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Big Pants could be big business

Valencia mom invents loungewear that may be the next ‘big’ thing

Posted: April 25, 2009 9:33 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Original Big Pants partners, Dean Robertson and Lorelai Dunbar of Valencia display samples of their product in Military Camo and Lazy Leopard patterns . Dunbar invented the pants which are a cross between "your favorite blanket and your most comfy PJs." The pants are one size fits all and retail for $35 per pair.

 

Trying to save a few bucks when her kids were young, Valencia’s Lorelai Dunbar not only sewed their clothes, she made them big — sometimes real big to accommodate their growing bodies and her small budget.

Pajama bottoms morphed into four-foot long, one-size-fits-all oversized loungewear with drawstrings, pockets, and colorful prints in fleece.  

“They were like a cross between your favorite blanket and your most comfy PJ’s,” Dunbar said.

Camouflage, skull and crossbones, dog bones, leopard spots — Dunbar had a pattern that appealed to every type of kid and adult.

Once family and friends caught a glimpse of Dunbar’s creations, requests came flooding in.

Just before Thanksgiving, 2006, Dunbar’s niece Bryn asked for several pairs of the pants to give as gifts. When Dunbar called Bryn to advise the pants were on the way, Bryn’s older sister Meredith intercepted the call to let Dunbar know her friends had taken to rooting through her clothes to wear her big pants.

“Do you think I could actually start a business selling these goofy pants?” Dunbar recalled asking her niece.

The answer was a resounding “yes” — and the name obvious. Original Big Pants was born in 2006.

Since then, Dunbar and business development director and fellow Valencia resident Dean Robertson have taken Big Pants to the streets, county fairs, even to television shows and local radio personalities, such as KLOS’ Mark and Brian, who have raved about the product on air.

One such interaction resulted in Original Big Pants being carried at Wild Planet, a hip shop in Ventura. The company is currently in talks with large East Coast retailers, as well as Chicago and Washington.

“It’s a natural fit,” Robertson said of the latter. “We’re going to do well in cold climates. Selling the Original Big Pants in Los Angeles are more of a challenge.

“People think it’s too hot, but it’s not. I mean, if it’s 117 degrees out, I wouldn’t put them on, but otherwise, they’re great,” Dunbar said.

“People are staying in and I think they like to have something warm, goofy, and comfy to wear. I put on my Big Pants as soon as I get home.”

While most popular for reading, playing video games and watching TV, Original Big Pants can be worn out, too.

“My daughter told me, ‘Mama, I want to wear these to the movies!’ So I added a buttonhole and strap so she could pin them up,” Dunbar said.

Handmade in Los Angeles, Original Big Pants are available in four print styles — Danger, Danger (skull and crossbones), Cupcake Confetti, Military Camo, and Lazy Leopard. They are available online at www.originalbigpants.com and retail for $35.

“We’ve done market research and comparing to long fleece sweat pants at $45 to $50, our price point is really good,” Robertson said.
It may seem hard to believe, but the huge, oversized pants truly do fit all, whether it’s Robertson’s 6’5” frame or his wife’s more petite 5’4”.

“She puts them on every night. They’re just a nice comfortable way to lounge,” he said. “We’ve made some for my boys and they love ‘em, too.”

“We call them our beta kids,” Dunbar said with a laugh.

An art major in college, Dunbar loves the graphic design element of producing Original Big Pants and dreams of designing her own fabric at her own textile mill. It’s all part of her “global domination” business plan that would simultaneously create jobs in America.

“Like the Almond Growers of California who used to say one can a week is all we ask, one pair per household is all we ask,” Dunbar said.

“Two if you’re really feeling frisky,” Robertson added.

For more information on Original Big Pants, visit www.originalbigpants.com.

 

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