If you’re anything like me, you’ve embraced this time at home by wearing all of your favorite comfy clothes day in and day out. Sure, it’s nice to slip on a pair of jeans once in a while to feel a little sense of normalcy, but when else can we literally wear our favorite loungewear pieces this often to stay as cozy as possible while working from home, homeschooling, and keeping our kids entertained?!
But even when your current go-to outfits include leggings, joggers, tees, and sweatshirts, there’s still something so soothing about changing out of your daytime ensemble into a pair of pajamas at the end of a long day. Whether you’re a lover of nightgowns or prefer a matching top and bottom set, we can all agree that the perfect PJs can help you relax like nothing else. (OK, OK, a glass of wine helps too!).
When longtime friends and busy moms, Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon, started looking for those perfect pairs of super-soft cotton pajamas in cheerful colors to add to their wardrobe, they couldn’t find exactly what they were looking for. So, they decided to team up and create their own collection with moms just like them in mind—and their company LAKE was born.
Fast forward a few years and LAKE has expanded beyond pajamas to also include classic clothing items for women, men, and kids, but their overall mission to provide the softest and most premium cotton pieces remains. Seriously, there’s a reason their PJ sets are an editor favorite here at The Everymom—they are just too good!
Keep reading to find out how Anne Read and Cassandra launched their business, how they’re working and running LAKE from home right now (while also keeping their kids busy!), and what mom hacks they’re relying on to keep everything going during this time.
Name: Anne Read Lattimore, LAKE Cofounder
Current Location: Savannah, Georgia
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The University of Alabama
Children: Elizabeth, 6, and William, 4
Name: Cassandra Cannon, LAKE Cofounder
Current Location: Savannah, Georgia
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Psychology from The University of Georgia
Children: Finn, 5, Mary Pierce, 3, and Jude, 1
To start, how did you first meet one another?
Cassandra: We met during college (I was at Georgia and Anne Read was at Alabama) through our then boyfriends (now husbands). Post-college, we all settled in Savannah, Georgia and spent a lot of time together. There were a lot of nights drinking wine on Anne Read’s sofa thinking up business ideas.
You’re now the cofounders of the clothing brand, LAKE. Why did you want to start a company together?
Anne Read: Our personalities and strengths are complementary, and we are both drawn to the same aesthetic. We each had interest in starting our own business, and it felt like a good fit (and it is!). Over the course of a year or so, we threw out a dozen business ideas. Pajamas was the one that stuck!
How did you decide on the name LAKE for your brand? What is its meaning?
Cassandra: We didn’t want something too literal here. We wanted something that evoked a feeling of calm and relaxation. Anne Read came up with LAKE, and it seemed to check all the boxes.
Tell us about getting the business off the ground—what challenges did you face together while starting your company? How did you overcome them?
Anne Read: In the beginning, everything is a challenge. Unfortunately, there’s no playbook for starting a business. It would certainly make things easier if there was. We very much relied on our gut instinct to navigate the early days.
Why did you choose to start with creating and selling pajamas?
Cassandra: We couldn’t find what we were looking for in a pajama set, so we decided to make it! We realized there was a need for comfortable pajamas that still feel classic and put-together. We focus on sourcing the softest fabrics we can find and designing simple silhouettes that are easy to wear.
Tell us about your respective roles within the company today.
Anne Read: Cassandra manages product and design, and I handle operations and finances. We are a small business, so we both have our hands in a lot of areas. We have a great internal team and all work very collaboratively.
Since you launched, the company has expanded past pajamas and you now create clothing for women, men, and kids! Why did you decide to expand to these areas and how did you choose which new products you wanted to bring to LAKE?
Cassandra: While pajamas are the core of our business, we recognize that there are other casual moments of your life that require getting dressed. We decided we wanted to meet our customer in these moments.
Savannah is a casual city, so we naturally gravitate toward easy pieces that can be thrown on and worn to many different places. We always start by asking ourselves what we want to have in our own closets that we cannot find anywhere else. For spring, we designed easy Breton Dresses that can be worn around the house, to the store, or lunch with friends. We also feel that it’s important that every piece we make fits into the rest of your closet and will be something you will keep for years to come, which is why we stick to a classic aesthetic.
You also recently expanded your brand offline and opened your first brick-and-mortar store—why did you want to make that move?
Anne Read: We wanted to give customers more ways to experience the brand. There’s no substitute for feeling the softness of our fabrics in person. And we were also looking for a deeper customer connection in key markets. Our Charleston store opened in 2018, and we’re excited about opening a store in Atlanta this year.
What are the biggest challenges of owning your own company? What are the greatest rewards?
Cassandra: The biggest challenges come down to navigating uncharted territory since this is the first time either Anne Read or I have owned our own business. It’s been such a learning experience in how to define roles, communicate to our team, and balance work with our families, for example. With that being said, everything has been worth the effort since we get to decide what our days look like and who we work with. We genuinely love what we do and everyone on our team.
What advice would you give to other women hoping to start their own business?
Anne Read: Start small, seek guidance from others, and constantly evaluate where you are and where you want to be.
What’s next for LAKE?
Cassandra: We’re continuing to work on new styles for women and expanding our men’s options. We’re opening our second brick and mortar store in Atlanta this year and hope to continue opening more stores in the future. Also, we’re working on building out our internal team.
In addition to running LAKE, you’re both moms! Tell us a bit about your families.
Anne Read: Yes, we are! When we started LAKE, we each had babies under age 1. And here we are five years later, and there are five kids between us. Having families has shaped every part of our lives and our business, and it’s such an important part of LAKE’s story.
How do you juggle being a mom and owning a company? Do you have any advice for other working moms out there trying to balance it all?
Cassandra: Try to organize your time. We’ve gone through phases of working while we were home with kids, and it always felt like we couldn’t give our work or our kids 100 percent. I am much happier when I can block off periods of my day to get my work done so I can be present with my kids during my free time.
Can you walk us through your daily routine?
Anne Read: Life, in general, is really strange these days, and work-life is no exception. My husband and I are both working at home right now with the kids here, so a work-life balance is pretty difficult.
Under normal circumstances, both kids are in school during the week. We are seeing that there are silver linings during self-isolation though, like lots of family time and forced flexibility throughout the day. I typically wake up around 7:30am and have coffee (followed by more coffee) first thing. The kids’ wake-up times are all over the place these days–sometimes it’s 7:30, sometimes 8:30am.
My husband makes everyone breakfast, and I typically settle in and start knocking out emails around 8:30am. My daughter has a Zoom call with her class every day at 9:30am, followed by some school work. Then, the kids spend the rest of the morning playing outside together. We’re thankful the weather has been so nice lately. My work desk is currently my dining room table, but my laptop is pretty much attached to me all day–in the kitchen, in the backyard. I try to make myself available to the team each day during normal working hours, so they aren’t waiting for feedback.
Lunch is nothing glamorous–just whatever is quick and easy. If I get a work-out in, it’s either a Peloton ride or an afternoon walk. Cocktail hour comes early at our house these days—4pm usually finds me with what I’m calling a “quarantine margarita” in hand. We take a golf cart ride and let the kids ride their bikes around the neighborhood late afternoon. Then, we cook dinner and eat as a family around 6:30pm.
Lately, we’ve been playing games after dinner. My daughter dominates at Uno. Then, it’s on to baths, books, and bedtime. Kids are in bed by 8pm, and I’m in bed by 10pm.
Cassandra: Since my husband and I are both working from home with our kids, it has been a challenge to juggle everything. I’ve figured out that I need to rearrange my schedule so that I can find blocks of time to work and blocks of time to play with the kids.
During the day, my husband and I alternate taking care of the kids so we can each knock out our to-do lists. I wake up around 7am and immediately try to get as much work done while my kids are waking up and watching cartoons. Every day at 9am, my oldest son has a Zoom meeting with his class. Then, we blow up the bouncy house and let the kids play outside together before we go on a family walk/scooter ride at 11am.
At noon, we feed the kids lunch and get them ready for their naps at 1pm. My oldest doesn’t take a nap, so this is when he does homework and plays with toys while my husband and I try to get more work done. Around 4:30pm, my husband will take the kids on a golf cart ride while I do a quick workout or clean up the house and cook dinner. We all eat around 6pm together, then we bathe the kids, read books, and start bedtime at 7pm.
After the kids go to bed, I work a little more before I get in the bed at 10pm to read. Some days are completely chaotic and off-schedule, but I have loved being able to slow down and spend more time with my family.
Can you share with us a few mom hacks you find helpful in your daily life?
1. I write down everything in a notebook. Mom brain is absolutely a thing.
2. Find a reliable cookbook that you love. Once you have a family, so much time is spent spinning your wheels about what to eat. My go-to is The Defined Dish.
3. Automate your life where you can. Amazon subscriptions are a big help.
4. At the end of a long day, wine helps.
1. Meal prep at the start of each week. I roast a bunch of veggies, cook a batch of quinoa, lentils, or chicken. That way, I can always throw a healthy dinner together quickly and save time on washing a bunch of dishes every night.
3. Find a quick online workout you can do at home. Recently, I’ve been doing Beachbody’s Barre Blend. I also love Tracy Anderson.
Anne Read Lattimore is The Everymom…
Go-to coffee order? Grande Flat White with a Splenda (and yes, I know)
Last book you read? Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Best mom advice you’ve ever been given? Babies don’t keep
Dream vacation spot? Harbour Island
Favorite family activity? Going out on the boat
Last item you splurged on? White linen pants for summer
Most embarrassing mom moment? I’m not sure what I was doing exactly, but my 6-year-old looked at me the other day and said, “Mom, that’s so embarrassing.” And just like that, I had a glimpse of the teenage years.
Cassandra Cannon is The Everymom…
Favorite Lake piece to wear? Our Pima weekend shorts set in classic navy
Go-to coffee order? Half sweet citrus black iced tea from Whole Foods
Last book you read? Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
Best mom advice you’ve ever been given? Sleep when the baby sleeps
Dream vacation spot? Amangiri
Favorite family activity? Going to the beach
Last item you splurged on? Some skincare items
Most embarrassing mom moment? All the times I’ve leaked breast milk through my shirt while out in public.