On November 4, 2008, Nick and Janessa Whatcott held their newborn son Cole not knowing that in just six short days his death would lead to a spark of inspiration for a unique pajama company that would benefit children in need.
Although he appeared a perfect, beautiful baby, Cole was born with a blockage in his aortic arch, which had been blocking the blood flow to his brain and left side of his body, causing irreparable damage.
“After Cole passed away we thought about all the things that he was going to miss out on, and we wanted to do something that would give back to another child,” says Janessa Whatcott, founder of Sugar Doodle Kids.
After researching their options for giving back, the Whatcotts settled on fighting child hunger – an issue that affects children all over the world, but also hits close to home in Utah and often goes unnoticed.
“Hunger is one of the biggest problems children face when they’re young,” says Whatcott. “They can’t focus in school, they can’t even go to school, and they just have tons of problems as far as their jump start in life. So we wanted to figure out a way that we could help children succeed right from the start.”
The Whatcotts and Sugar Doodle Kids have teamed up locally with the Utah Food Bank’s BackPack Program – a program that loads children’s backpacks with nonperishable food items at the end of every school week in hopes that it will see them through the weekend.
“When they come to school, that’s the only meal they have,” says Whatcott. “Then on the weekend they have to fend for themselves. We have a problem locally, and we’re obligated to help out because this is our home.”
Another unique aspect of these pajamas is the design. The brand holds contests where adults and children can submit their design ideas, and then the public votes on their favorite via the company’s website or Facebook page. The winning design is then featured on a new pair of pajamas.
“Every child loves pajamas, and I think that’s something they can connect to and appreciate more,” Whatcott says. “When one child is going to bed in a pair of pajamas that another child designed, another child is going to bed with his stomach full because he received a meal.”
Janessa and Nick Whatcott and their sons, Drew, Nixon and Hudson.