NAP Inc. has signed a licensing agreement with O’Bryan Bros. Inc. to produce, design and market a collection of sleepwear, robes and loungewear under the Cuddl Duds label.

This story first appeared in the December 17, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Distribution will be targeted for 2,000 major specialty and department stores where the Cuddl Duds brand of warmwear, underwear, daywear and a new line of eco-friendly bamboo panties are sold, said Mark Sandler, senior vice president of O’Bryan Bros.

The projection for first-year wholesale sales is $2 million, according to industry estimates. NAP and O’Bryan Bros. each generate wholesale volume in excess of $100 million.

“This is a first for Cuddl Duds, the first collection of sleepwear, robes and loungewear,” Sandler said. “We feel now is the time for the brand to be working hard for us. We now distribute in the right places and feel this is a next step to build the Cuddl Duds brand.”

Michael O’Bryan, president of the Chicago-based, family-owned Cuddl Duds, said, “It is a natural extension to our product line and our customers have been asking for it. We are confident in NAP’s ability to produce the same innovative, quality garments our customers have come to expect from us.”

Shipments will begin for early fall selling. The line will retail in the $20 to $50 range. Production will be done in Lesotho, South Africa, China and possibly Macau, said Victor Lee, president of NAP.

Lee said the venture is expected to include distribution in Japan.

“One thing that is not formally part of our agreement is we did speak of a collaboration with our partner in Japan, Sojitz,” he said. “It’s something we will address, possibly next year.”

NAP’s parent company, Nitches Inc., is a partner of Tokyo-based Sojitz Corp., a $43 billion trading company that specializes in aeronautics, chemicals, plastics, energy, textiles and apparel.

Peter Keyloun, national account manager at NAP, said the collection will be rendered in “soft and cozy” fleece, microfleece, brushed cotton, interlock and SooSoft, a proprietary knitted lightweight French terry by NAP. Styles will include pajamas, shawl-collar wrap robes and two-piece loungewear sets in a range of fashion and basic colors, as well as whimsical prints.

Colleen Cotter, vice president of merchandising and product development at O’Bryan Bros., noted that the collection eventually will feature eco-friendly groups of bamboo.

“We are now a year-round business,” Cotter said. “We launched an eco-friendly [bamboo] panty program for spring as a test in 700 doors and we will be expanding the category.”