Maternity leave turns to dream come true

Sherri Kiernikowski, her brand is

By Melissa Meehan

With a head full of knowledge and a passion to work while raising her twin boys, Brighton East mum Sherri Kiernikowski started Wanderluxe Sleepwear and it’s gone from strength, MELISSA MEEHAN spoke to her about how it all started and if its possible to find a work life balance.

BREAKOUT QUOTE: Starting my own business and having a young family was a bit of a juggling act. Trying to be the best mum I can be while running my business puts my multitasking skills to the test!

Tell us a bit about yourself; are you a mum, where are you from, and what is your business background?

I grew up in Melbourne immersed in my family’s business – the fourth generation of a men’s suiting business which started back in 1907. I spent the beginning of my adult life working corporate roles in telecommunications and it was when I was on maternity leave after having my twin boys that I decided I didn’t want to go back – that it was time to do something for myself and see how far I could push myself. It was my background in men’s tailoring that is where I came up with the concept ‘His shirt for Her’ in the form of pyjamas and where the idea of Wanderluxe Sleepwear began.

What is Wanderluxe and how did it come about?

After maternity leave from my corporate role, I decided that I wanted to do something on my own where I could be flexible with my hours. With twin boys, I spent a lot of time at home and a lot of time in pyjamas. During this time, I couldn’t find any pyjamas I liked that were comfortable yet stylish in which I would be happy to answer the door in or have friends and family visit.

Leveraging my background in men’s suiting and the fact I couldn’t find any pyjamas I liked, it inspired me to develop a range of sleepwear based on the principles of suiting and Savile Row Tailoring. From here, I came up with the idea of “his shirt for her” in the form of pyjamas. As I started to research this concept, I realised you couldn’t sleep comfortably in a business shirt and I just didn’t like any of the fabrics available. So I spent a couple of years researching and ultimately developed my own bespoke fabric. I designed the perfect blend for comfort and style – a custom cotton-modal blend. After many rounds of handlooms and sampling, I launched my first collection.

Have you always been interested in fashion?

I have always loved fashion particularly fine detailing. I love how it’s the little details that can make one piece different from the next. I am always looking for everyday pieces where comfort and style coexist and thought why can’t I have the same feeling with what I wear to bed.

How did you start the business? Were there many hurdles?

After coming up with the idea of ‘His shirt for Her’ in the form of pyjamas, I start researching fabrics and designs to ensure the perfect blend of comfort and style. This was a lengthy process as I struggled to find fabrics that made sleeping in a man’s shirt comfortable. Ultimately, I decided to design my own range of bespoke fabric; a custom cotton-modal blend. Picking the right fabrics took months and months of going back and forth. We not only had to get the blend right, but we also had to make sure it passed the wash test and stood the test of time. After extensive testing and sampling, it was from here that I launched my first collection.

How did you manage being a mum and starting your own business?

Starting my own business and having a young family was a bit of a juggling act. It was my supportive husband and family who believed in me, which is what made it Wanderluxe Sleepwear possible.

Is it hard to find a work life balance? Does it even exist?

Finding a work life balance is always something I am trying to manage. Trying to be the best mum I can be while running my business puts my multitasking skills to the test! In saying this, I love the fact that running my own business means doing things when I want, whether it be starting at 6am or 10pm. Just having that flexibility helps. I always make sure the kids have what they need before turning my focus to the business.

What is next?

Recent events have seen a surge in our PJs as people are spending more time at home, working from home and understanding the importance of a good night’s sleep more than ever. We have received a lot of requests to create a luxe loungewear collection…