When Hana-Lia Krawchuk was waking in 45-minute intervals to the cries of her newborn son, she knew she had to do something.
This something led to the launch of global business, Love to Dream, a business worth $30 million.
Don’t have a baby or know anyone around you who does? Then you’ve probably never needed to know about Love to Dream. Essentially, it’s like a mini sleeping bag for babies to catch their Zzz’s. However, this rule-breaking sleep product doesn’t wrap the baby’s arms by their side, but rather up in the air. Sounds like a small detail, but usually the simplest ideas solve the biggest problems.
As part of NSW Small Business Month, we’ve been profiling incredible women around the country and understanding how they’ve found success turning their side hustle into a full-time gig. Small Business Month is a dedicated program of activities helping NSW small businesses Rebuild, Recharge, Renew.
Our very own Briony Hunt sat down with Hana-Lia to chat where the idea for Love to Dream came from, not spending a cent on marketing, and having processes documented.
Hana-Lia’s idea came from wanting to protect babies from the safety issues associated with swaddling with the traditional blanket or wrap. From this, she was also solving the problem of getting her son to sleep longer than 45 minutes.
‘Sleep is the biggest thing we worry about with a newborn, so if we can find anything that can help, you’re giving parents back their sanity. ‘
With a background in fashion and textile design, Hana-Lia realised (after waking once again) in the middle of the night to find her son’s wrap up over his face, she needed to apply her skills to find a solution.
A few weeks later, when she emerged from the crazy newborn blur, she told her husband she thought she could create something better.
So, that’s exactly what she did.
She opened her sketchpad and began workshopping the idea and created the simplest design to give to two friends to trial … we bet you can guess what their feedback was.
From their glowing reviews (and much needed shut eye) Hana-Lia took this in her stride and created 400 products- what she thought would see her going for a while. She hit the phones to call baby retailers to get the SWADDLE UP™ in their stores and was able to secure a meeting with Baby Kingdom’s buyer, who bought all 400 on the spot.
A fortnight later, Hana-Lia received a call from the Baby Kingdom Alexandria store advising they needed more products ASAP. She realised that word-of-mouth of her SWADDLE UP™ was spreading like wildfire across mother’s groups and instead of one-off purchases, the whole group of sleep-deprived parents would head in-store. Hana-Lia revealed they didn’t spend a cent on marketing for years with sales coming directly from peer-to-peer recommendations.
She also shared when you’re promising something about your product, you can’t just talk the talk, you must deliver like you said it would.
When Briony asked if the process was harder or easiest than she anticipated, she responded that although it was incredibly difficult juggling a 14-month-old toddler with a 70-hour week, it was such an exhilarating time it felt more like fun than hard work.
Here are some of the other helpful nuggets of advice she shared:
- If you’re a start-up business, don’t become disheartened if you must follow up and follow up again with suppliers or businesses; just do what you need to do, and it’ll eventually happen.
- Hire experts early on can help you get your product perfect from the outset.
- You don’t have to do everything yourself.
- If you ask a genuine question, genuine people will give you advice.
- When it comes to delegating and giving some control to someone else, when you hire the right fit, it’s really easy to let go.
- Have a business idea? Have you done the financial calculations? Hana-Lia recommends building out a pessimistic financial model and if it’s not looking viable, it probably isn’t.
- If it’s an original idea, see if you can protect it! Get a patent or trademark or whatever you need to safeguard your idea and keep those pesky copycats away.
- Brand building is just as important as getting the sales.
- Work as if you’re planning to sell your company tomorrow. Have your processes documented and systemised so each time you scale your business, you have an idea of how it runs.
Whether you’re a new mum or dad, pregnant, know someone who is, or are interested in a business success story, there’s no doubt Hana-Lia knows her stuff. And we don’t know about you, but we could listen to Hana-Lia all day long!
A big thanks to our partners at NSW Small Business Month for making this series possible! Rebuild, Recharge, Renew with NSW Small Business Month 2022 and join thousands of like-minded people at one of Australia’s largest small business programs. #NSWSmallBusinessMonth
It’s with a tear that we share the NSW Small Business Month series has come to an end. A special shout out to our friends at NSW Government for helping us bring this series to life. This NSW Small Business Month we profiled incredible women around the country and learned how they’ve found success, turning their side hustle into a full-time gig. Small Business Month is a dedicated program of activities helping NSW small businesses Rebuild, Recharge, Renew.