CoolRevolution founders share lessons learned on three-year anniversary
By Laura Musall
On paper, it made little sense that two 50-something friends (Mindy an operations manager for an ad shop and me a realtor) should become sleepwear designers and launch an online retail store. We know there were plenty of people (ok, our husbands and kids) who raised their eyebrows and rolled their eyes when we shared our genius idea (“genius idea,” is what Woman's World Magazine said of our PJs in the article, "These Pajamas Freed Us From Night Sweats").
Granted, we didn’t have what you’d call a stellar resume to enter the fashion world. We had zero design experience. We knew next to nothing about the fashion industry (does watching "A Devil Wears Prada" count?). Heck, neither of us had even worked in retail, and we really don’t love to shop.
Sweat and sleepless nights can make you do some crazy things, though. So, we began telling just about anyone who would listen about our dilemma with night sweats from perimenopause. We learned quickly that every friend, relative, neighbor or total stranger we talked to either were suffering from night sweats or knew a hot sleeper. We also knew there were no products on the market that worked, didn’t look frumpy and actually fit! Women shared all kinds of stories with us about waking up drenched from sweat, trying to sleep on a cooling dog bed for relief, sleeping in workout clothes and shredding all their clothes.
All these stories from hot sleepers motivated us even more.
It quickly became our dream, our passion and our mission to create the softest, coolest, most flattering PJs on the planet. One of the most exciting days of our careers was launching CoolRevolution™ three years ago this month!
As we celebrate our third birthday, we wanted to share a bit about what we’ve learned, the mistakes we’ve made and the successes we have had.
- Talk to strangers. We not only had no experience in the fashion and retail industries, but we didn’t know anyone either, so we did one thing we do excel at, and that’s talking. We talked to dozens of people to learn everything we could about design, fabrics, online retail and about the side effects of perimenopause and menopause. (Did you know 75 percent of women experience hot flashes or night sweats?).
- Follow your gut, not the crowd. There are plenty of times we asked for advice about how things are done. If that advice seemed to make sense, we followed it. If we didn’t like the advice, we made up our own rules. That’s why we have samples made in multiple sizes to test on lots of different bodies, not just one model, for example.
- No negative talk. It’s easy to beat yourself up every time you make a mistake – we’ve made plenty, you should see the first sleep tee sample! Instead of wallowing in all that’s gone wrong, we instead say: “Onward.”
- Laugh a lot. We decided from our first days working together, that if it’s not going to be fun, it’s simply not worth doing. Has every single day been fun? Of course, not, but. We really are having the best time growing our sleepwear company.
We owe all of our success to our customers. Our customers are our biggest ambassadors and cheerleaders. They willingly give us their opinions and suggestions to help us expand our sleepwear collection. They share their stories of sleepless nights and offer tips. They tell their friends and family about the softest, coolest bamboo PJs they’ve ever worn.
Three years ago this month, we launched CoolRevolutionPJs.com. We didn’t even have a product to sell yet, but we had some photos (thank you Kara Phung and Karen Radcliffe) of what our black T-shirts, pants, shorts and tank tops would look like. We had a description of our special rayon from bamboo blend fabric, and a promise that as soon as our seamstresses in Chicago were able to finish making PJs, we’d get them shipped out.
Still, Mindy and I are in awe of what happened. Orders from that simple website began pouring in. We are grateful for all the orders, but even more than that our customers who have helped us grow.
Today, we still have black sleep tees, tanks, pants and shorts, but we also have capris, nightshirts and cardigans. We’ve introduced lots of new colors, too, and soon we’ll be announcing even more! We’re working on new designs, too, all with the help of our loyal customers, who continue to remind us that they are sleeping better because of CoolRevolution PJs, the softest, coolest PJs on the planet.