe, a lack of luxurious, affordable, cotton nightwear. In 2014 to deliver just that and despite having no retail experience, they launched their inaugural hundred Desmond & Dempsey pyjama sets. Desmond & Dempsey, named after their grandfathers, has seen year on year sales growth by over 300%, launching multiple sell out collections with renowned stockists, including Selfridges, Liberty and Bergdorf Goodman. We’ll be talking to Molly and Joel in a few minutes about all of this, about marriage and creativity, and their aim to help people savour the Sunday. Sounds good, doesn’t it. We’ve also got brilliant music from amongst others, Carmen McCrae, Gary Bartz and Bill Laurence. That is Jazz Shapers today. Here’s Ramsey Lewis with Brazilica.

That was Ramsey Lewis with Brazilica, super evocative of a certain vibe, mainly a Sunday morning which is appropriate because Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffrey are my guests, they are the Co-Founders of Dempsey and…, Desmond & Dempsey even, and we can just call it Dempsey & Desmond if you want.

Molly Goddard
Or D&D.

Elliot Moss
D&D, much easier. D&D. And that’s the voice of Molly, obviously, unless Joel has a high voice, which would be fine as well.

Joel Jeffrey
Definitely not.

Elliot Moss
Welcome to both of you. I love it when I have couples on because there is always a, obviously a different dynamic to having one person with me here, but two that are also involved in other ways, it kind of adds a flavour to it that you don’t normally get. Molly, let’s start with you. It sounds like you were the one that moved over.

Molly Goddard
Yeah, we need to clarify that.

Elliot Moss
Tell me about this first.

Molly Goddard
Joel did all of the chasing, I just moved to London because London is a cool place to be.

Elliot Moss
He’s nodding, a couple of years of convincing.

Molly Goddard
Yeah, after a couple of years. Well, I actually studied in Madrid for a year in between Whistler and moving to London and did my last year of university there and so, during that time, we just had the funnest time in Europe because, you know, you didn’t have to have a boyfriend through the week and you’d get…

Elliot Moss
You could have just said you just didn’t have to have a boyfriend.

Molly Goddard
Sorry, I just meant like…

Elliot Moss
During the week.

Molly Goddard
You got the best part of it.

Joel Jeffrey
I feel like I’m finding out about new things here as well.

Molly Goddard
No, I mean like you had a boyfriend but like the weekends were just like we’d meet here, we’d meet there, I’d come to London, we’d go to Paris, we just had the best…

Elliot Moss
Wow.

Molly Goddard
… time ever and didn’t have to do all the boring stuff through the week so…

Elliot Moss
You mean the real stuff? You mean actually what happens when you get married or you’ve got a boyfriend or a girlfriend or whoever any they are significant.

Molly Goddard
Yeah, or when you run a business together.

Elliot Moss
Or when you run a business together. So, is that true Joel? Was the chasing you?

Joel Jeffrey
Yeah, I think that’s pretty fair. I think, like Molly said, I had an office in Madrid for the company that I used to work for so, I used to get to travel there quite a lot and, you know, at the same time seeing Molly so, happy days.

Elliot Moss
And how long were you courting together? How long was this time for?

Molly Goddard
We sound crazy.

Joel Jeffrey
Five years?

Molly Goddard
No. Well, we did long-distance romance for two years.

Elliot Moss
Does that work? I mean that’s just hard isn’t it?

Molly Goddard
Well, the Sunday skypes, it’s not just part of the brand, we literally just had this rule of we would skype on a Sunday and it wasn’t like we just tried I think lots of my friends – obviously I’m Australian – so lots of my friends had done…

Elliot Moss
I hadn’t noticed, Molly.

Molly Goddard
My Dad thinks I’m losing my accent.

Elliot Moss
He’s wrong. Sorry Dad if you are listening but you are just wrong, plain wrong.

Molly Goddard
Yeah, but I think people try to talk too much whereas we just, we’d skype on a Sunday and it became like a really happy time and all our families would tease us and it was quite fun and so it just worked and we were so young when we first got together that…

Elliot Moss
Says the person born in the 1990’s. Just to be clear. We were so young then. I am suddenly really old.

Molly Goddard
We were nineteen. We were nineteen when, I was nineteen when we met so, it wasn’t so serious and it was kind of easy and it’s always just been pretty easy and then…

Elliot Moss
And how, so you got married before you set the business up? Or was it the other way around?

Molly Goddard
That was the most busiest year ever wasn’t it.

Elliot Moss
So, tell me about that time. I read that it was about finding this, you know, Molly you used to wear Joe’s shirts or something similar and you went, why can’t I just have pyjamas or stuff like this for the house. And you went, let’s go and make it, as you do, because many people by the way, I mean over the years, I have many conversations with friends about people that may have said “It’s really nice wearing your shirt” but no one, very few people, do anything about it so what tipped you into actually being brave enough to set your own business up?

Molly Goddard
It was honestly a need, it wasn’t me being like I need my own, it was Joel saying like “You need your own, you are ruining all of my shirts” and so it went from this kind of cool, sexy moment to like “Get your own” and when we went into Selfridges, there was such a clear gap in the market, we wanted to buy a pair of, you know, pyjamas that felt like an extension of what I would wear through the day and at the top end there was luxury and it was like £500 and they are beautiful, they are still beautiful, but I am not dry cleaning my pyjamas because they’d be there every other day and then at the other end it was kind of white and frilly and it just wasn’t me and we, I think…

Joel Jeffrey
I think the Australian connection as well, that probably came in to a big part of it because there was, you know, Molly has obviously spent most of her life, by that point, in Australia. I grew up there until I was about eight and there was a brand in Australia who owned pyjamas that you didn’t say were pyjamas, it was your Peter Alexanders and it was a very different area of the market but we both always…

Molly Goddard
It’s sadly gone under a little bit but…

Joel Jeffrey
We both always kind of had memories of that and thinking who is that over here? And there wasn’t that person.

Molly Goddard
Because when you…

Elliot Moss
Hold that thought. No, no, it’s okay, it’s good, you can tell Molly and Joel are very excited and that’s a good thing. And passionate, which is actually what you need to set your own business up. We are going to come back straight after this, back to Molly and to Joel, they are the Founders, Co-Founders of Desmond & Dempsey but time for some more music right now, it’s Carmen McRae with Just a Little Lovin’.

That was Carmen McRae with Just a Little Lovin’, I’m with Molly and Joel, AKA the Co-Founders of Desmond & Dempsey, I’ve said it the right way around now, and they set up their business back in 2014 because they kind of had to because there was a gap in the market because there was a brand in Australia doing their thing but I am still going to push it, so that’s all well and good and you will have intellectually gone “There’s an opportunity here”. Those first few minutes, hours and then days and weeks towards actually creating it. What happened? What was the thought process between you?

Molly Goddard
I think we had two different thought processes. Joel went away and looked at what was going on in the industry, looked at the sleep aid industry, looked at all of those bits of things and then I think our naïve, I always say it wrong, naivety?

Elliot Moss
That’s the one.

Molly Goddard
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Even in Australia. It’s amazing what, it’s so good, the colonies have come on so well.

Molly Goddard
Anyway.

Elliot Moss
That one. The naivety, it’s a good thing though, isn’t it?

Molly Goddard
Yeah, like I think that actually meant that we had no idea of how hard it would be and I think maybe if we were in fashion or in retail, we would have been a bit more scared but because we had no idea, we were like “Yeah, how hard can it be?” and we literally took, we started going on and on and on and on about it and to all our family and all our friends and we were like we, there’s no one, and we kept asking people questions like “Who do you think of when you think of pyjamas?” and no one could give you an answer, like, “Oh maybe M&S, maybe…” so we literally took Joel’s shirt, the shirt I that loved the most, to a tailor and were like “Hey, can you help us make this into a woman’s one?”, like, a tailor that on the end of your street, that you do your dry cleaning with and then we got lucky with fate and timing and Joel’s brother is a beautiful artist, Christian, and he was on garden leave and so I was living on top of a pub in Union Street and we were like “Right, paint us some prints” and so he started painting and we were at the tailors like “Yeah, can we change this colour? Can we change this thing?” and then we talked to a friend who was in fashion and she was like “You need to go to this thing called Premier Vision in PV” and we just got so lucky, we were so excited that this one woman named Lorena…Yeah.

Joel Jeffrey
Lorena. But that was, I mean, that was just eye opening how we arrived at this trade show thinking you know, we’d just go and chat to a factory and then they’d made it, and what’s the big deal. And this place is like going to Earls Court times ten and we just had no idea what we were doing.

Molly Goddard
So, we were going… Emile makes you a fabric and a factory does CMT, so cut, make and trim, and we’d spoken to a friend who was in production and she had told us all these terms to use to make us sound like we knew what we were doing.

Elliot Moss
Like you had a clue.

Molly Goddard
Like we had an idea.

Elliot Moss
That’s okay.

Molly Goddard
Until we went up to the mill and like really serious business faces because everyone else had ignored us and we were like “Do you do CMT?” and they were like “No, you’ve got the wrong people” but then this woman named Lorena was like “Tell me what you guys are doing” and so we just didn’t try to be anything, we were like “We don’t know but we’ve got this idea, this gap in the market, like we really want to do it, we really want to make this Sunday morning moment into a thing” and she believed it and anyway, I won’t tell you the factory so I can’t get her into trouble but she actually snuck, because order minimums are so high with mills to print your own fabrics, she actually snuck our order in on the last minute when her boss went on holiday in August.

Elliot Moss
So, you got your first prototype as it were and just really quick before, we are going to come back to this but what happened then? Once you got your thing in your hand, where do you take it?

Molly Goddard
So, then we did have marketing experience; I was brand…

Elliot Moss
Both worked in agencies, different kind of advertising and social media and so on and so forth, brand consultancy and things.

Joel Jeffrey
I think we started, we always knew that we wanted it to be online principally and mostly because we had, again, had no experience talking to anyone in retail on how to navigate that world but then also because we knew that we could, if we could make a product that people loved, we knew how to operate the online…

Elliot Moss
So, sale number one? Happened, what day?

Joel Jeffrey
September the first 2014.

Elliot Moss
And we are going to hold that thought. So, September 1 2014, important date because number one…

Molly Goddard
Joel’s mum.

Elliot Moss
Joel’s mum, that doesn’t matter. That’s good. Much more coming up from my guests Molly and Joel in a couple of minutes but before that we are going to hear a taster from the latest News Sessions podcast which can be found on all of the major podcast platforms; it’s Mishcon de Reya’s Hayley Geffin, she’s very good, very clever too, she’s exploring the world of social media regulation and how to protect ourselves online.

There are many ways for you to enjoy all our former Jazz Shapers and indeed to hear this very programme again as well. You can ask Alexa to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of the recent programmes, or if you pop Jazz Shapers into iTunes or your preferred podcast platform, you can enjoy the full archive over there too. But back to today, it’s Molly and Joel, it’s your moment. They are Co-Founders of luxury pyjama brand Desmond & Dempsey; Molly is the Creative Director, you may have noticed that Molly is probably more into the creative side of it and Joel is the CEO, I mean these things have emerged, I was warned before, just make sure you are clear Elliot, Molly is over here and I’m like “Oh, that’s interesting”. So, first sale to your mum, September 1 2014. Beyond family then, at what point did you realised Joel that you were like “Hold on a minute, this is actually going to be a business beyond the unbelievable exuberance and lunacy of those first few moments of finding the mill, finding the factory and so on. At what point did you go “This is actually going help, this is going to be a thing”?

Joel Jeffrey
I think when we made the first sale because at that, I mean we were handwriting every single, every single order was obviously at that point handwritten by us, the postcard that went with it and we’d literally deliver it to the Post Office and I think the first time we noticed a name that we didn’t, had no idea who it was and we couldn’t figure out a connection, so they’d discovered us somehow and we were like “Okay, well that’s fun” and then more and more of that started happening and then I think we got coverage in Vogue really early in our first couple of months and that was like “Oh wow these people who actually know what they are talking about, think this is a great brand so maybe we are on to something”.

Molly Goddard
And also, sorry, we started once Joel, we, I left my job first and then Joel second, and we both realised like “Oh, we can leave our fulltime roles when Christian Dior and Fortnum & Mason, I think are too big…”

Elliot Moss
A bit further down the line, yeah.

Molly Goddard
Like, Christian Dior’s corporate team emailed us in January saying like “Oh, we know it’s so late but any chance we can get our Christmas order from you guys in January” and we were like “Yeah, we can probably make it work”.

Elliot Moss
Can squeeze you in. That’s a bit of a lead time there for you. So, right now, how many people are employed in the business?

Joel Jeffrey
Just, I’ve got ten. Ten. Just ten.

Elliot Moss
So, ten people’s lives are now dependent on this business. No pressure. You should see their faces, Molly’s like bigger eyes, wow. But the serious side of that is, Joel and Molly, you have built a team and this is now, we’re four/five years later with a significant revenue, interesting time. There’s collaborations that go on as well. Is that right? Tell me a little bit about that as well because I am always interested in who you can get together with.

Molly Goddard
Yeah so we do lots of different sorts of collaborations; the first ever one was with this tiny little shop in Florence in Italy and they were the oldest antique marblers that you’ve ever, but I think they invent, the Turkish invented it but anyway, been doing it for hundreds of years within their family and we went over to Italy and collaborated with them on our first ever print, so we did this amazing marbling print that we worked with them on and then we’ve done collaborations with people like Jumby Bay which is a private island in Antigua and we’ve gone over and created a, because lots of the branding is obviously about the pyjamas and the Sunday morning but also, because it took us a year to first make the pyjamas, we used to use Instagram just to tell people what we were doing and how we were going and start building that audience before we launched so our storytelling has always been a part of the brand and how we are making the products has always been a part of the brand and obviously when you travel you feel so inspired so that’s naturally become part of who D&D, what D&D is and who we are, so now we are doing different collaborations of like, we’ve just been to California and did a big road trip and did this amazing collaboration with the guys there and telling the story of that through pyjamas which is, you would never have picked but it’s pretty cool and then, I’m so excited and it’s, I’m going to tell, I shouldn’t but it’s so cool we’re doing a collaboration with Gails, you know the bakery…

Elliot Moss
I do.

Molly Goddard Joel Jeffrey
They do the best ham and cheese croissants…

Elliot Moss
They do good stuff.

Molly Goddard
…in the world on a Sunday morning. So, we’re working with them to do like their packaging and we are doing a special apron and tea towel…

Elliot Moss
Love it.

Molly Goddard
…and really telling that Sunday morning story so, I got the fun one, sorry. You answer the next question.

Elliot Moss
You have got the fun one. No, we are going, I’m going to come back to Joel in the next question. Time for some more music right now before we come back to Molly and Joel, the Co-Founders of Desmond & Dempsey. This is Gary Bartz with Celestial Blues with vocalist, Andy Bey.

That was Gary Bartz with Celestial Blues and featuring vocalist, Andy Bey. I am with Molly and Joel, Co-Founders of Desmond & Dempsey, talking about collaborations on the one side, on the other, this team, I just want to jump back to it, now there are ten people. The first few hires, Joel, are critical because beyond your collective excitement and beyond your passion and the fact everybody matters because you are quitting your jobs and all that, you really need people who are evangelists who are good at what they do. How did you ensure you found the right people? Have you had trouble doing that because it’s a tight team, I imagine?

Joel Jeffrey
I think, yeah, and I think we’ve worked really hard and I think that our team are amazing but it’s definitely been hard and I think early days it’s, kind of easier because, you know, we were very lucky to work with, I think the first person we ever hired was Jo who was actually helped us make the pyjamas, that was the biggest thing we had no idea about and she was a new mum so we could give her flexibility which she needed, and she gave us all her excitement and knowledge about product that we could learn from, and then as we’ve grown, we’ve just, most of the hires for the first few years were all in the product area because that was still the bit that we were still learning about, and then now it’s kind of more into marketing and we’ve grown that team that way and I think everyone internally has worked really hard with each other to build a place that they actually really love coming into and it’s kind of cool that they hang out outside of work and we all eat lunch together every Friday and things like that which I don’t think people get to do much with the people they work with.

Elliot Moss
And in terms of your own styles for leadership, both of you, I mean, so you’re together so there’s no politics really because you know what each other are thinking because…

Molly Goddard
I don’t know about that.

Elliot Moss
Well, there are between the two of you but, you know, in general when you’ve got someone’s back and you really love them and, you know, it’s not just you have to be married to someone to love them but you really, you know, there’s just no dissonance. What would the team, or how would the team describe you two as the bosses, do you think?

Joel Jeffrey
Actually we find it quite easy to work together, I think it’s harder for the, probably harder for the team because we have arguments or disagreements about things in the office in a different way.

Molly Goddard
Oh no, it’s good, we discuss things.

Joel Jeffrey
Or discuss things like a husband and wife in front of people so they’ve probably seen a lot more go on than they would do two people who are otherwise unrelated.

Elliot Moss
And of course, no one likes it when mummy and daddy are arguing, right? The serious side of that is, but that is the, you know, whenever I’ve been a business and its been like that the senior people, you don’t, it isn’t good but I suppose they know that it’s a safe, a safe environment.

Molly Goddard
And I think it actually has been really good like to show the team that people can disagree and sometimes I especially find with maybe the English that there’s no like “No, I don’t like that” or there’s no disagreement, it all is so polite but now our team all have discussions, everyone says like “We’re not sure about this”, “Can we try this and look at this?” and it’s actually really healthy to see people like not, we don’t wait till we get home to disagree about something, we’ll do it in the office so people know too that they can disagree with us, which they do, and then they also see us like how we work together and I think the team is also, it’s so, what we sell is intimate and the brand is intimate and like Alina, who looks after our production and logistics and is a bit of a saviour and all, has like Joel’s mum on speed dial so like, it is really a close-knit but in terms of managing styles, Joel is literally, and I’m not being braggy wife here, but he’s the most patient person.

Elliot Moss
Just like you, Molly.

Molly Goddard
No, I am not patient.

Elliot Moss
Really?

Molly Goddard
No.

Elliot Moss
I never would have guessed. His face over there, it’s just like “Hey, uh, please don’t go there”.

Molly Goddard
He will just sit there and go through things like so patiently whereas I…

Elliot Moss
No, you’re done, you’re like “I like that, I don’t like that. Can we move on please”.

Molly Goddard
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Got it. Stay there. We’ll have our final chat with Molly and Joel, plus we’ll be playing a track from the brilliant Bill Laurence, that’s in just a moment, don’t go anywhere.

That was Bill Laurence with Swag Times, live at the Union Chapel; he’ll be with Snarky Puppy I think probably in late November at the Royal Albert Hall as well, I am guessing, it’s Mike League and the rest of them, going to be amazing. My son’s going, I am very jealous. Right, I’ve got Molly and Joel for a bit longer, not much, and we’ve been talking about watching a husband and wife argue; but not really argue, discuss, I think you used another word, very cleverly but we know what you meant, and then the difference between patient and more kind of like spontaneous and everything, but these are good things. The money bit, for both of you, obviously you left your jobs because you could see that revenue would come and it meant that you could pay yourself a bit of money, you are now hiring, we talked about it, you have ten people in the team, you have plans to grow, you got funding at a decent level from different people, your angel investors as it were. Where does it feature in the vision for this business? Of course you love it, Molly, and both of you love it, but you love the creativity of it. From a financial, from a hardnosed commercial perspective, how big can this thing be?

Molly Goddard
Huge. No, Joel will answer the main bit of this but we’ve got an internal mission to be in bed with a million customers and have them spend and savour their Sunday mornings.

Elliot Moss
A million. And how many have you got today do you reckon?

Joel Jeffrey
About 50,000.

Elliot Moss
Okay.

Molly Goddard
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
So, you are on the way.

Molly Goddard
Yeah, we’re on the way.

Elliot Moss
You’ve got a football stadium.

Molly Goddard
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
50,000, that’s pretty good, isn’t it?

Joel Jeffrey
I’d say.

Elliot Moss
And so that’s measured in terms of people loving your business and loving…

Molly Goddard
Yeah, and we don’t just want to sell, sorry Joel, like you get to…

Joel Jeffrey
No, I think it’s that you were going to say exactly what I was, it’s not about just selling to a million people to start with, it’s like we actually want them to fall in love with the brand and spend time with the brand.

Molly Goddard
And slow down and savour their Sundays. It’s like the world just needs to slow down a little bit and like enjoy that moment, enjoy doing nothing, like that freedom that you have around a Sunday needs to be celebrated and now I think it’s much harder, there’s like a lot less spaces for you to do that so, being able to do that is really exciting.

Elliot Moss
So, honest answer to this. The two of you on a Sunday, what do you do now? Are you working for half of it because you’ve just got to or are you actually savouring the Sunday? Are you living your own dream?

Joel Jeffrey
I think we’re pretty good actually.

Molly Goddard
Yeah, for the first two years it was definitely working.

Joel Jeffrey
Usually, I am cooking, Molly is on the sofa doing her nails or something.

Molly Goddard
No. But we, it’s really funny because the mornings are definitely our like, at home and then Joel is always desperate to get out. So, like, I could be at home all day and pottering around whereas Joel likes to go mountain biking or…

Elliot Moss
Man leave cave.

Molly Goddard
Man leave…

Elliot Moss
Man must go. Man must hunt (go and do some sports).

Joel Jeffrey
Yeah, exactly, yeah.

Molly Goddard
But that has been an interesting thing when we launched men’s after women’s and the idea is a bit different because women love that moment whereas, for the guys, and what Joel has found too, it’s more about when you get home, putting the PJs on.

Elliot Moss
Totally changes your mood.

Molly Goddard
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Completely. It’s like, ok, I’ve finished. Or even, I can do a bit of work but it’s going to be in a different mood.

Molly Goddard
Exactly.

Elliot Moss
I’m going to have to stop asking you questions because it’s been brilliant finding out, I love the passion and I love the dynamic between the two of you and I wish you luck as you get your next 950,000 fans into pyjamas; I hope I will be one as well. Just before I let you go, and I don’t know who to ask, but what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it? It looks like it’s going to be Joel.

Joel Jeffrey
Yeah, so it’s Miles Davis, Blue in Green, and it was, I mean I think it was one of the first records we got, first jazz records we got, and it is not that often that you listen to a song now for five and a half odd minutes and don’t want to turn it off and I think it’s very Sunday morning so, it’s perfect, what we usually put on on a Sunday.

Elliot Moss
So, I hope we have enough time to do it, if we haven’t, advance apologies because it just depends on timing but here it is, just for the two of you.

That was Miles Davis with Blue in Green, the song choice of my Business Shapers today, Molly and Joel, the Co-Founders of Desmond & Dempsey. Talk about a couple that are passionate about what they do, they absolutely manifested that in all its different forms. They were comfortable with open disagreements and what that does in a team is it lets people feel free to do exactly the same and you get to a better place. And finally, an absolute obsession with quality and that’s why they are doing what they are doing. Really good stuff. That’s it from me and Jazz Shapers, have a lovely weekend.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more, just search Jazz Shapers and iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Molly Goddard is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Desmond & Dempsey and Joel Jeffery is Co-founder and CEO.

Identifying a gap in the market, she and Joel launched their inaugural 100 Desmond & Dempsey pyjamas sets to deliver luxurious, affordable, cotton nightwear. Over the last four years, the brand has quickly built a strong international presence with renowned stockists such as Selfridges, Liberty and Bergdorf Goodman.

As Creative Director, Molly’s passion and vision is a driving force behind the company’s success. She remains heavily involved with the brand at every level, with a personal passion in the creation of Desmond & Dempsey’s quarterly broadsheet, ‘The Sunday Paper’.

As former Head of Social for Ad Dynamo, Joel led social marketing campaigns for major multinationals such as Unilever and Nike. Responsible for overseeing operations, he manages the company’s growth, blending production, creative, marketing and logistics into a single aligned vision. His success has also led him to oversee the company’s business strategy, including investment, fundraising, and managing the company’s Board of Directors.

Desmond & Dempsey has seen year-on-year sales grow by over 300%, launching multiple sell-out collections. In 2016, Desmond & Dempsey was successfully nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Startup of the Year’ award, succeeded by a ‘Startups 100 Award’ in the following year. In 2018 Desmond & Dempsey was nominated for Drapers ‘Premium Brand of the Year’.

Interview highlights

We had this rule that we would skype on a Sunday. It became a really happy time and our families would tease us.

The naivety actually meant that we had no idea of how hard it would be. We took the shirt of Joel’s that loved the most to a regular tailor and said, hey, can you help us make this into a woman’s one?

We were handwriting every single order and the postcard that went with it and we’d deliver it to the Post Office. The first time we noticed a name that we didn’t recognise we were like, well that’s fun. More and more of that started happening.

We got coverage in Vogue in our first couple of months and thought, maybe we’re on to something.

We do lots of different collaborations: the first was with this tiny antique marble shop in Florence, now we’re doing one with Gail’s, the bakery.

Everyone internally has worked hard to build a place that they really love coming into. It’s kind of cool that they hang out outside of work and we all eat lunch together on a Friday.

We don’t wait till we get home to disagree about something, we’ll do it in the office so our team knows that they can disagree with us too, which they do.

We’ve got an internal mission to be in bed with a million customers and have them spend and savour their Sunday mornings. We want them to fall in love with the brand.

The world needs to slow down a little bit and enjoy doing nothing. That freedom of a Sunday needs to be celebrated.

Shaper: Clive Jackson

Stranded after a cancelled flight, Clive Jackson came up with the idea for Victor – an on-demand, private jet charter business. Spotting a gap in the market for a private jet share scheme, he launched Victor in 2011 and it has grown rapidly, revolutionising the jet charter industry with an on-demand, fully transparent and subscription [...]

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Jazz Shapers - 6 hours ago

Shaper: Jez Nelson

Jez Nelson is the Founder, CEO and CCO of content agency and production company, Somethin’ Else. Frustrated by the lack of jazz on the radio, Jez along with fellow Jazz FM presenter Chris Philips and DJ Gilles Peterson set up a jazz-only pirate radio station, K Jazz in the mid-80s, which survived for two years. After [...]

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Jazz Shapers - 1 week ago