Fluffy, soft and buttery - local pajama store caters to good sleep
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 05, 2013 06:00 am
Twice a year, Robyn Noel visits New York or Las Vegas to check out the latest in flannel fashion.
Flannel with elephants, flannel with cupcakes or simply flannel with stripes – Noel picks pajamas right from the catwalk, sorts them based on customer needs, and sends them back home to her local stores. Cloud Nine Pajamas, with locations in both Edmonton and St. Albert, caters to one basic need: a good night’s sleep.
“Some of our pajamas are wearable out. But usually pajamas are more of a thing you put on as soon as you come home,” she says. “It’s the first thing I do when I come home and then I do my cooking. I lounge around in them all night.”
Located at 44 St. Thomas St., the St. Albert store looks as cozy as the product it sells. The walls are filled with a colourful array of pants and shirts and with more than 50 brands to choose from customers can find everything from buttery-soft bamboo fabrics, to airy nightgowns, fluffy robes and playful onesies.
Eight years ago, the first Cloud Nine store – based of out Edmonton – was born out of necessity. Noel says the owner was part of a book club. But instead of discussing the latest bestsellers, all the women talked about were their trouble sleeping at night due to excessive sweats.
Eventually one of them decided to open a store specializing in cozy sleepwear and moisture-wicking fabrics – pajamas that let the sweat out at night and keep you at a comfortable temperature.
By coincidence, Noel took over the store four years later. Her father was working in an office next to Cloud Nine, she says, when the owner approached him for advice on selling the business. With Noel working on her business degree, and her father having a background in law and accounting, they decided to take over the store.
To this day, the business is family owned, she says. Her father helps out in the background while she and her sister took over running the two stores. The St. Albert location opened in 2012.
“We had the opportunity to come downtown and it had a lot of potential and we all really enjoy St. Albert,” she says. “We have a lot clientele from out here and the north side of Edmonton coming in.”
The busiest seasons for Cloud Nine are the colder months and holiday seasons, when people give away pajamas the night before Christmas. But even in the summer months the stores attract a steady base of shoppers, she says, when they are selling sleepwear designed to keep you cool and comfortable.
The store caters to more than middle-aged women, she adds. Pajamas come in all sizes, from small children to men as tall as six-foot-six. Couples like to treat each other for their anniversary, she says, and families want to match for a movie night. But the bestsellers are footed pajamas. Noel says that even the men like them.
“It’s interesting how many men actually wear the footed pajamas, it’s funny,” she says. “And the wives are so happy when the men get them something new they can wear around the family and kids and still feel feminine.”
While Noel wouldn’t recommend wearing that fluffy set with the cat print out in public, she says many people are drawn to bright and colourful looks. The store carries some regular pajamas but there are many adorned with animal and food prints, such as cupcakes, donuts and macaroons. For Halloween, Noel sells a few pajamas with skulls on them.
While a pajama costs between $40 and $120 – a few special sets cost as much as $250 – Noel says they are made for wash and wear, and people get their money’s worth. Based on the success of her first two stores, she’s looking to open another location next year. But at 25 years, she’s also taking it slow and says she’d rather grow with the business than pushing it too far.
“Our whole idea is to be a one-of-a-kind store and I don’t think anybody is able to do the same thing,” she says. “That’s what is neat about us, I guess. It’s rarely that somebody will leave with not having a choice.”