Writer / Julie Yates
Photography Provided by CoolRevolution
Longtime friends Mindy Ford and Laura Musall developed CoolRevolution products so women battling night sweats could get a great night’s sleep. Neither has a background in fashion or retail, but by researching and some trial and error, they hit upon a combination of the right kind of fabric and some comfy designs that women love. Now exclusively online, the pajama business got its start in Fishers at Musall’s dining room table.
When asked what gave her the idea for the company, Musall says it was “sweating – lots of sweating.”
“I was in perimenopause and I started to have night sweats,” she says. “I commiserated with friends that I couldn’t imagine going through this for the next 10 years. We all thought that there had to be some pajamas on the market for this, but no one could find anything. One friend remembered buying cooling pajamas for her husband, but everything for women seemed to be made out of polyester, which traps heat and came in limited sizes.”
“There were tons of things to lift you or conceal you, but nothing to cool you, so Mindy and I decided to design and sell cooling pajamas,” Musall continues. “She has a background in working in operations for an ad company and I am a realtor. Since we knew nothing about the industry, we became good at asking questions. People were great about wanting to help, and directed us toward who to ask to get answers. We also asked women just like us a lot of questions.”
Besides conducting a couple of informal focus groups, Ford and Musall were able to talk with some women’s health experts. They learned more about women’s struggles with sleep from Dr. Janet Carpenter of the Indiana University School of Medicine, who has spent years studying menopause. They also conferred with Musall’s sister, who is a women’s physician.
After much testing, they hit upon a blend of fabric consisting of bamboo, cotton, and just a bit of spandex for stretch. The result almost feels cool to the touch, and one woman in a focus group said the fabric felt like the other side of the pillow when sleeping at night. The cotton enables the pajamas to hold their shape, wash after wash.
The fashion industry uses size two as a default standard, but Ford and Musall immediately rejected that as their starting point. They knew from research that 67% of women in their target age group wear a size 14 or larger, and that as women age, bodies change and weight is gained in the middle.
“We were designing pajamas, not wedding dresses,” Musall says. “We put a pile of clothes on the dining room table such as T-shirts and tops. We found if something fit in the middle, it might be too big at shoulders or was like an unattractive sack. A lot of women like to put on PJs at the end of the work day, and feel that they look good enough to walk the dog and talk to a neighbor. Also important is pockets for cell phones that won’t fall out.”
Everything in the collection comes in a wide range of sizes and many colors. The popular T-shirts have extra length in the back, and are available in V-neck and scoop-neck styles. Most pieces sell for around $50. Many women wear them during the day, and the sleep shirt with its deep pockets can be used as a beach cover-up. Bottoms include shorts and wide-leg capris. There is even a long cardigan offered for $93.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Musall says. “Overall, it has been so rewarding. It is fun to learn something new and I know it helps. I am grateful for our loyal customers. I love hearing from women who tell us that they have never slept better.”