Sleepwear brand Papinelle set for major North American expansion with latest round of funding
Australian sleepwear and lifestyle brand Papinelle is set for a major expansion in the US in 2022 with a new collaboration and retailers with its latest round of funding. Rooted in the value of women who love relaxation and natural sleepwear, the ethically made brand was launched in 2003 by Renae James in Sydney, Australia. James and his business partners Nicole and John Kelly have since expanded the range globally and expanded their range of offerings from cozy pajama sets, soft bathrobes and cozy loungewear.
Papinelle became known in the United States for their beautiful prints and natural fabrics and collaborated with iconic brands such as Karen Walker in sold-out nightwear capsules. Papinelle’s popularity helped land the brand at Nordstrom, Dillards, Bloomingdales and retailers nationwide. To further fuel Papinelle’s growth in North America, Quadrant Growth Fund acquired a majority stake in Papinelle. Quadrant was attracted to Papinelle’s established brand and global growth track, particularly with their rapidly growing e-commerce channels and the development of strategic international relationships with wholesalers. “From our first meeting, it was clear that Renae, Nicole and John would be excellent partners. We look forward to providing strategic assistance to the Papinelle team as it continues its international expansion and capital to accelerate its growth,” said Louise Haslehurst, Chief Investment Officer of Quadrant. Quadrant’s investment in Papinelle will be the eighth investment from the $400 million Quadrant Growth Fund which raised in April 2019.
James and Kelly reflect on their past decade of success and share what lies ahead for Papinelle’s next wave of expansion.
Yola Robert: What is Papinelle’s core business in terms of nightwear?
Renae James and Nicole Kelly: We have always designed sleepwear with bespoke prints on beautiful fabrics. Today, our goal is simply to create the world’s finest sleepwear, ethically made from natural fabrics that breathe and move with your body. Organic cotton, washable silk, cotton-silk blends, we love soft natural fibres!
Robert: How did you take Papinelle from a local brand to a global brand?
James and Kelly: Papinelle started at the iconic Paddington Markets in Sydney Australia in 2001. Demand has always exceeded supply so we knew we had something special. Five years ago, we set out to be the number one choice for women who want sleepwear. After experiencing tremendous growth in Australia and New Zealand, the next natural step was to go global. We knew Nordstrom would be the perfect fit for us to launch internationally because we really connected with them as a brand. You can now see us in over 250 stores across the US (including Nordstrom and Dillards) as well as our own online store.
Robert: What kind of growth has Papinelle experienced year after year?
James and Kelly: Papinelle has always had incredible and consistent growth, however, over the past 5 years we have seen 500% growth with the last 2 years being exceptional. We have become a leader in our sleepwear and loungewear category. We experienced triple-digit growth in our online sales, which now account for over 50% of our business. We have also experienced incredible growth with our wholesale partners. We are obsessed with good sales, so we launched into 25 doors in both Nordstrom and Dillards and have now become an all-door brand in both.
Robert: Why was it the right time to invest?
James and Kelly: We are beyond thrilled to have partnered with Quadrant, one of the world’s top private equity firms in our space. Their investment allows us to grow much faster by having a growth-oriented partner with capital. This helps us accelerate growth while helping attract top talent into key management roles to build a world-class team.
Robert: What was the inspiration behind the third collaboration with Karen Walker?
James and Kelly: For our third collaboration, we wanted to delve deeper into Karen Walker’s print archives and found the most beautiful 70s inspired Garden Floral we’ve created in modern sleepwear as our ode to times gone by. This vintage floral print paired with the feminine ‘Love Letters’ print by Botanical Blooms, on soft silk and silky cotton, in gorgeous new shapes is a celebration of nature. We are so in love”
Robert: How has collaboration with brands like Karen Walker enabled the success of Papinelle’s global expansion?
James and Kelly: Papinelle has amassed an extremely loyal following worldwide and Karen Walker’s influence has seen her consistently ranked in The Business of Fashion’s BoF 500, reflecting her position as a global figure in the industry. We learned very quickly from our first collaboration that both of our clients love our connection, the ranges we create sell out almost instantly, a testament to the best in style and comfort.
Robert: What’s next for the Papinelles?
James and Kelly: We have become extremely focused on our ecological footprint. We are disrupting our own business model to become a truly circular business. We’re not perfect, but we’re so proud to be on this path, so we have a clear roadmap for Papinelle to test for longevity.