Alumni Spotlight Business & Economy

Cassandra Cannon: The Pajama Game

Cassandra Cannon, pictured here at the Savannah headquarters of Lake Pajamas, co-founded the company with a close friend when they were new mothers and wanted lounging clothes with style (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA).

When Cassandra Cannon was a new mother, she and her friend, Anne Read Lattimore, decided to start a pajama company.

Both women were spending a lot of time at home with their babies, and they wanted something to wear that was more comfortable but also a little nicer looking than the oversized T-shirts and boxer shorts they often wore around the house.

“All of the pajamas we saw were either the traditional, button down, boxy menswear style or lingerie inspired. We wanted something more comfortable and put together,” says Cannon BS ’08.

Inspiration hit one day when the two women noticed their infants’ clothes were incredibly soft. “We saw that our babies wore mostly Pima cotton, and we realized it is the softest thing ever and we should make pajamas out of this for adults,” says Cannon.

Two years later, after extensive research, Lake Pajamas launched in 2014. The founders’ idea was to make very soft pajamas with a classic American style and a nautical look. Today, the company is thriving, with its headquarters in Savannah and storefronts in Atlanta and Charleston, South Carolina.

Born and raised in Savannah, Cannon attended the University of Georgia where she majored in biology and psychology, with a tentative plan to go to medical school.

But then she had second thoughts.

Back in Savannah she tried a few other options: an anesthesia assistant graduate program and a year of art classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Then she did clerical work for her parents’ industrial contracting business.

In her mid-20s, she decided to apply for medical school and was accepted at Mercer University.

At the same time, she began talking to Anne Read about starting a business. Being a new parent made her realize med school wasn’t the best option now. So, she took a leap of faith in her entrepreneurial skills and started a business with Lattimore.

We had a product, and we knew our audience, and we were making it for them.” — Cassandra Cannon BS ’08, co-founder of Lake Pajamas

In the beginning, Cannon and Lattimore didn’t really know how to make clothing. “It’s crazy looking back how we made it all happen. We searched online for suppliers, drawing the designs on paper. We were scrappy that way,” says Cannon.

Cannon provides the creative vision for Lake Pajamas, and Lattimore handles the business side, though during the first four years they each did a little bit of everything, working together from home with their kids running around them. Now they have an office in Savannah with close to 70 employees.

One key to the company’s success is being savvy on social media. “Instagram was fairly new when we started, and it allowed us to connect to an audience inexpensively,” Cannon says. Lake Pajamas has worked with a few influencers, and the company’s pajamas have been seen on celebrities including Jennifer Garner and Jenna Bush Hager.

Lake Pajamas has expanded its clothing line to include dresses, pajamas, men’s robes, and clothes for kids. Cannon, who is married to UGA alumnus Pierce Cannon BSFCS ’06, now has four kids under 10, and she said they wear the pajamas as do some of their friends.

Cannon says filling a specific niche was also a big part of the company’s success. “We had a product, and we knew our audience, and we were making it for them. It grew organically by word of mouth in a way we didn’t expect.”