By  on April 30, 2007

A whimsical new sleepwear brand called Knotty Woodpecker will be unveiled at next week's market.

The novelty sleepwear for women and men was created by Dan Turk, owner of the Knotty Woodpecker store in Hudson, N.Y. Turk, whose background in design and product development includes Jockey, Charles Goodnight, Nordstrom and Disney, as well as the launch of the Joe Boxer brand with Nick Graham.

Turk teamed up with Graham again in January when he signed a licensing agreement with Graham's new San Francisco-based company, Wonderbrand LLC, to produce and distribute the Knotty Woodpecker brand to mail-order businesses such as The Vermont Country Store catalogue, major department and specialty stores, sporting goods chains and specialty stores that Turk describes as "the outdoor retailers of America, a cross between the Grand Tetons and lodge and Western stores like Kittery Trading Post."

First-year wholesale sales are projected at $1 million to $2 million, he said.

Turk said he's always been "fascinated" with birds and opened his first store in 1967 called Chicken Little's Emporium. But finding a bird-inspired name for the sleepwear brand proved to be a challenge.

"I kept on thinking, 'What am I going to name this brand?' and I looked out the window and saw a woodpecker," recalled Turk. "A friend said, 'Look how naughty he is,' and I thought, 'Let's name it Knotty Woodpecker.'"

The line has a unisex appeal, focusing on novelty striped knit union suits, comfy pullover tops and "bright, old-fashioned farm plaids" in flannel. There also are ruffle-edged flannel bloomers that will evolve into three styles for spring — a panty bloomer, a midsize style and a classic, full bloomer — that will be merchandised with sleep T-shirts. In addition to plaids and stripes, prints include roosters and multiple images of the backsides of horses. Colors include unusual combinations of pea soup green with pink and cinnamon with turquoise.

Graham, who serves as chief brand officer of Wonderbrand, said retail reaction was strong when the concept was previewed several weeks ago.

"We're not only going after a very New England-centric customer, but also the Northwest customer," he said.Graham founded Joe Boxer in 1985. The company was sold in March 2001 to Westport, Conn.-based Windsong Allegiance Group. Graham said he wanted to pursue other opportunities and left the firm.

Graham said he jumped back into the apparel business because "I still love the whole business. It's fun. We license key brands and we like to create brands specifically for retailers, or develop brands on our own and sell them."

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