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A University of Alabama nightshirt
College Retailers Give Nod to Licensed Nightshirts
Emerson Street a Sleeper No More
November 4, 2008

Emerson Street always wanted to go into the collegiate business. The company that invented the sleepwear-in-a-bag concept already had product in over 3,000 stores, and retailers were clamoring for something that would tap into the passion and purchasing might of the licensed sports market—with the art and humor of cartoonist Emerson Quillin. So the company introduced a line of licensed nightshirts that quickly expanded to 77 schools, and it has been a hit both on and off campuses nationwide.

“We felt strongly it would be a winner,” says Dale Rotar, head of Product Development for Emerson Street, “and it’s been very successful."

A Louisiani State University nightshirt

That is something of an understatement, given that the company began fairly late in the game in terms of the 2008 purchasing cycle and spent much of the year playing “catch up.”

Nonetheless, retailers who found the dollars to add product were richly rewarded with a stream of enthusiastic new customers. Already Emerson Street has sold out of best-sellers LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Texas. The company has added new stores and expanded existing business without replacing dollars. Now it is perfectly positioned to go after 2009 buying budgets.

The nightshirts are also being used as swimsuit covers, and some students are even wearing them into stadiums on game day. Oh, those kooky co-eds!

It’s been through the roof,” smiles Rotar.

A University of Texas nightshirt

To ensure quality and customer service, the company set up a factory in the South to manufacture its college sleepwear, and the graphics are applied in Upstate New York. So every piece is truly Made in the USA.

Why only nightshirts?

“We decided to do what we knew well,” Rotar responds.

“What we’ve seen,” he adds, “is there are not a lot of sleepwear vendors in the college licensed market. Now we want to expand into pajamas, bathrobes and sleep jerseys.”

In other words, don’t leave your seats. There’s more to come.

 

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