Papinelle founder, Renae James, talks to female founder series Lady-Brains
about building a global sleepwear brand from its beginnings in the local Sunday markets.


Imagine you’ve been in business for over a decade and you’re still on the edge of success. Would you give up?  

This is what Renae James, founder of Papinelle Sleepwear, experienced in her first 12 years in business, but she’s still here to tell the tale. Renae started Papinelle in 2003 selling her PJ designs from the stalls of Paddington Markets in Sydney. When her collections started selling out each week, she took a leap of faith and got a $9K bank loan to move from the stalls to something bigger.  

Fast forward to now and Papinelle is on every street corner in the US and she’s considering establishing a team there. Papinelle is a story of slow growth over a long period of time. This is a story for anyone that isn’t sure if they’re going to make it or that’s feeling stuck.

You’ll learn: 

  • How she started the brand with a $9000 bank loan, and why she’s never taken on external money since then 

  • How it took Renae 12 years to make good money in her business, and how she found the courage to never give up 

  • How Renae manages the design and production of 12 collections each year  

  • How Renae met her now-business-partner Nicole back in 2004, and why she brought her into the business 15 years later to help take the brand to the next level 

  • The big mistake Renae made saying yes to a huge order that she wasn’t set up to fulfil, and what she learned about saying no to opportunities before you’re ready 

  • Plus, that mic drop moment from Forbes

Papinelle founder, Renae James (centre) with Lady-Brains co-founders Anna Mackenzie (left) and Caitlin Judd (right)

Listen to the episode on the LADY-BRAINS podcast HERE <3