In the late 1980s I had retired from my fashion career when I found myself pregnant with my second child. My first daughter was turning 17 and soon would be off to college. I was out of practice and totally out of control. So even though I changed the baby 6 times a day, I would be in the same big t-shirt at 5 pm that I woke up in at 5 am (pulling it down as modestly as I could to answer the door). It was then I decided I needed something fun, fashionable and most of all comfortable to get caught in by the UPS man.
My favorite cozy and stretchable fabric had always been interlock. So with a roll of giant cabbage rose printed knit interlock, using my husband’s oversize pjs as a pattern, the “Boyfriend” pajama was born. Over the next few years my neighbors got used to seeing me in a parade of whimsical prints everywhere from my kitchen, to front yard, and even the pre-school parking lot. They all wanted a pair!
Supported by my girlfriends, I made a trip to Nordstrom to pitch my all-day sleepwear concept and my huggable pjs. Being Moms themselves, the buyers loved the idea and Nordstrom became my first customer.
In 1996 when Oprah was being credited for the new bookclub craze, I felt books and PJs belonged together, and sent her a pair. Oprah fell in love with the forgiving, stretchable fit and cozy comfort. Oprah called me herself, and asked for designs for her best girlfriends for Christmas. Never shying away from opportunity, I asked if she could wear them on her show. Laughing at me….. she declined. About two weeks passed and one of Oprah’s producers called to tell me Oprah had reconsidered my idea. What idea?…I asked. Oprah had created a new show for Christmas, OPRAH’s FAVORITE THINGS. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Oprah practically did an hour long info-mercial wearing her Karen Neuburger Pajamas, and putting me and her entire audience in KN sleepwear. The rest is history.
Appearing over a dozen times on Oprah, as well as The View, GMA, and dozens of other shows, KN pajamas and Pajama Parties gave birth to the all-day sleepwear revolution. Designs such as coffee cups, ice cream sundaes, running veggies became big hits. Girlfriend support inspired KN Breast Cancer pjs in 1997 before the topic was cool or even discussed openly. During the 2004 Presidential election, women marched in their “get out of bed and vote” pjs down Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and in 2006 we hosted the world’s largest pj party at the PLAZA HOTEL in NYC, with thousands of women in their KN’s. We even hosted a pj party at 30,000 feet while flying 200 girlfriends to Las Vegas.
Over the years the KN collection grew to include shirts, gowns, robes, socks, separates, loungewear panties and camisoles. Mommy and Me and even the family dog can now wear Karen Neuburger’s. Or as Oprah says “My Neuburger’s”.