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Monday, June 5, 2023

Army Veteran and Her Sister Make Sleepwear Sassy

 Black History Month is a perfect time to remember that sometimes the most innovative entrepreneurial ideas evolve accidently. Donna Taylor and Deborah Taylor –who are the founders of Sleep Sassy—know just how true this simple reality can be. Although Suffolk, Virginia is best known for peanuts and small-town charm, two ambitious siblings who originally hail from Newark, New Jersey, are putting the place on the map for a different reason. Behind the doors of their home in a peaceful setting, Donna and Deborah are busy growing their home-based, sleepwear enterprise. The Sleep Sassy line includes pants, shorts, nightgowns, sleep shirts and onesies for women. Each pajama set includes a matching, satin-lined bonnet. 

   Although product details are well thought out, the entire enterprise happened by chance.

“I got the idea when my sister (Deborah) said that I looked a mess, saying that she didn’t like my mismatched nighty and headscarf.  So instead of running around trying to find matching pieces, I decided to make my own,”
    Donna said. “I liked what I saw in the mirror and figured other people would too.”

Donna and Deborah before packing –  Donna Taylor (left) and Deborah Taylor are sisters in business. They run their operation from home in Suffolk, Va. Both women also work a 9 to 5 job.

Deborah explained that Sleep Sassy launched in 2019. At that time, the pair was new to the idea of running a sleepwear brand. Rather than feeling intimidated by trying something unfamiliar, the sisters did their homework to bring their dream of getting the business up and running to reality. Donna made the original prototype designs for their sleepwear line. She is a U.S. Army veteran who works as a consultant. Deborah’s day job is in the pharmaceutical field. Despite their eclectic professional backgrounds, the two-woman team took a business leap of faith. They hired key individuals who could help polish key aspects of their business, such as an attorney, web designer for the website, and friends to model their sleepwear products. Images were captured by a professional photographer.

   Practical life skills also proved to be useful as the sisters moved forward to implement their unique idea. Donna and Deborah both pointed out that they both learned how to sew in Home Economics, while attending school as youth in N.J. Today, the pair pull from knowledge which was gained when sewing and cooking were once rites of passage for female students. The innovative thought of ensuring that matching pajama pieces make a nicer presentation for diverse women shows that great ideas can start without big teams or big backers. Sleep Sassy’s customers can purchase merchandise sizes from small to 3X. Women of diverse body types now have a chance to lounge or sleep while embracing vibrant colors, style, and comfort.

   “Our sizes (USA sizes) can accommodate teens, young adults and older women,” Donna said. “We primarily use bamboo, a fabric which is very soft and heat regulating.”

   Donna also mentioned that bamboo fabric was selected to create the sleepwear because it is a soft, breathable fabric. Plus, it is easy to care for. Donna and Deborah’s journey to get their unique products just right was a process. Finding the right fabric and manufacturer was more than a two-and half-year process, but hard work is paying off at a time when many individuals are spending more time at home, due to the pandemic. Lounging in comfortable attire has been on the rise. Women who wear items from the Sleep Sassy line can enjoy vibrant colors, a coordinated presentation, and a high-quality product.

Donna and Deborah display items-  Donna Taylor (front) and Deborah Taylor (rear) proudly display items from their Sleep Sassy line.

   “We wanted the matching bonnet for a more polished and presentable look. The bonnet is satin-lined to protect our hair from frizz, dryness and breakage while sleeping or lounging,” Deborah said. “Our target buyer is anyone that likes a more polished, pulled together look, even while lounging at home.”

   Donna and Deborah are ambitious sisters in business who balance traditional 9 to 5 job careers as their business evolves. Donna noted that expanding the sleepwear line to include menswear, and selling their products worldwide, are a couple of future goals. Since the internet offers the ability to run a small business from mostly any location, opportunity seems limitless. 

   The savvy, sewing sisters illustrate that some elements of success require more than business strategy and hard work. Development of quality products and increasing brand recognition are winning components, too. Sleep Sassy’s Instagram feed https://www.instagram.com/sleepsassy/?hl=en serves as a visual reminder that two sisters are on a mission to help women sleep better.

“We are proud that we created a brand that is being supported and appreciated!” Deborah said.  

Please visit https://www.sleepsassy.com to obtain more information about Sleep Sassy and to order sleepwear.

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