In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Senior Content Strategist Ashley Chiaradio chats with Ashley Merrill, CEO and founder of Lunya, a luxury sleepwear company for the modern woman. Listen in as Merrill discusses why she started Lunya, her struggle to find comfortable and cute sleepwear prior to launching the brand, and what sleepwear problems she hopes to solve with her clothing.
Merrill shares why her customers are willing to pay more for the high-quality fabrics and premium, intentional design behind Lunya’s sleepwear. The brand uses natural and organic fibers in its clothing, and Merrill discusses how the different fabrics help regulate temperature, promote healing and even restore energy during sleep. She talks about why Lunya expanded into brick-and-mortar stores, which the brand calls “bedrooms”; how the unique store design creates an intimate space for shoppers to interact with the brand; and the various events held in the space. Merrill also addresses the recent launch of luxury men’s sleepwear brand Lahgo, why she felt it needed to be separate from the Lunya brand, and how the company hopes to create distinct yet equally comfortable and useful premium sleepwear for both men and women.
As founder of Lunya and Lahgo, Ashley Merrill is reinventing sleepwear for modern women and men, respectively. Both brands share a simple mission: to make people feel confidently comfortable — at home and within themselves. Beyond her sleepwear entrepreneurship, Ashley is principal at impact investing firm NaHCO3, where she leverages her background in venture, technology, and the arts to invest in ways that leverage business to create opportunity and move humanity forward. Ashley is also CEO and co-founder of The Deep, a media platform that makes philosophy and personal exploration accessible through thought-provoking questions and content. Both personally and professionally, she’s an active supporter of organizations like Girls Inc., Upstream, and United Medical Corps. Ashley is a Southern California native and resides there with her husband and their two young children.
Date: December 17, 2019
Credits: Ashley Merrill
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Digital Content Director Kristina Stidham interviews Michelle Wenke, co-founder of Monrow, a loungewear brand known for its timeless design and comfortable fabrics. Wenke discusses her and her co-founder's career history in fashion design, the white space they saw when launching Monrow, and how they came together to create the brand.23:15
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Genevieve Rosen-Biller, founder and CEO of Bed Threads, a leader in carbon-neutral, high-quality linen bedding, is interviewed. Rosen-Biller discusses her career shift from journalism to founding Bed Threads, the inspiration behind the brand, and why the company was founded on a direct-to-consumer model. She shares how the COVID-19 pandemic uplifted the business as consumers invested in home goods, why Bed Threads expanded into bath, tableware, sleepwear and homeware as the brand grew, and the advantages of being a digital-native business.21:18
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Zoia Ali, Abby Warner and Taimi Kennerley, co-founders of The Girls Company, a company revolutionizing the way people address women's health, discuss how the business was created from an assignment during a college entrepreneurship class, how The Girls Company's cramp-alleviating band product works, and why the digital-native brand partnered with Target to launch into physical retail.14:19
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Digital Content Director Kristina Stidham interviews Vanessa Quigley, co-founder and chatbooker-in-chief of Chatbooks, the photo book subscription company for busy moms. Quigley discusses the inspiration behind the business, how her struggle with mom guilt combined with her Instagram account helped create Chatbooks, and how she learned how to to lead a retail company with no prior business experience.27:18
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Co-Founder Melissa Campanelli interviews Nina Barjesteh, senior vice president of product development and design at DICK’S Sporting Goods. Barjesteh discusses her career background in retail merchandising, what drew her to join DICK'S, and how the sporting goods brand forecasts new product demand based on consumer habits.21:24
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Senior Content Strategist Ashley Chiaradio interviews Stephanie Summerson Hall, founder of Estelle Colored Glass, a luxury brand of hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware. Listen in as Hall discusses how her grandmother inspired her to start the brand, Estelle's vintage-inspired yet refined and modern colored glass collection, and the research behind deciding to manufacture the glass in Poland.14:04
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Co-Founder Melissa Campanelli interviews Julie Pike, chief merchant officer at Bonobos, a clothing brand focused on delivering great fit, excellent customer experience, and a fun approach to menswear. Pike discusses her professional background in retail, what drew her to join Bonobos, and the brand's foundation in a strength-based leadership model.19:37
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Senior Content Strategist Ashley Chiaradio interviews DeeDee Shaw, founder of Monkee's, a high-end luxury lifestyle boutique that offers the ultimate selection of quality shoes, clothing and accessory products. Shaw discusses the genesis of the brand, how her partnership and friendship with Monkee's co-owner came to be, and why she believes the business experienced growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.15:08
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Senior Content Strategist Ashley Chiaradio interviews Salena Knight, retail strategist and founder of consulting and training business The Retail Academy. Knight discusses her indirect career journey to retail consultant, how retailers can figure out what's holding them back, and why businesses will experience exponential growth if leaders focus on fixing the biggest challenges that are often pushed to the sidelines.24:52
In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Co-Founder Melissa Campanelli interviews Angie Tebbe, co-founder and CEO of Rae Wellness, a women's wellness company supporting calm, sleep, energy and more through pure and powerful supplements. Tebbe discusses her professional background, how she overcame the many challenges she faced while launching Rae Wellness, and why entrepreneurs need to be anchored in the "why" of their business to succeed.