Courtney Kates Garcia is on a one-woman crusade to upgrade your sleepwear situation. No more holey concert tees from that embarrassing band, no more University of Wherever sweatpants. It’s time to upgrade. As the president, founder, designer and everything-er for contemporary sleepwear brand Maison Du Soir, Courtney is determined to have women feeling, looking and – most importantly – sleeping their best, simply by slipping on a few pieces that you’ll keep for decades to come.
The best part of Maison Du Soir sets? How easily they can transition from morning to noon to night, in and out of bed. Exhibit A: see below, in the serene setting of Minneapolis hotel, café, and restaurant, Alma.
We talked to Courtney about why she started Maison Du Soir, the hole she saw in the sleepwear market and how she unwinds after a long day. (Hint: The Bachelorette, the beach and Band-Aids are sometimes involved.)
What was your life like before launching Maison Du Soir?
For most of my life, I was a ballerina. In my twenties, I was living in New York and training with the Joffrey Ballet. When I moved back to California, I started working for a corporation in action sports. I stayed in that industry for 10 years working in merchandising and design and climbed the corporate ladder. In my last two years, I was helping one of the largest companies in action sports launch new brands. I moonlighted Maison Du Soir for one year and then finally took the leap and committed full-time to growing my brand. I’ve been in business now for almost five years.
The ratty shirts, the college sweatpants, the ex-boyfriend’s tee. Considering we spend a third of our lives in bed, why do you think sleepwear gets the shaft in people’s wardrobes?
I didn’t get it either until I splurged on my first nice set of sleepwear. The way it made me feel changed my entire point of view. I felt so much better and I slept so much better that it prompted me to start my collection. I think sleepwear gets the shaft because people think if other people don’t see me in it, I don’t need to spend the money. The best comparison I have is 10 years ago nobody saw the point in working out in a $100 pair of Lululemon leggings when their ratty tees and sweats worked just fine. Until they did.
“Since when did pink plaid with bows and flannel cat pajamas become the sleepwear standard?”
Once you upgrade your pajama game, it’s inevitable: you feel better, look better and sleep better. What drew you to designing sleepwear?
This is exactly the reason. I bought my first set of quality sleepwear and it changed my whole perspective on what I had been wearing to bed. I decided it was important to treat myself better so I set out to find more sleepwear sets and was shocked at how dated the sleepwear offerings were. I couldn’t find anything that was modern. Very few of the brands seemed to be paying attention to what we were wearing during the day and since when did pink plaid with bows and flannel cat pajamas become the sleepwear standard? I want to have a chat with the person who decided that!
All of your designs are made in America. Why is that important to you and how did you make that happen?
It’s important for me to keep a close eye on production and be involved in every stage of the process. So many people helped me along the way in my earlier years, many of them small family businesses, and nothing makes me happier than to be giving back to my vendors.
Tell us about your design process. Do you have any rituals: coffee, music, time of day?
If only it was that glamorous. It’s combo of middle-of-the-night inspiration, way too much caffeine, wanting to jump out of the window with excitement after discovering my newest print and then 10 minutes later sobbing in my car on the ride home because I’m terrified that everybody else isn’t going like my crazy ideas.
What inspires you – magazines, travel, nature, etc.?
Inspiration comes from everywhere and it’s ever-changing. It’s the nature of having a creative mind. Sometimes it’s just instinct, sometimes it’s travel, a movie, runway or something as simple as seeing someone fabulous walking down the street.
“Sometimes it’s inspiring and glamorous and sometimes I’m putting Band-aids on from cutting myself from shipping boxes.”
Walk us through what a typical workday looks like for you.
I’m up by 6:00 a.m. most days and I try to meditate every day. It’s really helped with the stress and anxiety of having your own business. Every day looks different because I have my hands in every single thing. Some days I’m packing orders in the warehouse that I like to call the “Turkish Prison,” some days I’m designing, some days I’m meeting with vendors, some days I’m on the beach with my husband because I need a break. Sometimes it’s inspiring and glamorous and sometimes I’m putting Band-Aids on from cutting myself from shipping boxes.
Say you’re about to call it a day and pull on your own pajamas. What’s your ideal way to wind down at night?
Right now, with the warm weather, I’m living in the Portofino/Jane set. I love to cook dinner and have wine with my husband. (Unless he’s gone, then you can find me binge-watching The Bachelorette.)
How does your environment – living in LA, having a Spanish husband – influence your designs?
Living in LA and at the center of fashion helps me keep the brand where I started it out to be: relevant and a seamless transition from day to night. My amazing Spanish husband – I couldn’t do any of this without him, so his influence is everywhere. But aesthetically speaking, the brand has always been European inspired. There’s a piece of me (and us) that will always have our hearts in Europe and hopefully soon, a part-time home in Spain as well.
What’s next for Maison Du Soir?
A new collection that’s going to knock your socks off! We’re working on some incredible new pieces that I’m obsessed with. The next two seasons are by far the best work we’ve ever done and I couldn’t be more proud.
top row: Laguna Romper // Peony Short in New White // Sophia Blouse in Blush // middle row: Lola Short in Blush // Isabella Robe in Black Floral // Oui tee // bottom row: Jane Short in Light Blue // Florence Robe in Light Heather
Megan is a writer, editor, etc.-er who muses about life, design and travel for Domino, Lonny, Hunker and more. Her life rules include, but are not limited to: zipper when merging, tip in cash and contribute to your IRA. Be a pal and subscribe to her newsletter Night Vision or follow her on Instagram.
BY Megan McCarty - August 30, 2017
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.