Seeing The Light Of Day
In the spirit of Klein’s branding efforts, the acceptance of comfortwear on the streets is extending the marketing reach of promotional products buyers, as well. When logos are no longer restricted to the confines of the home, “End-users can be sure their brands are taken seriously because sleepwear is now being taken seriously as a competitive and fashion-forward apparel category,” Raposo affirmed.
But the growing business opportunity is less about strategy than times (and generations) that are a-changing. Not only is the junior market a particular area of opportunity for comfortwear, but they also can be considered the opinion leaders, said Byron Reed, director of marketing at MV Sport/Weatherproof, Bay Shore, N.Y. “They wear it everywhere. … If it’s good quality and fun, they’re going to actually use it, so you get your brand around a lot more,” he maintained. Reed went on to identify high schools, cheerleading camps, universities, and fraternities and sororities as institutions especially interested in comfort and sleep styles.
However, it’s important to note the corporate sector also has a place for this type of apparel, Raposo reported, and not just the airlines, travel agencies and hospitality industries that typically come to mind (although these are large buying segments). She said, “Personalized sleepwear lets a client know you have thought of even the most personal, small detail.” This type of attention is almost subliminal. Raposo finds even the relatively staid financial sector has used sleepwear to put clients’ minds “at rest,” knowing their personal money matters are in good hands.
CLOSING THE DEAL
Although appeal and visibility go the distance, there are a few ways distributors can increase the selling potential of comfort and sleepwear even further.
1) Broaden the offering. Reed suggested approaching customers with something different, such as a T-shirt/lounge pants combo. Or, for example, if promoting a trade show where attendees will be staying in a hotel, robes make great gift ideas. “It wouldn’t be something you’re probably going to pass out at an event, but I do know a lot of people put items in a hotel room and the robe would certainly be appropriate for that,” he affirmed.