When Marylène Dumollard left her job working for a French Canadian clothing brand, she was handed a rare opportunity. Her sister, Alizée, had started a business making cotton superhero toys called Super Doudou and, when she ran out of time for the project, she passed it on to Marylène.
Doudou is the French word for a snuggly toy or source of comfort, and the dolls speak to Marylène’s affection for Montreal. One pair of dolls, Miss and Mister Caribou, were even created with maple leaves on their hearts to reflect the warm nature of the Canadians she has known. “Like the people here, they are smiling, open minded and welcoming!” says Marylène.
The artist and entrepreneur won our recent #SquareStory contest, after posting an imaginative photo of Miss Caribou. We asked our sellers to share an image on social media that told the story of their business with Square. Marylène’s tale of turning her passion for fashion into whimsical children’s toys won her first place, and free processing on $20,000 in sales. Now she’s looking forward to putting the money she saved toward developing her business.
After attending fashion school in Paris, and working with Japanese luxury designer Ken Okada, Marylène moved to Quebec and began working for the prêt-à-porter BODYBAG by Jude range. In 2016, she left the fashion industry and took over the Super Doudou project full time. Then, she completed a three-month business development course at Montreal’s SAJE entrepreneur school.
Marylène says she cherished her time in the fashion industry but was keen to make a change. She was tired of working for someone else and she didn’t want to make clothes anymore. “It can be very serious,” she says. “I decided to make something more imaginary and magical, crazy and simple.”
Each doudou is lovingly handcrafted — Marylène personally builds them with upcycled scraps gathered from fashion designers around Montreal. And the tie to her family is also important to her. Although Alizée lives in France, she still offers regular advice. “I call her every day for advice. Her comments are very important for me,” says Marylène.
Marylène discovered Square during her time at Bodybag by Jude, where she worked to set up Square Reader for the business to use at trade shows. “All of my friends in the market used Square,” she says. “I loved how easy it was to use.”
Marylène knew she would use Square when she launched Super Doudou for her events as it would work equally as well for her small business as it had at the larger fashion brand. “It’s good that it can be adapted for a big company and also a small one,” she says. “I use it when I do markets and pop-up shops.”
When it comes to starting a business, Marylène advises others to be brave. When you work for someone else, she says, “you have all of this stuff to do instead of what you want.” But the leap is worth it. “Make the move — that’s the best and most important part. Lots of people don’t have the guts to do it.”
Meet Super Doudou.