Renee Claire grew up in a small town in southern Ontario, Canada called Amherstburg. She spent time in the cold winters sewing clothes for herself in the basement, honing her sense of color, pattern and cloth and dreaming of being a clothing designer, living the California lifestyle as seen in photographs and on television.
In 1981, after college, Renee decided to load up her van with her few possessions and head to Los Angeles where she waited on tables in numerous restaurants by night, designing her dress and outwear collection by day. In the late 90's public interest in dresses declined and was replaced by sportswear and as Renee was delivering what she considered to possibly be her last collection of dresses to a local retailer, she saw a pair of pajamas in the window of the boutique and thought, "I could top that!". After scouring the marketplace she quickly realized that the current pajama offerings lacked sophistication and fine tailoring. She quickly learned how to make her own colored and patterned cotton textiles. As a consequence, BedHead was born!
Within three years the company was producing over 50,000 pairs of pajamas, all locally cut and sewn, culminating today in over 70 jobs and counting. The collection is in-house designed by Renee each season. BedHead is currently sold in over 1,500 boutiques worldwide, numerous department stores including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom's, on the BedHead website, and in the BedHead store in West Hollywood. Renee lives in Los Angeles with her husband, painter, Lavi Daniel (http://lavidaniel.com/
) and her stepson Kelan.
Pajamas With a Purpose: Project Esperanza
BedHead begins a journey for a cause
Like all great collaborations at Esperanza our connection with BedHead Pajamas started with a personal relationship. Both companies are creatively driven by progressive intent and are women-powered organizations. Aside from that, what does the production of luxury sleepwear for an elite market have to do with our community-based organization?
Renee Claire Bertrand, owner of BedHead Pajamas is a clothing designer who was working as a waitress for many years to support her art of dress and coat design. In 1999, manufacturing custom pieces from her own apartment, she began to create a line of well-designed pajamas with specially screened cotton prints. Through ingenious marketing and excellent utilization of television product placement and internet sales over the years, BedHead has become a highly successful Los Angeles-based production house.
Working together with Esperanza, a community program
A grassroots organization born in the heart of Figueroa Corridor, Esperanza has been developing programs that address its community’s well-being for more than eighteen years. Many of Esperanza's community members are hard working folks who toil in one or more jobs in the garment industry. Figueroa Corridor is a neighborhood where garment sweatshops are more familiar operations than shops selling healthy foods. Although not a natural market for high-end pajamas, through the social relationship between two women, BedHead’s Renee and Esperanza’s Nancy Ibrahim, a unique type of partnering was created.
One of Renee’s most remarkable virtues is her commitment to quality wages for quality work. Whenever BedHead has a job opening, the position is posted with Esperanza, offering an excellent employment opportunity, superb working conditions, great wages and benefits. But BedHead also shares the wealth in other ways. Starting with a fundraising garden party in 2006 BedHead Pajamas has been donating a percentage of its proceeds to Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.
Purchase a PJ and 20% of the purchase is donated to Esperanza
As of the launching of this website, BedHead Pajamas is dedicating a portion of internet sales on three different pajama designs to support the community-based work of Esperanza. For every pair of pajamas sold in each of three different designs, 20% of the purchase price will be donated to Esperanza Community Housing Corporation. Thank you, Renee and BedHead Pajamas for your generous partnering with Esperanza in support of the Figueroa Corridor community and for your sterling example as a garment manufacturer.
If you are interested in a creative fundraising event to support Esperanza, please contact:
Esperanza Community Housing Corporation (213) 748-7285
To learn more about Esperanza and to Share News and Stories, please visit: http://www.esperanzacommunityhousing.org/images/spring%20newsletter.pdf