Miranda Rand is the creative genius behind and owner of Playjamas. A self-described risk-taker who dabbled in education and finance before practicing as a nurse longed to flex her creative muscle after making the decision to step away from the world of public health and stay at home full-time with her sons. Not knowing all that she didn’t know about textiles, manufacturing and the garment trade, Miranda relied on what she did know: what kids like.
In starting Playjamas, Miranda took her own advice: if you feel like you can do it, and you want to do it, do it!
Beth-Anne: Playjamas is such a novel concept. How did you come up with it?
Miranda Rand: I’ve always loved comfy Pj’s, and my three boys inherited that gene from me. They love to be in their pajamas. They also really love to play dress-up from a big trunk we’ve got full of random stuff. There seems to be so much creativity and fun to be had with a simple costume. Putting together two things my kids loved seemed like a pretty obvious idea once it occurred to me.
BA: Who is the creative mind behind the styles that appeal to both girls and boys, but I have to say it’s so refreshing to find “characters” for boys that are not mainstream branded but still strongly appeal to boys?
MR: My husband and I decided on the designs, did up some mock-ups, then called in a pro for the final versions. We deliberately wanted to make sure Playjamas’ designs give a clear idea of what the costumes are, while still allowing kids lots of leeway for imagination and creativity. Playjamas is looking forward to having more designs in the future, and we’ve got some fun ideas lined up.
BA: The organic cotton thing gets me every time! Why is this so important for consumers to be aware of?
MR: Organic cotton is the way to go, when you can find it. It’s a decision that people should make, but I don’t see it as hugely political or anything like that. It just seems like one of those small “right” things that people can do. The way organic cotton is produced is much more environmentally responsible. Then there’s the question of what’s going next to your children’s skin. Some kid’s pajamas are polyester or chemically treated fabrics, and that’s what you child is wearing for hours and hours each day! It’s probably important for more people to think about the fact that the main cotton industry is a significant polluter. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is farmed and processed responsibly, without the use of harsh chemicals etc. Not only is organic cotton more responsible, it tends to feels superior to conventional cotton.
BA: Designing a pajama line sounds like something only celebrity moms do. Why and just as importantly, how did you make this leap? Do you have an extensive design and textile background?
MR: I have absolutely no experience in textiles, and there is definitely no celebrity in me. Starting Playjamas was a bit daunting, but the more I dug into things the more I learned that I could make it happen. I spoke to manufactures all over the world, and narrowed it down to companies who provided environmentally responsible manufacturing, and could meet the production specifications required for these designs (as it turns out, not an everyday, run of the mill type process). I had designs for the actual pajamas, then tracked down a graphic designer from Toronto to generate digital forms for manufacturing. Then it was back and forth with samples, a few hiccups along the way (actually more like heart stopping panic attacks). I suspect there are big challenges to anyone creating a new product. Of course financing such an endeavour can be a challenge, but we think Playjamas have so much potential.
BA: Okay, now for the million dollar question: how do you balance Playjamas with working and being a mom to 4 small boys?
MR: I love being a mom at home with my kids (I should clarify — my husband and I have 3 boys: almost, 2, almost 4 and almost 6, and I’m expecting my forth boy in October. Very excited). I really wanted to figure out a way to make it work so I could stay at home with the kids, but also add to the household income. The balancing act can get tricky. With no nanny, I find I do as much as I can for the business after the kids have gone to sleep (wearing their Playjamas, of course). But all moms have to juggle, that’s a universal truth. I frequently remind myself of all the women in the world who work in much harder conditions. I have always had the mind set that hard work will make good things happen, and at the very least it makes you feel like you’re living. I like feeling tired at the end of a day. It means a lot got done.
My son has a pair of red ninja playjamas and he has been wearing them for 48 hours. I surely hope that this isn’t a sign that he is entering into Jam Phase 2.0. – Beth-Anne
To order contact www.playjamas.ca. For all of you early holiday shoppers, these jams would be the perfect present for any kiddo on your list.