Molly Goodall’s children’s clothing brand Little Goodall has a heart as big as Texas.
Taking its cue from the furry and the feathered, this whimsical collection of animal-themed separates is made in the Lone Star State with an eye to keep children inspired, be it to flap their arms or roar like a lion. It’s a true juxtaposition of high quality fashion and free spirited fun that makes this brand stand out.
We got to talk to Goodall about the line’s inspiration, its evolution and her life as an entrepreneur.
Little Goodall began in a rather organic way after I started sewing for my toddler son. As a new mother I was looking for a creative outlet for naptime, so I began to sew little pieces for him from vintage fabrics.
I was frustrated at the lack of offerings for little boys. Our pediatrician had advised us to make sure our son always kept his ears covered, so a bolt of gold colored woolfelt at the fabric store inspired me to create a lion coat to encourage him to keep his hood on when playing outdoors. Friends wanted them for their children as well, so I set up an Etsy shop, and we’ve grown from there!
I have a BFA in Fashion from Parsons School of Design, and although I focused on childrenswear for my senior thesis I worked in toy design after I graduated. I left that field to focus on fine art, and I worked as a watercolor artist until my son was born in 2008.
I would probably still be painting!
At first, I was drafting all the patterns and sewing everything on my dining room table. My husband would come home in the evening and cut coats so I could assemble them the next day, I did everything (and didn’t sleep much)! When I received my first big wholesale order for 100 pieces each in 4 different styles, I knew I had to find some help.
Lucky for me, Dallas used to be a big garment manufacturing center in the 50’s and 60’s, and while most of that work has gone overseas today, there are still small sewing rooms with talented craftspeople if you seek them out. I did just that, and have been working with some brilliant pattern makers, graders, cutters, and sewing rooms ever since.
We started with just our felt animal coats, and customers started requesting animal hats for dress up play, so we added those to the line. In a similar fashion, customers requested adult versions of some of the coats styles so we added those too. We launched our first summer collection in 2013 after I created several summer styles in the process of writing my book, Wild Things to Sew and Wear (St. Martin’s Press), and they were so well received that we now offer a new collection every Spring.
I love having new ideas and working through them. It’s exhilarating to start something as a little seed in the back of your mind and work it through to fruition, and to have the freedom to pursue your ideas. A lot of work, but wonderful work that you’re excited to get out of bed for every morning!
The consistent growing pains! You have to be consistently thinking seasons and years ahead, trying to design and implement new systems while keeping everything running smoothly in the now.
Spring at Little Goodall is always full of bunnies, they are a signature of our brand since we introduced our first bunny coat in 2013. For 2018, I was inspired by two new animals for us, birds to be exact – Flamingos and Swans. Their graceful shapes and showy plumage inspired two delightful party dresses, one featuring two flamingos and the other with two swans.
The pink and teal of the dresses crosses over into the new group of Liberty Prints we use for our playwear collection, and rompers are a key piece for both boys and girls – bubble rompers in the Liberty Prints and a lilac gingham Mouse romper for girls; a sky blue Lion romper for boys.
Fall 2018 is underway, I’m really excited about several new dress coat shapes for girls inspired by the designs of Charles James. We have a beautiful new Kitty Capelet, an Elephant Coat in the same style as our Llama Coat which debuted this year, and two new collaborations with illustrators that are really spectacular. We always describe our work as “designed to delight” and these pieces definitely embody that idea!
My son Carter just turned nine, and while he’s outgrown our coats, he still inspires me every day with his lust for life and interest in tiny details. Lately, he’s been drawing cakes – really fancy layer cakes, with small buildings on top like Big Ben and Tower Bridge.
The juxtaposition of these two unexpected things is exactly the kind of quirk that I love. This summer, we went to Playtime Paris as a family, and then he accompanied me to Playtime New York, so it was fun to share those events with him since he was the original inspiration for Little Goodall.
Prices range from $35 (Liberty Print Ruffle Bonnets) to $150 (Party Dresses), in sizes 9months -9 years (although not all pieces are available in all sizes)
I love linen and cotton for summer. In the South, we love the coolness and soft hand of linen. I’m all about structural shapes, so linen is perfect for that since it has a bit more body than cotton and a lovely bounce.
The Liberty London fabrics we use are the softest, smoothest cotton lawn, and I love it because the scale of the weave is perfect for children. Light as air and they only get better with washing!
The Flamingo dress and the Swan Dress, and also the Liberty Print Juliet Dresses. They are exactly the kind of dresses I dreamt of when I was a little girl.
Wes Anderson, I love the aesthetic of his films. His use of color, balance, and symmetry is totally my jam.
Children are so original, it’s the way they put outfits together that inspired me to focus on childrenswear in college. They are so natural and comfortable in their own skins, something that becomes much more difficult as adults.
For little ones everyday is truly an adventure, and children’s clothing should be a part of that and not just utility. Dresses inspire twirling, skirts inspire skipping, rompers inspire tumbling, coats inspire bunny hopping or lion roaring. For me, the most interesting children’s style is a reflection of the creative experience of childhood.
I definitely feel like we are seeing more smaller, well curated boutiques and less of the big stores at market.
For our brand we are seeing more buyers than ever from Asia, who are very excited about small US luxury brands and are buying a wide selection of the collection.
Consumers are also being careful with their buying, and may wait several years to buy a coveted garment for a child at a certain age – for us this means it’s important that we keep key pieces in the line from season to season.
July was the first time we exhibited at Playtime Paris, and we are excited to try Playtime Berlin as well. Although we have shipped to international buyers for years, it was our first experience taking the collection outside the US to meet buyers in person and it was a great one!
We are a small, family owned brand based in Texas, just above Dallas, and all our garments are ethically handmade in Texas. We do all the piecework by hand in our studio, so each garment is truly original.
When customers purchase a Little Goodall design, they are supporting a community of skilled craftspeople who love what they do, and for this we are truly grateful! We often say our clothing carries the love of all the Texans who created it.