Pajama Jeans, a Moxie award winner and one of Concepts’ biggest hits, are featured in the March issue of Response Magazine. Response spoke to Concepts’ president Collette Liantonio and Sonia Makurdsik, exclusive marketing consultant for Hampton Direct about this worldwide phenomenon.
By: Nicole Urso
Kathy Griffin owns wearing her PajamaJeans.
“I am in PajamaJeans, and I’m not a paid spokesperson, I’m just saying they’re pajamas and jeans in one. They have no zipper, you just lift them up and down,” she said as she demonstrated the elastic waistband during a segment of Griffin’s “Emmy’s Aftermath.”
Wendy Williams is also a fan. She bedazzled her famous catchphrase “How U Doin’?” onto the backside of a pair and gave them to guest Holly Madison. Then she surprised her studio audience and sent them home with a pair, too.
The famous As Seen On TV jeans have appeared on the “Today Show,” “Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda,” “Good Morning America,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Nightline,” MTV, “The Jimmy Kimmel Show” and “Conan O’Brien.”
“Once the PR took off, it took on its own life, and the pop culture appeal of the product was the big home run,” says Steve Heroux, CEO of Burlington, Vt.-based Hampton Direct.
The wildfire popularity of PajamaJeans draws obvious comparisons to the Snuggie, a loungewear novelty and celebration of comfort that debuted in 2008. The famous blanket with sleeves went on to major retail success, which is exactly what Heroux set out to achieve when he first took over the exclusive licensing and distribution of PajamaJeans in 2010.
The Perfect Pair
PajamaJeans are designed to have the look of jeans and the feel of pajamas. They are made of a stretchy blend of cotton and spandex with an interior lining of DormiSoft, a proprietary fabric that feels like the inside of sweatpants. They were developed and originally sold by PajamaGram, sister brand of The Vermont Teddy Bear Co., and just a 20-minute drive south from Hampton Direct.
PajamaGram sells “gifts of relaxation” including pajama gift sets and the Hoodie-Footie, a head-to-toe, zip-front onesie for adults and kids. It launched PajamaJeans in 2009 and sold them through its catalog and website for $59.95, but it was the first PajamaJeans TV commercial that caught Heroux’s attention.
“I think their business model was a little bit different than what I felt PajamaJeans needed, so I had a couple meetings with their CEO John Gilbert, and we went back and forth and signed an exclusive agreement to do all of their distribution in the summer of 2010. That is when we took over the project and the brand,” says Heroux, a member of the Response Advisory Board.
Heroux called in his right-hand direct marketing sage, Sonia Makurdsik, to help him develop the campaign. Makurdsik has been the exclusive marketing consultant for Hampton Direct since 2005 and helped bring products to retail including the Total Pillow and Wonder Hanger. The two met at QVC. Makurdsik was producing direct response spots while Heroux would pitch products from various vendors. Makurdsik joined Hampton Direct last month officially as the new executive vice president of marketing.
Her work on PajamaJeans started with the requisite market research where she identified a trend in comfort wear but a need for stylish options.
“You see college kids going to school in pajamas,” says Makurdsik. “You see the very expensive sweatsuits being worn in the airports. You see how Crocs became its own brand in itself, and doctors and nurses were wearing them. We saw Uggs, that style, that comfort wear, and the message was there.”
She worked with the creative team to re-shoot a new PajamaJeans commercial in a direct response format. With the help of Concepts TV Productions, they made 60- and 120-second short-form commercials explaining the features — the look of denim with pocket embroidery, brass details and flared bootcut — and the benefit of comfort with the elastic waistband and DormiSoft fabric technology.
Collette Liantonio, president of Concepts TV Productions, says, “Our challenge was to cast a variety of models with various body types who would look comfy, yet trendy. Fortunately, the jeans flatter almost every figure.”
The commercial also demonstrates various uses of PajamaJeans for today’s modern multitasking women, from traveling and working out to toting around the kids. They come in 8 sizes, ranging from extra small (size 4) to 3 XL (sizes 26-28), all with a 31-inch inseam. Styles include a blue bootcut and the new black skinny, which is sold exclusively online.
Makurdsik, a modern mom who travels frequently, owns two pairs of the blue bootcut. “Personally, because I travel so much, I love them because I can run around the airport and don’t need to deal with sitting so long and getting those marks. It feels like I have sweats, but yet I can go out to a client meeting after I arrive at the airport.”
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