P.J. Salvage


Peter Burke


COMFORTABLE & CONTEMPORARY: In addition to the P.J. Salvage collection of sleepwear, intimates and loungewear, the company recently added home items such as pillows, blankets, mugs and journals in a holiday in-store display at Nordstrom.

For the past 17 years, Peter Burke has been encouraging people to get comfortable. Now the chief executive officer of Irvine, Calif.–based sleepwear, intimates and lifestyle brand P.J. Salvage is making plans for the brand to spread out.

The company has been expanding, opening new markets and new divisions. But one thing remains consistent: a focus on comfort.

For Holiday the company will launch a menswear line in the United States, following an initial launch in Europe and Australia. The men’s line includes sleep pants, shorts, T-shirts, track pants and sweat tops.

The P.J. Salvage home collection debuted last Holiday. A younger line, Cozy Zoe, launched in Nordstrom a little more than a year ago, and the company is currently seeking licensing partners to expand into categories such as swimwear, bedding, soft footwear, candles, bags, and other home and gift items. “Wherever we think there’s opportunity—as long as it makes sense,” Burke said. “It has to be the correct product, and it has to be lifestyle.”

A two-year push to expand internationally has put P.J. Salvage in retail stores in 20 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Plans are underway to expand to South and Central America over the next year.

“The world is small; you have to be international,” Burke said.

The company also launched its P.J. Luxe brand two years ago with an upscale loungewear collection featuring sophisticated prints and luxury fabrics such as silk and MicroModal.

There is a long-standing childrenswear collection, which features styles for toddlers through kids’ sizes, and the company produces a few other brands for different levels of distribution, Burke said.

But at the core of all this expansion is P.J. Salvage. Burke acquired the contemporary sleepwear collection in its second year. “We took it under our wing and added new product categories and turned it into a real lifestyle brand,” he said.

Today the contemporary lifestyle brand makes loungewear, sleepwear and intimates as well as product that crosses from the home to the street. The collection includes cotton and flannel sleepwear in cute, conversational prints, ultra-soft knits, fleece pieces, sweaters, socks, sweat shirts, thermals, robes and track pants. The company also runs a basics program in each season that features a cami, tee, tank, chemise, short, pant and robe in black and gray, as well as three fashion colors added each season to coordinate back to the core collection.

Styles feature original artwork, which is all created in-house. Some feature Lily, a French bulldog and the brand’s official mascot. (She has a blog on the company’s website at The P.J. Salvage prints carry through to the home collection, where they appear on items such as pillows, throws, mugs and journals. “There’s so much you can do with prints,” Burke said.

Early on, Burke said, the company made a decision to keep P.J. Salvage targeted to the contemporary consumer. “We follow trends and adapt to our market,” he said. “And we found big growth in lifestyle crossover.”

The line sells in about 1,800 specialty boutiques worldwide, as well as majors such as Bloomingdale’s, Von Maur, Selfridges, David Jones, Galeries Lafayette, Isetan, Brown Thomas, Karstad and Nordstrom, which has carried the line for 16 years. “We’ve created a cult following, which is very important to us,” Burke said. The company also does “a nice business” with spas and hotels.

The company does maintain an e-commerce site, but Burke sees it as a brand-building tool rather than another avenue of distribution.

“It’s really a service for our overseas clients and consumers,” he said.

The collections are produced in China, Cambodia and Indonesia, but the design, development and shipping are done in P.J. Salvage’s airy, open-plan, 62,000-square-foot headquarters in Irvine, which has been the company’s home for the last 18 months. P.J. Salvage also maintains an office in Ningbo, China.

Going forward, the company will continue its push overseas and into new licensed product categories. Burke also said he’s considering expanding the company through acquisition.

“We’re always on the lookout for opportunities that don’t duplicate our core product,” he said. “It’s not swapping dollars. We are a sportswear company that produces lifestyle product.”