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Q&A: Studio M's Molly Reinhardt

From Dumpster Diving to Textile Treasures

Q: How did Studio M begin its journey?

A: I was throwing away tiles in a dumpster at the Denver Design District. Instead of the usual loud CLANK sound, I heard a soft thud. I looked inside and found two trash bags filled with stunning textile scraps––one had a tag that read “$600/yard.” Some were little pieces just a few inches big, others were yards long, and I decided to try making some one-of-a-kind pillows and people loved them––so I decided to make it a business.

Q: Tell us about your commitment to sustainability, luxury, and legacy.

A: While I'm not the pioneer in repurposing material from the interior design industry, my aspiration is to elevate it to a new level. The fashion industry has already taken steps to raise awareness about reusing textiles, and Studio M is striving to do the same for interior design. We annually divert a remarkable 15-30 tons of designer textiles from Colorado's landfills. We're proving that luxury doesn't have to be synonymous with waste.

Q: You’ve intentionally designed Studio M to be “an incubator for the American dream” for the seamstresses you work with. Can you elaborate?

A: Absolutely! We collaborate with organizations like the Luther Family Services Resettlement Program and IRC to provide opportunities for political refugees to work legally. By placing sewing machines in their homes, we foster entrepreneurship. They start by renting the machines and eventually own them, creating a cycle of empowerment where they have skin in the game and the opportunity to grow. 

There is an excellent seamstress who has worked with me for three and a half years. She’s a homemaker and supports her family’s income by $40k+/year by working with Studio M. What I love about our relationship at this point is she’s so good now that I trust her to fill in the blanks like stitching, color, thread color––she knows what to do and we’ve built that trust over years, so it’s a collaboration. Nurturing women to become entrepreneurs and supporting them along the way is important to Studio M’s mission.

Q: What’s the secret behind Studio M’s unique designs?

A: Each design is personally curated by me. I lay out the textiles on styrofoam boards and move around the pieces until it feels right––the materials guide me. I avoid mainstream inspiration sources and allow the materials to dictate the narrative.

Q: What are some of the interesting recent commissions Studio M has taken on?

The Dallas Museum of Art recently commissioned pillows that were designed to look as flamboyant and gorgeous as a matador’s outfits and that was so much fun to work on because Studio M’s textiles library is so vast that it’s like walking into the the gem room at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. But instead of everything being behind glass, you can actually touch all the textiles and really get a sense of each one’s individual character. Clients love coming to our studio and experiencing our collection firsthand––it’s like a treasure trove.

Our showroom generally has 200-250 pillows in stock but our range goes beyond pillows. We've turned fur coats into bags and upholstered bench seating, and ottomans––I even made a tree skirt from old wedding dresses for a family with no divorce on either side going back 200 years! The commissions we take on and the clients we partner with are always interesting and keep me excited to take on the next challenge.

Q: What's on the horizon for Studio M?

A: Our future entails securing capital and forming connections with like-minded organizations.  We're partnering with one of the largest textile manufacturers in the world and are about to start expanding our staff and seamstresses. The ultimate goal is to see Studio M grow into a semi-small empire and have one of these in every design center in the United States. It’s a no-brainer, because we’re basically a subset of a universe that already exists at a design center, and there’s so much waste in all these centralized design areas.

Q: Any reflections on your journey?

A: Even in moments of success, I still feel like that awe-struck 4th-grade girl who is so grateful her creations are loved by others. I don’t have to dumpster-dive for textiles anymore because The Denver Design District showrooms understand our mission and generously contribute their scraps and surplus. It's heartening to know that people want beauty to live on through Studio M.

Because we're not just creating products––we're creating legacies. Textiles that might have been discarded now find new life, telling stories through design. With Studio M, we're crafting a future where luxury, sustainability, and artistry intersect seamlessly.

"It's heartening to know that people want beauty to live on through Studio M. Because we're not just creating products –– we're creating legacies."