Ashley Merrill from luxury sleepwear brands Lunya & Lahgo talks about evolving sales channels (episode 281)

Ashley Merrill is the founder and CEO of Lunya and Lahgo, a D2C luxury sleepwear company that’s experiencing 200% year on year growth. Founded in 2012 they served over 120k customers in the last year.

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Getting Started

Lunya started as an online company because she wanted to reinvent the old fashioned industry of sleepwear and felt like being online was a good way to differentiate from other brands.

Her choice to go digital only was not very common in 2014 when she launched. Today the company also sells wholesale and is growing into brick and mortar retail as well.

About the Brand

  • Located in the United States
  • Premium Sleepwear for Women
  • A separate brand for men
  • Focused on innovation and quality
  • Sell D2C online, in store and wholesale
  • Shopify Platform

About Lunya

Like so many great brands, Lunya launched from personal experience. After years of wearing her husband’s old clothing to bed and around the house, Ashley says she wanted to find sleepwear that was comfortable but still reflected her style.

She came up empty handed and decided to start her own brand. The company is focused on not only style but also on creating innovative design products and has also been increasingly focused on fabric innovation. Located in the United States, they are expanding internationally and have been running since day one on Shopify.

The team is divided into three main groups: product development, marketing and their newly growing segment—administration. 

Favorite Shopify Widgets

To Wholesale or Not to Wholesale

Ashely says that wholesale can be a wonderful, cost mitigated way to build a business, but can create problems once you become more established.

Building a direct to consumer brand takes a tremendous amount of effort on the brand building side of things including an investment in things like graphics, photography and so on. With wholesale—all you have to do is make the product and get it out the door.

Unfortunately, the danger of wholesaling is that larger companies often test products and then create their own versions of the ones that work.  

Making Room for the Men

In addition to Lunya, Ashley owns and runs Lahgo, a premium sleepwear brand for men. 

The decision to launch the men’s line under an entirely different brand was an obvious one for Ashley. Separating the two made it so neither would feel watered down and the marketing team would be able to develop specific content that speaks to their customer directly. 

Having Macro Conversations

The unexpected positive outcome of creating a brand is that it creates space for having bigger conversations.

Ashley says they are focused on a macro message about staying home and doing what you want to be doing rather than what you feel like you should be doing. She loves that the brand can be a platform for bigger messaging.

Last Valentine’s day, they tackled the conversation about women’s sexual satisfaction—a topic that doesn’t get much attention and got people talking in a way that Ashley is proud of. 

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Facebook and Instagram—even with the cost to acquire going up over time, they have been a huge driver in the business

Tool Top Tip

  • Asana for organizing priorities and timelines

Growth Top Tip

  • Be Specific about your Customer. The more specific you can be the deeper you’ll resonate and the better the relationship will be.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • The Pyjama Store’s James Riggs discusses website migration, outsourcing, and brand
  • Full Disclosure’s Shirine Modad-Neill discusses email and customer service in luxury fashion retail
  • Tracey Wallace (ex BigCommerce editor) tells all about launching her new startup Doris Sleep

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