Mother-daughter duo Debra Schoenau and Rachel Schoenau Doneger are the team behind Polkadot England, a women and children’s lounge and sleepwear brand that does private label for retail store Relax Hampton in Sag Harbor. Debra launched the brand in 2008, and it quickly developed a cult following.
Her daughter, Rachel, joined two years ago. The brand has found success growing partnerships with retailers like LoveShackFancy and Stoney Clover Lane, both of which have locations on the East End.
Loungewear has become increasingly popular and their following has grown with customers spending more time at home due to COVID-19. The team was able to ramp up its e-commerce to keep up with the demand.
“I’m inspired by beauty in all forms, then I do my best to translate that to my designs. If I come across a beautiful flower that stands out to me, I try to incorporate it in a way that makes sense on a garment,” says Debra, who began her career in the fashion industry as a buyer for the department store Bonwit Teller.
Polkadot England offers feminine and soft pajamas, with the goal of bringing customers comfort at home. All products are manufactured in the English countryside. It’s the intricate details that make the brand unique.
One thing the duo recognized is that kids love to match their moms, so they’ve provided customers with mother-daughter and mother-son sets.
“I closely follow trends in ready-to-wear and then thoughtfully translate them to loungewear/sleepwear. Moreover, the intention with my collections is that they are classic, wearable, and understandable. I’m not trying to be the most creative designer, I just want my customers to feel comfortable, pretty, and cozy,” Debra continues.
Rachel, who serves as the company’s CEO, started her career in finance and spent time working on Wall Street. “When I got married and was close to having a child, I decided that I wanted a change and felt I could help take the brand to the next level with my business experience and a millennial perspective,” she says. “In 2018 we rebranded as a mother-daughter team.”
“We love working together,” Rachel continues. “We have a very close mother-daughter relationship, so it’s been interesting to see it grow professionally. We handle different things for the business but always bounce ideas off each other. We have different strengths and personalities that complement each other nicely.”
The company is committed to donating a portion of sales to charities close to their hearts, alternating between causes. Organizations include CDC’s Emergency Response Fund, YourMomCares, River Fund and The Retreat. They have also started creating face masks and have hired freelancers who were out of work.
On the East End you can find the mother-daughter duo doing some of their favorite things: enjoying tennis, walking around Sag Harbor town, backyard BBQs with family, enjoying beach walks, and dining at Tutto Il Giorno in Sag Harbor.