Friends Margaret Bruns and Laura Byer shared a common compliant: Neither could find comfortable sleepwear that held “everything” in place.
Nightgowns with built-in bras offered minimal support. And dealing with the poking and jabbing of an underwire brassiere in bed was less than appealing.
“The only items that had support were geared to be super sexy and not appropriate for wearing around family,” said Byer, a Potomac resident. “And they were not at all the type of item you’d want to sleep in.”
Though Byer, a researcher, and Bruns, a chef, had no formal design training, they figured their shared passion for functional fashion would serve them well in solving the nightie conundrum. A year and a half later, the pair believe they have done just that with Uplifting Nighties, a line of sleepwear made from spandex and modal, a fabric known for keeping its shape.
For $95, customers can choose from a two-piece pajama lounge set, flower print frock or lace-trimmed pink or purple slip. Each piece in the collection, available online, is designed with adjustable straps and shelf bra.
“We wanted to make something you could sleep in and something you also felt comfortable walking around in,” said Bruns, a resident of Annapolis.
Getting Uplifting Nighties up and running hasn’t been easy.
It took months and months of testing to find the right combination of fabrics, and even longer to smooth out the kinks in production. Finding a professional seamstress to make the sleepwear proved challenging, as did securing a manufacturer.
Byer had a contact for a manufacturer in China and sent over samples, but she said “it was a very long, frustrating process to translate the nuances of increasing the cup size and what not.”
The company is now producing some of the collection in China and some in Manhattan. Fabrics are sourced from textile mills in Italy and California. Bruns and Byer split the work and run the business from home. All told, the duo poured more than $30,000 of their own money into starting the company.
Going through China, she added, means ordering much larger quantities, but she and Byer thought it would be more prudent to pay more and have less, in case it didn’t go as well as planned.
Though it has only been two months since the fledgling company debuted, Byer said the company has begun ringing up sales beyond their network of friends.