Founders of Molo,
Mogens & Rikke Jepsen
Molo is the Scandinavian brand that creates children’s fashion with urban, funky and colourful designs. Molo’s clothes feed the imagination of kids with strong colours, fun prints and exciting shapes. Mogens Jepsen, CEO of Molo, and Rikke Jepsen, Product and Marketing Director, welcomed us into their amazing headquarters in Copenhagen to show us behind the scenes of Molo and unveil the story and the day-to-day challenges of the brand.
Molo is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2023. Could you please describe how Molo has evolved over the past years?
We’ve had a lot of defining moments on this 20 years journey, we’ve been on so far. We started from complete scratch in an apartment in Copenhagen with only two sets of hands to do everything from designing, purchasing, sales, marketing, administration to logistics. In the beginning we only designed a small collection for children aged 2-8, and then over the years we have expanded to include baby collections, accessories, outerwear, and swimwear covering all age groups from 0-16 years old. In terms of geographical reach, it has also been quite a ride from selling only to a few markets to now having the whole world as our playground. Every time we decide to enter a new market, open a new showroom or work with a new retailer like Smallable, it’s a change and a defining moment. You give it all your energy and hope for a successful outcome.
What’s the story behind the name Molo?
We wanted to come up with a brand name that didn’t exist because we wanted to add value to the brand ourselves. We also wanted one that was short and easy to pronounce. In this way, we ended up with Molo which is a composition of the two first letters in my name Mogens Jepsen and the other founding partner at the time – Louise Frederiksen. The idea for Molo came from a mission to spice up kids’ fashion, which at that time was very light blue and baby pink, if you put it crudely. It was time for a change. We wanted to create a kids wear brand with personality and a more playful look/expression.
What is Molo’s philosophy?
Molo's philosophy is to design eco-friendly children's clothing on children's terms, so they can express their creativity and personality through their clothes. We believe that children's clothing should be designed with the child in mind, to allow them to move freely, express themselves openly and fearlessly explore the world - and for real life, not just special occasions. The clothing should be functional and stand up to the rough and active life of children. Our designs are filled with strong colours, fun prints, exciting shapes and bold combinations, all aimed at feeding a child's imagination. Our philosophy is to be the favourite choice of clothing that a child reaches for in their wardrobe.
In terms of the collections design. What inspires Molo?
Molo is inspired by children's imagination and the desire to create clothing that is filled with color and creative prints that invite kids to go exploring and that they can even learn from. For example, this spring we have a print called ‘Amazing Earth’ in GOTS certified organic cotton that depicts endangered species on the different continents of the earth. In this way, we love telling stories with our designs. Inspiration also comes from a variety of sources all over the world, such as music, books, postcards, travels, nature, and museums. As well as from people on the street, buildings, and flea markets. We take this inspiration and incorporate it into our designs by looking into shapes, materials, trends, and colors to create an innovative collection with lots of new twists. We focus on innovation and original designs as we believe that to survive, a brand must have a unique reason to exist, and we achieve this through innovation and our storytelling.
How would you define Molo’s style?
Molo's style focuses on creativity and individual expression in a personal and recognisable design for children based on a curated Scandi design-aesthetic. As a brand we incorporate charismatic and colorful designs that often have a humorous twist and are eye-catching. Molo's style is characterized by its charm and personality but never at the price of function and quality.
How is the brand structured? How many people work in your headquarters?
We have a very democratic brand structure with quite a low management hierarchy. All members of our teams can make a difference and drive change. Change is important for us as a brand no matter whether it is in the design development or the way that we service our customers. It is essential that people that work here are proud of what they do because in this way we believe that we can bring the most dedicated designs to the all the people out there. Luckily, we are surrounded by the most capable people - of which we are approximately 50 persons here at HQ – and this really warms our hearts.
What are your roles in the company? What do you like most about your job?
Mogens is the the CEO of Molo and I’m the Product and Marketing Director. It is very rewarding to do kidswear because it is fashion but with a purpose because we do our utmost to bring forward an interesting product, but we also have to make sure that it lives up to different kinds of safety standards as well as living up to heavy washing and use which is quite different from adults’ wear. Also, kids get soooo excited over a new item of theirs and this excitement has a positive spill-over effect on what we do. On top of that, we are surrounded by dinosaurs, space objects & magic horses daily and who wouldn’t dream of that as an adult.
What are the brand’s day-to-day challenges?
Ohhhhh, there are always quite a few when running a production company. Now with everything upside down in the aftermath of Corona, production and logistics have been quite a challenge. So doing our best to be a reliable partner, a lot of resources are going into securing that we can deliver our products at the promised time. Luckily, we have a set-up with some very loyal suppliers that we have worked with for many years and such partnerships become very valuable in times of difficulties.
Could you please tell us more about the brand’s sustainable and ethical practices?
We have a responsible and long-term approach to the way we work with children’s wear. This means that we work with certified sustainable materials and production. For many years, we have worked on changing all our conventional textiles to sustainable textiles, with a particular focus on organic and recycled fabrics. We are extremely proud of the fact that not only do we only sell GOTS*, OCS* and GRS*-certified products, but as a company, we are both GOTS*, OCS* and GRS* certified. Being GOTS* and GRS* certified also mean that our products are produced under strict social and environmental standards throughout the entire manufacturing process as well as being free of hazardous chemicals.
* Certified by Ecocert Greenlife, Lic. no 197496.
Molo’s headquarters are based in Copenhagen. What would you recommend to see and do with kids when visiting?
Copenhagen is a very child-friendly city and there are many things to do. We have Tivoli Gardens which is a theme park in central Copenhagen. It is one of the oldest in the world and quite magical. On a grey day you can visit the Experimentarium. Forget any school memories you may have of boring science classes because this science centre has been capturing the imagination of adults and children alike for over thirty years.
Another popular destination is Copenhagen Zoo. With more than 4,000 animals from all over the world, Copenhagen ZOO is one of Denmark's most visited attractions. Something quite cosy and relaxing to do is a canal tour with one of the many canal boats. It is a great way to discover Copenhagen and it might also be helpful for little tired legs.
If you are to live like a true Copenhagen parent, then a must is to rent a Christiania bike and tour the city visiting one of the many playgrounds that you find in the city. There are more than 100 playgrounds so quite a lot to pick and choose from and it is good exercise as well. Finally, now that you’re visiting a small kingdom like Denmark, you can see the The Danish Royal Guard march from Rosenborg Castle to Amalienborg Palace where the Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place every day at 12 am at the Queens palace – Amalienborg.