Face2face Interview with Catarina Dahlin of Dagsmejan
Co-founder & MD
Started Dagsmejan to disrupt sleepwear market
Switzerland based Dagsmejan uses natural fibres with intelligent qualities to make high performance sleepwear. Dagsmejan is a Swedish word that refers to the last days of winter when the warmth of the sunshine melts the snow even when the temperature is still below zero. Company co-founder and managing director Catarina Dahlin shares details of developing the ideal sleepwear with Hiral Oza and sheds more light on the future potential of this industry.
Tell us about the inception of Dagsmejan, its founders. What is its USP?
The two founders look back on long international careers in the corporate world with work assignments stretching across several continents asking for intensive travel. That's why we started a long time ago to think about strategies to help us maintain high performance and creativity coping with the demands of our work style. In addition to strategies addressing 'performance mindset', 'movement' and 'nutrition', we identified 'sleep' as the most important pillar for this, and started to optimise our sleep routines with new techniques, and we tried out a lot.
But ultimately the inspiration for 'high performance sleepwear' came from our passion for sports and the increasingly sophisticated sportswear we were using. Nowadays, practically every indoor and outdoor sport discipline is equipped with sportswear that optimally matches the specific functional requirements of the individual discipline. In mountaineering, for example, we normally wear three layers, each layer serving a specific purpose, and all layers are perfectly aligned with each other; for marathon running we use technical fibres with integrated ventilation zones, which optimally dissipate moisture. In swimming, we have witnessed how innovative textiles led to the tumbling of practically every world record in recent years.
Now let's visualise our sleeping system: we buy beds, mattresses, toppers, blankets, pillows, bed linen, sleepwear at different places, none of those parts and layers are reinforcing each other, and with regards to the layer we are wearing directly on the skin: we have hardly seen any innovation in the last 50 years.
That's why we started Dagsmejan - to disrupt the sleepwear market and to bring innovation that helps improve sleep and life quality.
The products are unique through the combination of high-tech textile engineering using natural fibres and a body-mapping knitting structure optimised for the function of sleep. The result is a new range of sleepwear where function and form truly meet.
How big is the market for sleepwear? What factors are driving the growth of this segment?
The total estimated revenue for sleepwear in the 10 largest European markets is approximately €1.4 billion whereof € 379 million are sold online. The total market for sleepwear worldwide is nearly €4 billion with a moderate annual growth of 3-5 per cent. However, we position ourselves more as a wellness company rather than a textile-only company. As sleep disorder is one of the major health problems in the industrial world and is rising, the market for sleep-related services is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13 per cent over the next five years, according to Persistence Market Research (PMR).
We see five factors driving the growth of this segment: sleep, wellness, athleisure, sustainability and online retail.
Sleep is among the top five self-identified health problems today and is rising with the 'alwayson' lifestyle of people. Sound sleep is extremely essential for good health. There is a huge boom in wellness products and services. Informed consumers are opting for prevention over cure and ready to invest in their well-being.
The explosion of sub-categories like athleisure and within that, the rise of multi-purpose clothing, whose global sales is predicted to reach $83 billion by 2020, highlights how retailers are evolving into lifestyle brands. Consumers want to connect with brands with positive social and environmental impact. This is indicated by a strong growth in organic textiles that are expected to grow by 15-20 per cent per annum.
Clothing is the fastest growing category in online retail. By 2018, it is expected that three-fourths of all consumers will buy garments online.
What kind of research went into developing this 21st century sleepwear?
At the core of the development of the Dagsmejan sleepwear was a multi-disciplined research programme, sponsored by the Swiss National Fund, bringing together material scientists from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), textile engineers from the University of Lucerne and sleep research experts from University of Stockholm.
Research is focused on understanding the following:
- How temperature and moisture influence sleep quality and how changes in the sleep ecosystem (the sleeping cave) influence those parameters.
- When and how we move during night and how a sleep ecosystem must be designed for optimal support to those body movements.
- Alternative knitting structures for desired support of vital functions in different zones, for example, moisture transport, breathability and temperature control.
- Alternative fabrics and finishing techniques for desired vital functions, based on the fundamental principle that we want to use natural fibres, which in our definition also includes man-made natural fibres.