Have you seen Etsy’s 2013 holiday videos? In each, you get a tantalizing glimpse of the maker behind a one-of-a-kind item. Here on the blog, we’d like to share a bit more about these extraordinary folks. Today we meet Molly, whose incredibly covetable coats are a perennial holiday favorite.
“It’s definitely a whole family affair,” says designer, sewer and entrepreneur Molly Goodall. She’s talking about her Etsy business, Little Goodall, a bastion of imagination-igniting coats for kids (and a few for adults, too). Goodall’s charming, expertly constructed animal-inspired coats — she makes lions, bunnies, foxes, raccoons, bears and owls, among others — have made their way from her North Texas town to homes all over the world, from Australia and Qatar to South Korea and Kuwait.
That’s not something Goodall, a former toy designer who studied fashion at New York’s Parsons School of Design, could have ever imagined in 2010, when she was trying to come up with an inventive way to get her then two-year-old son to wear the hood on his jacket. “I was frustrated because I couldn’t find really cute, creative clothing for him to wear, and so I had this crazy idea for a lion coat,” she says. “I made it for him thinking that he would wear his hood up if it was a little bit more interesting.”
Her now five-year-old son is still her muse. His recent obsession with robots inspired the coat she’s working on adding to the collection, but he’s not content to stand idly by while she runs the business. “He likes to get involved in the design process and make drawings of what he thinks things should look like,” Molly says. “He’ll start cutting pieces of felt and gluing buttons onto his little collaborations.” Her son isn’t the only household member who pitches in. Goodall’s husband is a “huge help,” whether he’s cutting felt, counting stock or shuttling their little guy to kindergarten so she can work.
The sense of family extends to Little Goodall fans, too. “That’s one of the most amazing things about Etsy, is the connection you have with your customers,” she says. One bought matching coats for Mom, Dad, and child alike. Others order from her every year, sending pictures of their kids as they grow with her creations. “[The coats] are like well-loved stuffed animals. The older they get, the more personality they have,” explains Molly. “The big kids hand them down. One of my customers, she said, ‘My younger daughter just inherited the lion coat this year and she’s so excited that it’s her turn for it!’”
The holidays provide an opportunity for a lot of kids to get excited about one of Little Goodall’s warm, whimsical treasures. Stop by the Goodall home this time of year and you’ll find a flurry of activity. Molly might be in the big front room that acts as her sewing studio, putting finishing touches on a handful of dinosaur coats. In the guest bedroom, which doubles as a stockroom, you might find her dad, whose shipping background makes him a perfect candidate for inventory management. But the real magic happens in the packing area, aka dining room, where the entire family, including Molly’s husband and mother (who also happens to be an expert coat presser), set up a production-style line, giving each outgoing package their utmost attention.
“We take a lot of pride in the way that we pack [the coats],” she says. “Everything is in tissue paper, the box has been tied with a grosgrain ribbon and there’s a note that I write on a little card in each one, thanking the customer. We try to make it a really memorable moment whenever someone opens the box, so that it feels like they’re really opening something special.”
Lisa Butterworth is a writer and editor soaking up the eternal sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not on the hunt for the latest and greatest in girl culture as the West Coast editor of BUST magazine, she's flea marketing, taco trucking, and generally raising a ruckus.