Meet the founder – we caught up with Nina, founder of organic sleepwear brand Nightire, for a quick chat about her brand, inspirations and her journey so far.
How did Nightire begin?
Nightire was born out of a personal quest to understand sleep, and all that it entails, a bit better. Like many women I know, I have this thing called can’t-always-shut-my-brain-off-to-go-to-sleep syndrome. I overthink everything and am that person who constantly makes lists in my head and who worries about things that I can’t change; all while lying in bed at night waiting for sleep to set in. This led to months of restless nights and tired mornings. I began doing research into what could help a person to sleep better and tried to apply it in my nightly routine: using black-out blinds, taking a relaxing bath, using no screens in the room (so g’bye Insta-sessions right before bed), and trying anything I could to keep my body temperature on an even keel. That included buying the right sleepwear, which, in turn, got me to focus on an industry that seemed like it had a lot of room for innovation (and a bit more personality) which is how the idea for Nightire came about.
Have you always wanted to work in fashion?
Nope – I just fell into it really. Nightire was a combination of an idea, a yearning for working on a brand daily that I was massively passionate about, and good timing – the companies that I worked for as the Brand Manager, before Nightire, were all for fast moving consumer goods like diapers, toothbrushes and soft drinks.
What has been your journey so far?
As soon as I decided I wanted to start a sleepwear brand, I started working on it straight away – even though it took me forever (over a year and a half) to launch the company after the initial idea came to me – partly because of supplier and sourcing hurdles, I started working on it straight away as I was SO keen to spice up this sleepy sleepwear industry. I started out by doing research about the pyjama market, searched high and low for the material that would make a real difference in people’s sleeping behaviour, created the business plan, set out financial forecasts, and then tackled all the admin around setting up the company and the day to day running of it.
It’s been a long and fairly bumpy road to get to where I am now, for a myriad of reasons. I didn’t know anything about the production of clothing until I decided to create a sleepwear brand, as my background is in brand management and marketing. I thus had to teach myself everything about the differences in materials, stitching details, pattern design and prints. Liaising with suppliers and manufacturers has potentially been the biggest struggle though, with language barriers, my lack of clothing knowledge and distance making it all the more tricky.
Also, being a small fish (with little to no budget available to spend on marketing) in a big pond, means that I’ve had to really be creative with how the word gets out there about Nightire, to leverage connections and to hustle hard. Running my own business is a daily grind and I’ve had to grow a thick skin. Never before have I faced as many disappointments, as I do now. These could be in the shape of journalists not giving me the time of day, sales not coming in consistently or marketing activities not getting the exposure I was hoping for. I just keep pushing forward no matter what, though, because I know that as the business owner, the buck stops with me.
What inspired your latest collection?
My latest collection is an ode to sunny days. Made up of prints that hero the summery colours, prints and feels, I wanted to create a range of sleepwear that makes people happy when they wear it, whether they’re slouching around the house or jumping into bed. And that counts for any part of the year – even if it’s grey and gloomy outside, I hope the new Nightire prints will lift their spirits as much as a day on the beach would.
How do you cope with setbacks?
I always say, if building a brand from scratch was easy, everyone would be doing it. So when setbacks come along the way, I just get into bed and try again the next day, Because things normally come together after a good sleep.
What inspires you?
Not necessarily the money (ok, it’s a bit about the money), but for Nightire the mission is about actually helping people to sleep better and to invest more in their health (by focusing more on sleep). Getting feedback from people who love the product and support the brand makes every day feel like a win.
Is there anyone you would like to see wearing your brand?
Meghan Markle. Wouldn’t mind a bit of that Markle Effect to filter down to NightireJ But really, whenever someone shares their love for their new Nightire Pjs, it brings the biggest smile to my face, no matter their follower count.
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
Dominating the world of sleep. I want to revolutionise the sleepwear industry, and this mission is what keeps me going every day still.
If you could wear one piece from your collection, which one would that be?
I wear every single piece of my collection and stress test it nightly. All the cuts and patterns are what I would (and love to) wear, so they’re all in my arsenal.
What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Failure and rejection is par for the course- it’s a daily occurrence and it’s other people’s loss if they don’t ‘get’ what you and your brand is about. You won’t appeal to everyone so run your own race and don’t take it personally.
Tell us something random about yourself (anything funny and random!)
I hate avos, can recite every word to movie classics like Bring it On and Sound of Music, and speak two languages – Afrikaans and English.
What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Excellent quality sleepwear, of course;)