By Maria Jose Subiria
When one of Lesley Hatfield's friends complained that menopause was causing her to sweat heavily at night, and she had trouble sleeping, both wondered if there was anything that could bring relief.
"I told her there must be a company that makes special pajamas, but if there's not, we'll make a company and call it NiteSweatz," Hatfield told students in a Women in Leadership class at Clayton State University Tuesday.
The 38-year-old businesswoman, who calls herself a "mompreneur," set out to find a solution. She began in 2003, putting together an apparel line for women and called it NiteSweatz.
The material used by NiteSweatz absorbs moisture and quickly dries, Hatfield said.
"The fabric is made of poly, an oil- and rubber-based product," she said. "When they're weaving it, it acts like a natural fabric. It's like Under Armour, but it dries five times faster, and it evaporates so quickly."
The NiteSweatz line includes sleep wear and clothing that can be worn daily. The average retail price for a two-piece set is $100.
NiteSweatz has been featured three times in O, The Oprah Magazine. "The article was entitled 'What not to wear under there,'" said Hatfield.
Hatfield said she wants to expand her clothing line.
"The next step for us is [a] men's line, Cool Knights," said Hatfield. "It's just night apparel, but we haven't launched it yet."
Originally from Middletown, Ohio, Hatfield learned her entrepreneurial skills from her mother. She is the daughter of a single parent who raised her and two other children.
Early on, Hatfield had an itch for shopping, and her mother couldn't afford to buy her most of the items she wanted, so she taught her an early lesson of supply and demand.
"My mom gave me enough money to buy taffy, so I could sell it," she told the students. "With my earnings, I had to pay her back, but had to have enough money for profit."
Hatfield graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology in 1993. She moved to Alpharetta in 1994. "I wanted to be here for the [1996 Summer] Olympics," said Hatfield.
Hatfield's speech is the result of her connection to Margaret Thompson, an assistant professor of management at Clayton State University who created the Women in Leadership class in the fall 2006.
Thompson met Hatfield at a Clayton County Chamber of Commerce luncheon in 2007, and wanted her to share her road to success with Clayton State students.
"We all need to look at women as valuable assets," said Thompson. "She's young and creative."