We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Merrill and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, how do you think about risk?
I’m not a natural risk-taker but I think it’s a muscle that I’ve built over the years. I think the key is taking risks that are mitigated and strategic. Over time and through a series of trials and errors, it’s becoming more clear when it’s the right time to play it safe and when it’s time to double down. It’s still a learning process and likely always will be. I’ve learned that you have to be ok with some failure or you won’t take any risks and there can be no success without them.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I launched my direct-to-consumer luxury sleepwear brand, Lunya, online in 2014 to solve a problem. As a consumer myself, my problem was not having the right wardrobe to feel comfortable and confident at home. My selection consisted of my husband’s old t-shirts and frumpy pajamas. The idea for Lunya was inspired by a personal experience but as I started exploring the industry, or lack thereof, I realized that I wasn’t alone – there were many more women who related to the void I was feeling. Lunya has become a successful catalyst brand that has grown 400% YOY because we understand our guest’s needs and take action with the feedback we receive: what she’s loving, what she’s not, the gaps that we have, and how we can better design what she wants. This goes against a mainstream wholesale model where a retail buyer makes all the decisions. They’re not getting a lot of feedback on what is and isn’t working with the products, and if they are, it’s unlikely there’s a process to iterate based on that feedback. Because we stay highly attuned to her feedback, we continuously heard the demand for similar “off-hours” menswear. In 2018, we tested a men’s line and started to realize that men weren’t being spoken to enough in the balance and wellness space. So, we launched our men’s line, Lahgo, in Q4 2019. With Lahgo we discovered a huge opportunity to expand the conversation, and now we can bring comfort and confidence into the home for everyone. At Lunya and Lahgo, we’re inventing a category of clothing and completely reimagining a time of day. My theory has always been that the world is moving into more comfortable clothes. I think if you look at what technology does on a macro scale, it enables much more efficiency. It enables you to watch the best TV at home, to have food from your favorite restaurant delivered to your door, and now that we’ve gotten over a lot of communication hurdles, we’re very comfortable having our conversations over Zoom. I think working from home is going to become so much more common, and Covid-19 just accelerated the inevitable.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Eat:
Gelina for a nice meal
Cholada for incredible off the beaten path Thai food
Sunin for some amazing chicken kabab (extra garlic spread!)

Shopping:
LCD for an interesting boutique that has unique clothing
Hang out:
Will Rogers Inspiration Point trail
Winding Way waterfall trails for a good hike
Montecito and Ojai for a cute nearby town visit
Ojai Valley Inn for spa treatments

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Alli Amerine is a tenured Lunya employee who sits on the Customer Happiness team. Her dedication to our customers, Lunya and her faith in me makes me want to continually work to be worthy of her commitment.

Website: https://www.lunya.co/, https://lahgo.co/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lunya/, https://www.instagram.com/lahgo/, https://instagram.com/ashley__merrill?igshid=yhenm8z6bs0y
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleymerrill
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lunya.co, https://www.facebook.com/Lahgo-105796790813212/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMU6LqrJ2PJrHpFiEN_yQJA
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@lunyaisgoodinbed?lang=en

Image Credits
Hylah Hedgepeth

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.