Co-Founders, Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon
Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon, cofounders of LAKE pajamas, were friends long before they were cofounders. They shifted careers to pivot into consumer retail and have never looked back. Designing smart, everyday pajamas that are made to last, Lattimore and Cannon have filled a niche in the market for sleepwear that is equal parts beautiful and comfortable (and what woman doesn’t want that!). We had the opportunity to hear more about how they got LAKE off the ground, how they balance work and family, and how they wind down before bed.
You both were friends before starting LAKE together. Tell us a bit about how you both met one another and what your personal journey as friends has been pre-LAKE.
Cassandra: We met during college (I was at Georgia and Anne Read was at Alabama) through our then boyfriends (now husbands). Post-college, we all settled in Savannah and spent a lot of time together. I know it sounds crazy, but we always felt we should start a business together.
Anne Read: Yes, our personalities and strengths are complementary and we are both drawn to the same aesthetic. It always felt like a good fit. Over a year or so, we must have thrown out a million business ideas. Pajamas was the one that stuck!
What did you both do professionally before starting and founding this company together?
ARL: I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, and Cassandra was preparing to begin medical school, so we were definitely on different career tracks. We each had other interests though and really wanted our own businesses.
CC: I think it’s important for other women to know that it’s ok to make a career change when you know something's not right. Yes, it’s a risk, but we’re personally so thankful that we had the courage to go for it.
Tell us about day one of starting and founding LAKE. How did you find manufacturers? Fabric providers? Did you start with the vision of the “perfect pajama” and work backwards or was it more of a bottoms-up exercise?
CC: We couldn’t find what we were looking for in a pajama set, so we decided to make it! When we realized there was a need for comfortable pajamas that still feel classic and put together, we did two years of extensive research before launching LAKE.
How did you all get initial traction?
ARL: We each tapped into our personal networks early on and also relied heavily on social media to get the word out. We continue to appreciate the support of those loyal customers and friends who have been with us throughout the past five years.
How do you divide duties in terms of the business? Who owns what (e.g., design, new products, supply chain, growth metrics)?
CC: I manage product and design, and Anne Read handles operations and finances.
ARL: We are still a small business, so we both wear lots of hats. We both collaborate with our team everyday and have our hands in all projects.
I think it’s important for other women to know that it’s ok to make a career change when you know something's not right. Yes, it’s a risk, but we’re personally so thankful that we had the courage to go for it.
What is the best part of your job?
ARL: I love that each day looks different. I’m wired for structure and organization, so it’s nice to have opportunities to exercise my creative side for our brand.
CC: We truly love our work and have the opportunity to make our business and teams look the way we want them. We feel so lucky to have a great group of people working with us. I love doing projects and collaborations with other businesses, too.
You recently moved your HQ to Atlanta, as I understand it. What’s it like managing teams in different locations?
ARL: Our headquarters is in Savannah, our hometown. We have a store in Charleston and are working to open our second store in Atlanta in the next few months. We’re lucky to work with really great people in Charleston and Atlanta that make it easy, but Slack plays a big role in our connectivity and efficiency. For our small business, roles are defined, but we all work collaboratively on projects.
How do you balance motherhood and work? What advice can you give to moms trying to manage busy schedules (work or otherwise)?
CC: We stick to schedules and organize our time so that we can be fully present at work and at home. We’re able to be most productive for LAKE when we’re focused solely on business and then enjoy our time with our families at the end of the day!
Who are some inspirational founders who have influenced you both?
ARL: We’ll always say Sara Blakely— the way she’s built her company and empowers women to be our best selves is so motivating.
CC: We’re also endlessly inspired by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, and how he built his company his way and continues to stick to what he believes. He’s motivated by his values more than profits and has created his company to last. This resonates with us so deeply because we are very much building our company for longevity.
What are some design influences you’re loving for Spring/Summer?
CC: This spring we’re excited to introduce our first clothing pieces! The designs are classic and easy-to-wear - those “throw on and go” pieces you’ll reach for time and time again. For summer, we’re into fresh whites and creams that are clean and versatile, and we’ll have both pajamas and clothing that reflect this influence.
Favorite places to eat in Savannah?
ARL: The Grey
CC: Elizabeth’s on 37th
What is currently your favorite LAKE piece (We know this is hard – like picking a favorite child!)
CC: Classic Navy Pima Weekend Set— a new silhouette in our signature luxe Pima cotton
ARL: Navy Dot Modal Pants Set— I’m a big fan of our modal fabric. It’s a bit lighter than our pima but equally as soft.
Your must-have for a good night’s sleep!
CC: I need a good bedtime routine - a hot bath, followed by time to read.
ARL: And comfortable pajamas, of course!