We have a confession. We wear sweats to bed. You too? Let’s make a resolution to put an end to that habit right now, k? Thankfully, Ashley Merrill is here to save the day because everything she produces for her luxurious line of sleepwear, Lunya, is incredible. If you’re looking to up your bedroom game and slay the #hygge Insta trend, this is about to become your latest obsession. Ashley is also an incredible supporter of fellow mamas both through her relationships and involvement in her community. Basically, she’s giving us all the feels and we wish we could hang with her in LA for a week (or two).
Quote you love: “Be the change that you want to see exist in the world.” Gandhi
Best advice you’ve ever been given?: Build the airplane while flying.
Thank you for launching your gorgeous sleepwear line, Lunya. We can finally leave our sweats for the gym! What’s your start-up story?
It started one day when I walked by my bedroom mirror and marveled at my outfit – I was wearing my husband’s old shirt and rolled up boxer briefs. Some might say I had let the wheels fall off a little. I realized I had picked this outfit based on comfort. It made me wonder, could there not be something comfortable that didn’t look like I’d hung it up at 28? This realization sent me on a mission to find comfortable, flattering sleepwear but my only choices were uncomfortable, sexy lingerie or frumpy, traditional PJ’s. The sleepwear options available didn’t match the modern woman I wanted to be.
You shifted careers when you launched Lunya. Did you have a mentor to help show you the way?
Many people inspire me but I’ve never had a formal mentor. My husband is an entrepreneur and his passion has been endlessly motivating for me. He is a an innately confident leader who has built something sensational despite not having the perfect background for it. Watching him forge an unfamiliar path has empowered me to do this on my own. As a behind the scenes supporter for him,l I watched him get comfortable with the new and unfamiliar and learned that no one really knows what they are doing. If it was a well travelled path it probably wouldn’t be a good business idea because everyone would be doing it!
I’ve also been lucky enough to connect with many female entrepreneurs in the early stages who have lent kind and supporting words like Susan Feldman from One Kings Lane, Jane Wurwand from Dermalogica and Jennifer Hyman from Rent the Runway. I also have a number of people who inspire me as well rounded people; my mother and her girlfriends and of course, my dear friends.
You were recently nominated for the Los Angeles Business Journal emerging fashion brand award. Congrats! What goals do you have for Lunya in the upcoming year?
Our goal this year is to continue to refine the brand and to grow! We want to hone the voice to be one that reflects the witty, intelligent, inspiring women who work here and wear Lunya’s products. We have an incredible team and a life changing product. We see this year as an exciting year for the company to actualize a lot of goals…and maybe a slipper? I’ve been dying for a game changing non-grandma slipper.
We love that your pieces are so versatile and can also be worn out of the house (hello school drop off!). Innerwear as outerwear is such a big trend but it can be tricky. Which pieces also look good on the street? How would you style them?
We say we are inactive wear because we create intentionally designed pieces to optimize for comfort in a way that doesn’t sacrifice cool. And yes, this totally works for the morning Starbucks run! I love layering the Hazel Pima Romper with a long sleeve underneath, like the Two Way Tunic, and often pair it with some cool high tops. We also have a Pima Long Cardi coming soon that looks rad layered over the Pima Sleep Dress.
And now, we must tackle the bedroom. What is one thing we all need?
It depends how stressed and sleep deprived you are. After a long weekend with a sick kid, this is looking kind of appealing. I’m kidding (kind of). I love having tons of pillows so that when I sleep I’m in a nest of pillows. It was a habit my husband and I picked up while I was pregnant (and while he was sympathy pregnant) that we never really parted with. For the odd day that you are “in the mood”, I recommend Lunya’s Washable Silk Dress… it flatters the body and rocks just the perfect amount of side boob. He can send thank you Instas to me at @ashleylunya.
You’ve confessed you have a passion for green juice. What’s your “go-to” recipe that we can try at home?
I bought this super cool juicer and went to the Farmer’s Market and bought tons of amazing greens because… who in their right mind spends $8 on a juice? Fast forward to three hours of chopping, washing, and cleaning later and I can confidently tell you that the best green juice is one you don’t make yourself. $8 is a deal. Lol. I like to buy the green juices with cayenne and ginger because I’m masochistic like that.
Women supporting women is something you are a believer in. Tell us more about how you get involved in your community.
Lunya has just started working with Girls Build LA which is an awesome organization that helps to inspire young women in lesser privileged areas learn to be entrepreneurial problem solvers. I was excited about this organization because when I think about my own experience founding a company, I am grateful to be surrounded by opportunity and helpful connections. It’s easy to take for granted the leg up circumstances can provide. Girls Build LA is helping to give these girls tools and connections to forge a bright future for themselves in a way that really excites me.
What are your 3 pearls of mama wisdom?
1) They will do what you do, not what you say. Be the woman you always dreamed of so your littles will reach for their dreams.
2) Don’t forget about yourself. It’s easy to fall off your own priorities list but at the end of the day, when you fulfill your personal needs you will be a happier and less resentful parent.
3) Starting a business and having kids actually have a lot in common. Nobody knows what they are doing. We’re all just doing the best we can with the information we have.
Ashley Merrill lives in LA with her two littles and is the CEO of Lunya, a sleepwear company that makes a woman feel confidently comfortable.