Lunya, the luxury sleepwear brand founded 10 years ago, isn’t resting when it comes to expansion plans.
The growing company has named Blair Lawson as its new chief executive officer, taking over for Lunya founder Ashley Merrill, who will remain in an advisory role.
Lawson, who became CEO in mid-May, has been busy. The brand, based in Santa Monica, California, is expanding its retail footprint from four to eight boutiques this year and is striking up partnerships with major department stores including Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s.
The Lunya founder said she spent two years looking for someone to take over the top executive job. She was impressed with Lawson’s more than 10 years of working at LVMH as well as her jobs as chief merchandising officer at Beautycounter and Goop. “It is like handing your child over,” Merrill said. “I didn’t take it lightly.”
The new CEO said she sees plenty of potential. “There is a ton of opportunity that I think was elevated by COVID,” Lawson said. “Right now, our business is almost all direct-to-consumer, and I feel there is a lot of expansion possibilities in retail, wholesale and partnerships.“
At the beginning of 2022, the company had only four retail locations in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Houston. It has added two more stores this year in San Francisco and Boston with two more on the way in Chicago and Dallas.
It is already sold at Nordstrom and Revolve and at select boutiques such as Neighborhood Goods. Later in the third quarter, it is launching merchandise at Neiman Marcus and then at Saks Fifth Avenue. By the spring of next year, it will also be on the shelves at Bloomingdale’s.
The company’s revenues have doubled since 2019, Merrill said, who declined to give specific numbers. That was helped when the sleepwear innovator introduced a mate in 2019 for the women’s line, Lunya, with a men’s brand called Lahgo. Like the women’s line, it consists of sleepwear and loungewear made of comfortable, high-grade fabrics. Best sellers include a washable short silk set for $238, a Restore jogger for $148 and a cotton/silk long-sleeved Henley for $98.
Almost all of Lunya’s merchandise is what the company calls “elevated rest wear,” which is functional for sleep and at-home use. Lunya’s bestselling product for women is a washable silk set made up of a tank top and pull-on shorts, which retails for $188.
Another popular item is an organic pima cotton robe with some innovative details, such as an attached belt, sleeves narrow enough so they can be pushed up so you don’t get them wet when washing your face or working in the kitchen, and a neckline that is transformed from a v-neck to a covered neck to modestly receive packages at the front door. It sells for $250.
Lunya is also working with innovative fabrics. It is introducing a pima cotton line, called Cooldown Pima, that works to cool your body while sleeping. “We think of ourselves as problem solvers to get better rest,” Merrill said. “Temperature seems to be one of the challenges to get a good night’s rest.”
In the fall, Lunya will be introducing washable silk sweatpants, called Silksweats, and the company is testing washable silk bedding. “Homeware products are definitely on the road map,” Lawson said.
Merrill started Lunya with an idea that grew into a business. She was tired of wearing her husband’s old T-shirts as sleepwear. It wasn’t until after she enrolled in business school at the University of California Los Angeles that she put her concept into motion.
Now the company is stepping up to the next level. “I really believe different stages of the company require different things. I was looking for a great CEO for a long time,” Merrill said. “Now the company gets both of us. Together we can really do a great job.”