Marley Molinaro Footwear is the brainchild of an ambitious and driven Malebogo “Marley” Mokone. Marley has worked as a model and fashion designer while studying in Ukraine. Now she dedicates her time to building the Marley Molinaro fashion brand.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned from what you do?
Answer: I’ve learned to always stick to my guns, to always make sure that the initial mandate of Marley Molinaro footwear is always followed through even as the brand continues to grow.
Describe a day in your life. What do you love most about what you do?
Answer: A day in the life of Marley Molinaro is quite hectic, I am normally up by 7 am. The first thing I look at is my phone because its the main way I run my business. Once I’ve checked all the important stuff, I grab a cup of coffee. Next, I check in with clients, reply inquiries and orders. My company is my baby so the Facebook and Instagram page has to be lit always. After replying to orders and inquiries I quickly jump into the shower and make some deliveries. I personally like to meet my clients because I get an opportunity to interact with them and get a feel of who exactly is a #MMFGIRL.
After the deliveries, I check in with my PA, check what the schedule is for the day. Every now and then I get to talk to the press and usually bloggers. I check in with my suppliers in Thailand on a daily basis regarding the latest trends, order plans and just to touch base with my business that side.
What I love most about what I do is very simple, designing. I love the fact that a drawing I came up with could turn into a functional and fashionable shoe. I love seeing other women enjoying my designs and mostly I love the feeling I get when I wear my shoes. IT IS AMAZING!!
Take our readers through your work process.
Answer: Well… being the Creative Director of Marley Molinaro, am the main designer. I envision a shoe and I put it on paper, I work with two other designers in Thailand who refine my ideas. After agreeing on which sketch and design to move forward with, the manufacturer turns my sketches into quality shoes. In a little over 3 weeks, Marley Molinaro shoes are shipped from Thailand to Botswana. Once the shoes arrive we usually stage a photoshoot to introduce the shoes. We post the stunning pictures on our Social media pages and the shoes are ready for delivery.
What do you do when you are not working?
Answer: See that’s the thing I am always working. I don’t think artists get a “no working” day. If I am not sketching, am following up with clients, I could be in the middle of traffic and I think of an outfit that inspires an idea. I am also trying to get back to playing basketball, and sometimes I go for yoga.
What can you compare to the work you do?
Answer: To be honest there is nothing to compare my work to. I do what I love and it has become something that fulfils me in many ways.
Tell our readers about how it all began.
Answer: Well… it really started in junior school. I studied art in school and I’ve always known that one day I will create a fashion line. So 2013 I went and randomly got myself a sewing machine and I started learning how to sew. That’s how things really got going. I designed a collection of dresses for a pageant. Late 2017 I moved from Ukraine to Botswana and we finalised what the brand “Marley Molinaro‘s” next phase was… We chose to relaunch the brand with a shoe line in Botswana.
What gets you out of bed in the morning and what keeps you up at night?
Answer: My business gets me out of bed every day, there is always so much to do. My brand keeps me up at night, I am always researching, collecting information and staying updated with the latest trends.
What excites you?
Answer: I get excited by music, shoes, delicious food and creating, designing and putting things together. I also love travelling and the ocean. Most importantly I love spending time with my nieces and nephew.
What projects are you working on now?
Answer: Well there is a bunch! Am at the moment collaborating with some local designers and local brands for a photoshoot campaign with all the different brands.
What sentence will come to define your life?
Answer: Self-motivated, intuitve, driven by creativity.
Describe the feeling of your first gig/client?
Answer: My first gig with clothes was the opportunity of dressing the pageant participants in Ukraine. Nothing can ever explain the feeling you get watching someone rock your brand. I love making women feel amazing through my designs.
What has been the biggest challenge in your work?
Answer: Two challenges actually.
Getting shoes to an international client on time. Sometimes shipping companies have some sort of problems and this affects their delivery schedules and this can be a pain for our business.
Sometimes it is very difficult to have to disappoint a client who wants a custom shoe design, which we can not do right now.
What are the five things that create a recipe for success?
- Execution (action)
What will people say at your 80th birthday party?
Answer: I don’t know really… some will probably say I am a go-getter…some might say I inspired their stories because of my focus.
How important is your work in the growing pan African movement?
Ohh it’s very important. We chose Botswana for our relaunch. There is so much that Africa offers if we all choose to lead the change we want to see. I like to believe am not just a designer. I want to inspire, lead and show that it is possible, African child.