Marathon Series: The Australian product that’s solving most new parents’ biggest problem

As part of my marathon series I want to get to know entrepreneurs and talk about entrepreneurship in different parts of the world.

Today I’m in Sydney, Australia with Hana-Lia Krawchuk. Hana-Lia is the founder of Love To Dream, which makes swaddles & baby sleeping bags for any season.

It’s a phenomenal business that has spawned other products like SleepSack, which I’m a big believer in. We’re going to find out about how she built up this business.

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Hana-Lia Krawchuk

Hana-Lia Krawchuk

Love To Dream

Hana-Lia Krawchuk is the founder of Love To Dream, which makes swaddles & baby sleeping bags for any season.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner, the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs and also fiddle around with the technology to record interviews with entrepreneurs. I’m here in Sydney, Australia to do two things, three things actually. Number one, I want to run a marathon on every continent. And so Sydney is my spot to run a marathon in Australia.

Number two, I want to experience the place. You know, Hana, when I was trying to do a marathon on every continent, there’s a guy, a dude, who’ll get people like me on a plane and get us to each one of the seven continents in seven days. Get on a plane, go see a continent, run your marathon, get back on a plane, go see the next continent, seven marathons, seven days. And I thought, “That solves my problem instantly.” It’s $42,000, it’s less expensive, frankly, in doing the whole thing. And then I realized, “No, I want to actually experience the city. I want to get up in the morning and look for a cup of coffee. I want to see what they do for sandwiches. I want to see if the hot sauce is really hot. I want to see what people are like.” Anyway, so that’s the second thing I’m here to do.

And the third thing is more important than any of that is get to know entrepreneurs and talk about entrepreneurship in different parts of the world.

Now, Hana is someone who I heard about a while back through a mutual friend who said, “You know babies don’t really sleep very well?” And I said, “Yeah, I do know that. I’ve got a couple of kids.” “And if you swaddle them, they do.” And I said, “Oh, I know that. I’m so into swaddling.” “And there’s actually this other swaddle that most people don’t know about. It’s swaddle your baby with their hands up.” And I said, “What?”

And I went over and I thought it was going to be this small little website, small little business designed around this random way of swaddling. Turns out it’s a big website, a big business, and the woman is based in Sydney. And as soon as I planned to run a marathon in Sydney and do interviews with entrepreneurs in Sydney, I said, “I’ve got to meet this woman, Hana.” So here she is. Hana-Lia Krawchuk is the founder of Love To Dream. Among their products is a product called Swaddle Up. Babies are swaddled very easily with their hands a little bit up in the air, right?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: And this phenomenal business that then has spawned other products like SleepSack, which I’m also a big believer in. We’re going to find out about how she built up this business thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. And the second will help you hire phenomenal developers. It’s called Toptal. Hana?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: I am talking too much about myself, but I’m very into swaddling. Here’s why. First, I had my baby. The nurse started swaddling my baby. I said, “What’s this about?” She said, “Well, it helps the baby go to sleep.” I said, “Let me know. Let me see how.” I recorded the nurse swaddle step-by-step. I practiced it. I got so good at swaddling. And then in the middle of the night, it was just horrible because I would be exhausted, the baby would wake up, I’d have to swaddle him. Actually, unswaddle, change diaper, cleanups, re-swaddle, it’s painful. And then I went online and I discovered there were these different swaddles with snaps and Velcros and I did same research. And it really helped the baby go to sleep.

What are you improving on that?

Hana: You have actually experienced the exact same problem that I experienced, which I would wrap my baby, we call it wrapping here in Australia. You call it swaddling. And he would wake up in the middle of the night as they all do. And I would walk into his room and the wrap or swaddle was unraveled and it was up over his face. I was petrified that he was going to create some sort of a really dangerous situation. So my background is in fashion. And when he was 14 months old in the, you know, that newborn fog had cleared, I thought, “I think I can do this a better way.” But also, I realized that when he was wriggling his way out of these wraps, he would sleep with his arms up.

Now, if you Google sleeping baby, all those images of babies sleeping on their backs who are not swaddled, their arms are up like this. So think about it. Do you sleep with your arms strapped down to your body?

Andrew: Actually, the way I sleep is one arm under the pillow, like, under my head, normal. And then the other one on Olivia, my wife.

Hana: Oh, that’s lovely. But your arms are up. Basically, they are bent at the elbows.

Andrew: We’re not talking about, like, fully hands up in the air, like, reaching for the sky, but they’re up. Yeah, actually.

Hana: So the way I swaddle positions of baby’s arms is you bend their arms and their arms are positioned upwards towards their face. That is really important because I discovered when I was reading all the medical research I could find is number one, swaddling. No matter how you swaddle your baby, it helps your baby sleep. Number two, if you can give them access to their hands to suck on or rub on their cheeks, they self-soothe. And self-soothing, if you can say that 50 times, is critical to helping a baby sleep. And we found that if we could swaddle Elijah with his arms up and give him access to his hands for self-soothing, he slept better.

Andrew: I get that. You know what? The nurse actually did say when she saw that my oldest was constantly taking his hand out of the swaddle, said, “What you need to do is get one arm out sometimes and let him self-soothe with that hand.”

Hana: Really?

Andrew: Yeah.

Hana: Awesome.

Andrew: Which we did and it does help. The reason I’m all into this is because I feel like it’s almost like daddy hacks. These are solvable problems. I know as the kids get older, the problems become harder and they may not have solutions at all. But swaddle help the baby go to sleep. That’s a solution that’s easy. You know, and I love the constant iteration of it. Let’s talk about business. How much revenue are you producing now?

Hana: So we are a public company or, you know, a private company, sorry. So we don’t talk about revenue, but we can talk about growth, if that helps.

Andrew: I actually feel like the problem with growth is that you give proportion, but it doesn’t give people a sense of size. Here’s what I’ve got. According to the “Sydney Morning Herald” from April 20th, 2017, you guys were doing $30 million in sales. Is that crazy?

Hana: Crazy good.

Andrew: But is it real? Is this then far off is what I mean. Is it crazy off?

Hana: Yes. So we don’t talk about sales, but I can talk to you about how many countries we’re in and how many products we sell.

Andrew: Can you say that, like, is there a number here, $750,000 products sold. Is that reasonable?

Hana: 750,000 products sold?

Andrew: Yeah. That seems outrageous actually, especially considering the revenue they’re projecting.

Hana: Yeah. We sell a lot more than that.

Andrew: Oh, you sell more than that?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: Oh, really?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. All right. This gives me a sense of it. Any outside funding?

Hana: No.

Andrew: Wow, all you?

Hana: All me.

Andrew: Phenomenal. And your background is in design?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Okay. And what did you do in design? This was at Aboud Apparel?

Hana: Yeah, Aboud Apparel.

Andrew: What is Aboud Apparel?

Hana: Aboud Apparel is no longer, but they were a company that produced clothing for our big-box retailers and our version of Nordstrom’s.

Andrew: What is your version of Nordstrom?

Hana: David Jones. And so I would produce the women’s wear ranges for them. So I would design them, but I would also sell those products into those retailers. And I had an amazing boss who saw something in me. When I was 21 and randomly walked into his office and he offered me a role. And I did that for seven years and he trusted me with his business. And I learned a lot which kind of formed the foundation of starting Love To Dream.

Andrew: And this is what you always wanted to do. From what I can tell, you went to school to study textile design. You went, I guess, to the University of Technology in Sydney?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: So it seems like you’re into what? I’m trying to get a read on you as a person before this business.

Hana: I’ve always really loved art. And I love painting and drawing. But I’ve always really loved business.

Andrew: Okay. We’re you the kid who would sell her art?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: You were?

Hana: I was, yes.

Andrew: To who?

Hana: When I was four years old, four, okay, I listened to a conversation my parents were having that they were having trouble paying the bills. So I went upstairs and I drew panda bears. I don’t know if you remember, but panda bears were very trendy in the ’80s. And I snuck out of the house. It was raining. And I went with a little basket and I went door knocking to all the neighbors. And I remember this clearly, I sold each drawing for 25 cents. And I came home. My mother was beside herself frantic looking for me. And I said, “Here, Mom. Here you go. Now you can pay your bills.” So I guess it started with them not actually having any secrets from us and always talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Gave me great exposure.

Andrew: Did they recover from the financial issues?

Hana: Yeah. They’re businesspeople themselves.

Andrew: What business are they in?

Hana: So they had a chocolate factory. Can you believe it?

Andrew: No, wow-wee. Okay. Was it as great as we imagined as kids?

Hana: It was.

Andrew: It was? Because?

Hana: I made a lot of friends through bribery.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: You bring chocolate in and people would want to . . .

Hana: To school and . . .

Andrew: Okay. You didn’t sell to them?

Hana: That I did not sell, no.

Andrew: No? Wow, I sold candy. What else did you sell or what else did you design as a kid?

Hana: Actually, my first proper job, I was nine, and I would go every single Saturday morning and I would file papers for my GP.

Andrew: What’s GP?

Hana: Medical practitioner, our doctor.

Andrew: Okay. General practitioner.

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: You would go for the doctor and file paper. So you got a job at a doctor’s office?

Hana: Yeah. I got a job. And I did that for years. And then I realized that $3 an hour was probably not . . . I was worth more than that. And I asked him for a raise. And I got one. I got $5 an hour.

Andrew: How did you even get a job at that age? I really wanted it. The laws in the U.S. say that you can’t get a job until you, like, 13 and, you know, you get a workers permit.

Hana: Yeah. I think it’s the same here. So don’t tell anyone, guys that I had a job when I was nine.

Andrew: You know what I did? My dad got me a job with one of his friends working in the basement illegally, getting paid under the table. I don’t know how much . . . it might have been the same amount, but I thought, “How horrible is this that the government’s telling me I can’t get a job and as a result, I get a job . . . it’s like under the table? You know, hidden in the basement.”

Hana: I agree with you. My son is 11 and he’s ready to work. He would make a great contribution to any organization that, you know . . .

Andrew: Yeah. Some people are built for it and they want to. And I wish that we could give them more opportunities. All right. And so then you went into design. I asked you before we got started here today, what did you do at Aboud? And it seems to me like you were basically an entrepreneur there. You were basically running . . . I wouldn’t say running the company, but you were doing a lot. Talk about some of the responsibilities you had.

Hana: So my responsibilities were to design the ranges, to present them to the buyers, to order the production that, you know, get the garments to arrive in Australia, and then make sure that they actually get to store. I used to look after some of the marketing, which magazines we would advertise in, how we would educate the customer about the new ranges or the new collections, and I had some people under me who were reporting to me, you know, designers and graphic designers . . .

Andrew: And so Hana then, what is left? What are we looking at? If we’re looking at you helping to pick the designs, helping to get them made, calling up stores, right?

Hana: You know what? I have no P&L responsibility.

Andrew: That was it. Do all the work, but . . .

Hana: All care, no responsibility.

Andrew: Why do you think the company closed down?

Hana: The fashion industry has changed dramatically. And as we all know, everything has gone online. And the brand, actually, the main one that I looked after catered to women kind of 60 years and over. And their taste, I think, just changed a lot. And you couldn’t design clothing like that, you know, elderly clothing anymore. Women of 60 aren’t elderly anymore. So I just don’t think that they changed with the times, probably, after I’d left.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And so you had your son, you realized it’s . . . What do you guys call it? Not swaddling, covering?

Hana: Swaddling.

Andrew: You just call it swaddling, okay.

Hana: Yeah, so wrapping but now it’s swaddling.

Andrew: So did you do the whole thing where you were swaddling using standard swaddles?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: You did? And that wasn’t working?

Hana: No.

Andrew: Okay. Did you find those Velcro, snapping, zipper . . . ?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: And that didn’t work either?

Hana: No.

Andrew: Because the whole idea of these is wrap their hands, their arms across their stomachs, essentially. So their hands would be wrapped across their stomach.

Hana: Yeah. All those products force you to swaddle your baby with their arms down or across their chests.

Andrew: And so you said, “I could make something better.” And you sat down at a sewing machine and started sawing your own thing?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: And putting Elijah in it?

Hana: No. Elijah was too old already.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Why didn’t you do it before then?

Hana: I was really stuck in brain fog.

Andrew: What do you mean?

Hana: In mothering brain fog.

Andrew: Just exhaustion.

Hana: Yeah. Look, Elijah did not sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time. So I was pretty desperate to find a solution for other parents so I could help them. And I could see it really clearly, actually, because I knew babies sleep better swaddled. So what I did is I made two samples and I rang two of my friends who had newborn babies. And I said, “Can I come and give you something and you give me your feedback?” And both of them said, “Yes.” And both of them rang me in the morning and said, “You’re not going to believe this but my baby slept through the night for the first time . . .

Andrew: Because of the swaddle.

Hana: . . . because of the swaddle.”

Andrew: Did you have any issues or did they have any hesitation about doing it? Every video that I saw about swaddling on YouTube seems to have started with, “Relax. The babies are actually going to be okay with this.” You know, even . . . what is it called? “Happiest Baby on the Block,” the video that talks about swaddling that every parent gets when they have a newborn, it feels like. The creator of that talked about how you’re going to feel scared tying your kid down, but don’t. It actually is very much like the womb. Did your friends say, “This is kind of a weird contraption that you’re going to put my kid into?

Hana: No. You know what? When people really think about it, they go, “Oh, my gosh, you’re right. My baby does sleep with their arms up and yes, my baby wriggles out of the swaddle to get to their hands.” So we actually had marketing budget allocated to re-educating the consumer but we never needed to do that, surprisingly.

Andrew: Because they knew swaddling made sense because hospitals are starting to introduce it. All you had to do is say, “You know your baby’s hands are up, anyway. Here’s a swaddle that will do it, that will let the babies have their hands up.”

Hana: Yeah. Or you talk to a pregnant woman and you say, “Have you had an ultrasound?” “Yes.” “Where are your babies hands?” “They are up by their mouth.” That’s where they want their hands.

Andrew: Is this the first version of the site that I’m looking at?

Hana: Yes, it is.

Andrew: It is? And so this goes back to 2011. Is the web the first place that you sold it?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: It is. So first thing you did was start to sew it yourself and then you went online and you built a website?

Hana: Yes. I sewed the samples myself. I never made the production myself. My customers would be thankful for that.

Andrew: Who made it?

Hana: A local manufacturer here in Sydney.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yes. And that was critical, actually, to the success of the brand. Because what happened was, we built a site, put it online, and we had a few sales, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, a week, maybe. But I knew from my previous experience that bricks and mortar retailers were really important. Remember, this is 10 years ago. And I started making appointments with buyers. And my first appointment I made with a store called Baby Kingdom, which is two miles that way. And I presented the range, which was three products. One product in three colors. And the buyers said to me, “Oh, I like it. How many of you got?” And I said, “I’ve got 400.” He said, “Okay, I’ll take them.” Wow. It was wow. And I remember jumping up and down, you know, when I left and rang my husband and said, “Gavin, we’re sold out.” And two weeks later after I delivered the product, they rang me again and they said, “We need more.”

Andrew: Wow. A store was able to sell that many?

Hana: They had five stores at the time.

Andrew: Okay. Still I’m shocked that the stores can move that much product, frankly. I guess I’m used to the whole online world for it, but okay. Wow. And so you’re happy that you had a local manufacturer because then you could go to the local manufacturer and have more created and not wait for . . .

Hana: Correct.

Andrew: I think I always assumed that because Australia is so close to China that you have an advantage with Chinese manufacturers. Why didn’t you go to China? Too hard? Is it far?

Hana: So first of all, I had no idea of what quantities I would need and there’s no point shipping a container from China if it’s got a couple of hundred swaddles in it. So it just didn’t make sense. Also, it allowed me to finesse the product here. Was the sizing right, was the length right, you know, all of those factors that could evolve over time. And the reason it made the business is because we could respond at lightning speed to this ridiculous exponential growth that we had from day one.

Andrew: And why do you think that he took 400 of your products that fast? I should not . . . By the way, one thing that I noticed that I do is I put my hands on my chin when I think. But look, for anyone who’s listening, I wonder if they could tell that I’m blocking the mic when my hand is on my chin.

Hana: No.

Andrew: So all these things I’ve got to be aware of them now that the situation . . .

Hana: Sorry. Is my drinking tea bothering?

Andrew: No. I like that. Actually, it feels more natural with it. Why do you think that he trusted it? That he was willing to make such a commitment to 400 of these new things?

Hana: Look, I think as retailers, you know, they’re always looking for, “What can I have that the competition doesn’t yet have?” Or, you know, “Does this make sense? Will this be safe for our consumer? And do I see an opportunity?” And at that time, there was no sleep category. It was those muslin swaddles that were lumped in with blankets and sleep wasn’t a thing. We created the sleep category, actually. So now you walk into a baby store and there are, you know, 10 brands of what we call formed swaddles, which is what we have is a formed swaddle, not just a regular blanket. So I think maybe he saw that there was a way to start a new category within his retail space.

Andrew: All right. Let me talk about my first sponsor looking at your first website as I’m thinking about my first sponsor, HostGator. For anyone out there who has an idea and they want to just put together website, there is . . . I don’t think a faster way to create a website that you really own and get to move to any other hosting company that you want, get to do anything that you want with it than going to hostgator.com/mixergy and getting started. Do you think, by the way, their website is the first thing people should do?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: You do? Why? I thought you’d say, “No, just go into a store and . . . ”

Hana: No.

Andrew: Why?

Hana: Because you can tell your story properly, especially with a product like ours which requires information and education. Where is the consumer going to go? That’s the best place for them to get it.

Andrew: Yeah. You know what I would do if I saw this in a store, I would think, “This is kind of weird. Let me Google it and see what comes up.” And if your website came up . . . One of the first things I clicked on when I saw your site was this medical research tab at the top and so I’m getting the research on this as you’ve curated it for me. And if I’m in a store looking to buy it, I have a good understanding of what this means, how it works. I’ll say, “Okay, I can give it a shot.”

All right. So for that and so many other reasons, if you’re listening and you want to start a new website, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. If you hate your hosting company or really just want a lower price or want to do better, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. When use that URL, you are going to get . . . You too actually, Hana. You know, your son, if he can’t get a job, let’s get him a website.

Hana: Okay.

Andrew: Imagine that. Does he have business ideas all the time too?

Hana: All the time.

Andrew: What’s an example of one? Or is he going to be upset if you reveal it?

Hana: No. Well, recently, he bought stock from AliExpress and sold it at the markets.

Andrew: Really? He stood at the market and started selling?

Hana: On his own the entire day.

Andrew: What kind of stuff did he sell?

Hana: Actually, he sold reusable coffee cups.

Andrew: I do you see that there are a bunch of coffee places, especially in Manly, that Beach area, where they’re asking you to bring your own coffee cup.

Hana: Oh, yeah. You get a discount.

Andrew: Got it. So he bought coffee cups, he sold it at the market and I can imagine people who wanted coffee at the market could use their coffee cup to go and buy coffee from there.

Hana: He made $450 that day.

Andrew: Get out. Wow-wee. All right. If anyone wants to start a website, go over to hostgator.com/mixergy. You get the lowest price possible as far as I know from HostGator. And more importantly, you’re really be supporting the podcast here.

So you started doing this. Actually, you know what? Let’s jump into some of the problems. One of the issues that you told me you had was you couldn’t get people to take your calls, to take you seriously. How did you solve it?

Hana: I kept calling. I kept calling and I kept calling.

Andrew: Because they didn’t know who you were?

Hana: They didn’t know who I was. And I think generally, we’re a little slow to react to things here in Australia. You know, in Asia, it’s like, “You’re not working at midnight on a Sunday? What’s wrong with you?” Yeah.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: But in Australia, people are a lot more comfortable, more relaxed?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: I always thought of Australians as being kind of hungry. No?

Hana: I don’t know. Have you seen the view from outside this apartment?

Andrew: You know what? It is beautiful and the beach is so freaking close and . . . Yeah, I get it. You know what? So Jane Lu from Showpo, she’s doing well. Really doing well.

Hana: Yes. Amazing.

Andrew: First time I got an offer to do an interview with her from a referral, I said, “Send it through the forum.” Because I get so many requests. Who knows who’s worth spending time on and who’s not, who’s faking you with some statistics they made up and who has the goods. And so imagine that happened with you too where, “Yeah, you have a new product, but who knows this makes sense or not. Are you someone who actually can create it or are you just dreaming?” And so you got turned down a lot and your only answer to that was persistence, just kept calling back.

Hana: Keep calling back.

Andrew: Were you structured in the way that you did it?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Well, what’s your structure?

Hana: Okay. I have a really serious to do list, which if something’s done, it gets highlighted. If it doesn’t get done, it moves to a particular day and a particular time that it will get done. And my weeks are structured like that. So I make sure that everything I set out to achieve, I actually achieve it. So I’m super, super, super productive.

Andrew: Is it a paper thing?
Hana: Paper. Can you believe it?

Andrew: To this day? No. I have a hard time believing it. And so you walk around with it. If you looked at your purse right now, you have it with you?

Hana: No. But there’s a photograph on my phone of it.

Andrew: Oh, really?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: So you know, for today, here’s what you need to get done.

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: What are some of the things you’re going to get done today? Do an interview with me?

Hana: Do an interview with you . . .

Andrew: Wait for the siren to pass?

Hana: Sure.

Andrew: You know what? We got this space because it’s a penthouse. I assume penthouse would be like 20th floor. Third floor, baby, which is fine. I mean, we have an unobstructed view here, but we do hear the siren sometimes.

Hana: So we have special designs that . . . So we stock our product in Target in the USA, and on Amazon, and buybuy BABY, and various other U.S. retailers. And we’re trying to work out what we’re going to do that’s special for them. And so I’m actually working on differentiated ranges for them. Different prints, colors.

Andrew: Target has their own unique thing.

Hana: So that they could.

Andrew: Why do you think that they need their own unique then?

Hana: I think every retailer, like I said before, is looking for a point of difference from another one.

Andrew: And if you can get a specific look, a specific design, that’s a Target-only thing. Look at this. So I never heard of you before. I mean, I never heard of your product even. And I was Googling swaddles. Today, I just did a search for swaddle on Amazon. Is this the UK Amazon? I mean, the AU? No.

Hana: U.S.

Andrew: It’s the U.S., number one. Unreal. So my last baby was born two and a half years ago. Problem with that is that we re-used a lot of stuff. So I basically kept the same stuff that we had for the first baby and didn’t do much new research.

Hana: It’s time to have another one.

Andrew: Just for this. I’m telling you. I’m all into this type of hacking. Like, what can we do to have these shortcuts that allow the baby to sleep better and me to sleep better? But coming back to your numbers, this is a huge change. You’re number one, 2300 reviews, nearly 5 stars out of 5-star rating. I’m really scrolling down to find competitors. Wow, how did you do this? How did you get Amazon to pay attention to you? How did you overtake all the other ones?

Hana: Lots of hard work. And social media is obviously really important for every brand. But the big thing with our product is it really, really, really works. So once one mom uses it, they tell the rest of their mothers’ group or the rest of their circle and everybody goes to buy it because who doesn’t want more sleep? That’s the biggest thing. When you have a new baby, you are probably at breaking point 90% of the time. So it’s a real privilege, actually, that we get to make a difference with that.

Andrew: Yeah. It is a type of thing that you’ve got people when they’re new. We’re not really shopping around for new types of clothes for a four-year-old or five-year-old. But when you have a new baby, everything is new and you need to go and explore. So they’re open to it. Parents do talk to each other. Wow, even like the standard swaddle that you mentioned earlier, it’s muslin? It’s how it’s pronounced, right?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: They are from Aden and Anais. That was number one for a long time. It’s very basic. You’ve crushed them from what I can see here.

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: Wow, in such a short time. When was the company founded?

Hana: It was founded in 2009, but we’ve only been in the U.S. market properly for four years now, five years.

Andrew: And so you went store to store, kept being persistent, kept writing your checklist, kept highlighting the things you did, eventually stores would let you in. Manufacturing, I’m imagining became the next issue, right?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: We’re you still able to continue working with the factory here?

Hana: No. So we actually couldn’t achieve the quality we needed, funnily enough, because manufacturing base has shrunk and machinery isn’t here, etc. So from my apparel days, I had some contacts in China, went over there, placed an order, and started bringing the goods from China into Australia.

Andrew: How hard is that? Actually, you know what? Why do you think manufacturing is such a hard thing? I think I imagine that it’s all going to be a set of machines, just hit the on button, after it’s programmed, the stuff comes out. It’s not. It’s a lot of human beings, right?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: They sit and they take stuff out of the machines. They put things in machines, a lot more interactive, right?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Okay. And so it’s hard to achieve quality because you can get humans cheaper in China than you can here. And so more of it is moving there?

Hana: They didn’t have the expertise. The Chinese are now unbelievable at manufacturing many things, especially garments. So they have been trained. They understand Western quality demands. You know, we couldn’t get a better quality product, actually.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: And so, how hard was it to find the right factory? I’ve interviewed people . . .

Hana: Very.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: So what was your process for doing it? What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get it done?

Hana: Hire a Chinese-speaking production manager.

Andrew: A production manager is someone who helps you find a factory?

Hana: Yes. So when I could afford it, I hired a Chinese-speaking production manager. And she had contacts from her previous roles of really good quality factories. And we need amazing factories because it’s baby wear, it’s not just slapping together a women’s wear garment. And she negotiated with those factories, but what’s critical for anybody listening is a really, really defined quality control manual. So what is acceptable to you? What is not acceptable to you?

Andrew: You create that manual?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: And so what’s on the manual as not acceptable but not obvious?

Hana: Threads. Checking inside the garment for any loose threads or long threads. So if you can imagine, for a little baby, if a thread wraps around their little finger, that’s really dangerous for them. So we have a tolerance. If there is a thread that is half a centimeter or longer, it needs to be cut out.

Andrew: And so you just keep adding it on. And if that . . . sorry.

Hana: If that garment arrives in Australia with that kind of fault, the factory’s penalized.

Andrew: The penalty is more than just that one garment?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: And so you just had to keep thinking through all the issues that could happen, marking it in the book. Anytime another issue happens, you let them know and you mark it in the book. This is the way it works.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: How did you find this person?

Hana: Recruitment agency.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Mm-hmm. Look, we offer an amazing, flexible working environment. And which means part-time hours and flexible hours and go home and hang out with your kids and go to a sports carnival and whatever. You know, we don’t . . .

Andrew: To the factory workers?

Hana: No, no, no, sorry. To our staff in Australia. So what it means is I can attract really talented, highly-trained team members who want a better lifestyle for themselves. So I have always had the privilege of being able to hire amazing people. You know, my marketing manager is the brand manager from Coca-Cola, you know, etc. So I get great people because of the way we run the business.

Andrew: Okay. And you work with a recruiting agency and you’re competing with other people. You don’t have any special advantage there. The big advantage is once they pay attention to your company, they see, “This is why I’d like to work.”

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Got it. Okay.

Hana: And also, the fact that they’re changing lives every day with helping babies sleep. Improving the quality of life for those families, it’s really powerful.

Andrew: Do you have a lot of parents on staff?

Hana: Everybody.

Andrew: Everybody is a parent?

Hana: Except for one.

Andrew: Okay. Yeah. I find that parents are underappreciated. If you can give them the flexibility, it’s fantastic because, frankly, the big issues is that they do end up having to take off at 4 o’clock or noon one random day when they need to go show up for some kind of party at school and if you can give them that flexibility, then you end up getting a lot more stability in return.

Hana: Yeah. And real loyalty. You know, we are a family. And I don’t want my employees, no matter what position they are, no matter what they’re paid, to work 24/7. We really want it’s 9 to 5 or it’s 9 till 2. That’s it.

Andrew: Why don’t you want them to work more?

Hana: I think coming out of the fashion industry, it’s really brutal. And I was worked to the bone and . . . I don’t know. I didn’t want to do that. I just didn’t want that to be the culture of my company. And I feel like we can get a lot of achieved during the day without having to work 16-hour days.

Andrew: I don’t want that either. The reason that I don’t want it is because what you end up with is a lot of excuses and then burn out. And then you have to be willing to sacrifice people fast and fire them fast and bring somebody else on because you will eventually burn them out.

By excuses, I mean, I remember I used to have an environment where people would have to stay till 8 o’clock at the office. And inevitably, you look at people’s computers and you see that they’re doing online shopping. Why are they doing online shopping? Because they can’t go to the stores. And they can’t do it at home because they get home too late. And so you excuse that, they make an excuse for it, you make an excuse for it, before long, their work spills into their home lives and vice versa and nothing gets done properly.

And at first, there’s this enthusiasm. They’re working hard. They’re giving it everything, they are finally in hustle mode. Eventually, they go into, “I’ve got to do online shopping now. I’ve got to meet somebody now in the middle of the day.” And if you’re not willing to fire them at that point, then you end up with somebody who’s half-assing it and burning.

Hana: That’s right. Because your tasks also expand to fill your time, right?

Andrew: Yeah.

Hana: So I’m a big fan of 50-minute sprints. We all do it at work and we have block out time. No one’s allowed to talk to anybody because this is work time. And if you set a large task which can take you an hour or an hour and a half, you’ll say, “I’ve only got 15 minutes to do it.” And you smash it out. And it’s amazing how much you can actually get done. So, yes, I agree. 7 till 7 doesn’t work.

Andrew: Give me an example. What’s an example of something that you’ve done that way with the sprint, you personally?

Hana: Maybe some strategic planning.

Andrew: Okay. So you get on the phone with someone and . . .

Hana: No. I’ll sit down and I will plan out, you know, the big tasks I want to achieve the next 12 months.

Andrew: And it’s just you sitting down and saying, “I’ve got to do it in an hour.”

Hana: Yeah, that’s it.

Andrew: And how does everyone know no interruption?

Hana: I have a sign on my door . . .

Andrew: Literally, okay.

Hana: . . . that says, “Do not disturb. I’m disturbed enough already.”

Andrew: That’s it. And they know. If they see that, that’s it. Are you a culture of Slack or chat messages all day?

Hana: No.

Andrew: Not at all. Communicate via email or phone.

Hana: But the whole company has block out time. So between I think it’s 10:30 and 12:30. No one’s allowed to interrupt anybody else. And between 3 and 4. So there’s two periods during the day . . .

Andrew: And they just know, “Don’t interrupt everyone. They’re in deep mode.”

Hana: Unless it’s on fire, you don’t interrupt.

Andrew: What else do you do in the company to keep things sane and productive?

Hana: Productive. Okay. This is a really good one. On a Monday morning, we all meet. So there is 23 of us in the organization. We have a meeting with 23 people and it’s 2-minute talk time. What did you do on the weekend? Three things you commit to doing which are going to move the business forward this week? And the three things that you committed to last week, did you get them done?

Andrew: That’s it?

Hana: That’s it for company meetings. And what happens with that is I record that. And at the end of each month, I send the team their productivity results.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: So they know, “I committed to 12 things this month. I got 10 of them done. And that’s a win.”

Hana: Yes. So we actually are working towards 90% achievement rate. So I sit at 98.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yeah. I have to set the benchmark. I told you my to-do list always gets done. And it also gives me transparency into if there is one individual or a department that’s consistently 45%, 60%, either they are not prioritizing their task properly, they don’t know how to plan their week, or that department’s totally under resourced. So then I can go and investigate further.

Andrew: Wow. And you still can get to 98% completion rate and finish by 5?

Hana: Hmm.

Andrew: No. You stay here. You’re working later.

Hana: I am you.

Andrew: Okay. And is your husband into this business?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: I heard that. Okay. And are you then bringing work home?

Hana: No. I stay and work and he goes home to the kids.

Andrew: Okay. And then what time would you get home?

Hana: So I try to take Friday’s off because that’s my special day for me to get everything done.

Andrew: You mean work stuff or personal?

Hana: No, no. Personal.

Andrew: So Friday, you’re not around unless there’s an issue?

Hana: I’m not there. And because I have so much work, actually, at the moment, I try and make up those hours on a Monday or Tuesday evening.

Andrew: Okay. My thing is Monday and Friday, I try not to schedule any meetings. I do work, but I do quiet mode on my own. And I’ll reach out to people if I need it. I do find that I create an environment for everyone else to not work crazy hours.

Hana: Yes. But you work the crazy hours.

Andrew: I thrive on it within reason. Once I’m home, I’m done. You’re not reaching me. And once I’m at work, my wife has a hard time getting ahold of me. You know, so we’ll talk for three minutes just to check in throughout the day, but that’s it. I’m very unitasking. Very much of a unitasker. One focus to the point where if I’m in the backyard . . . I’ve got the stationary bike. If I’m in the background yard on the stationary bike and Olivia will open the back door to say, “Hey, how are you doing?” I will get startled because I’m so in the zone. I don’t pay attention to anything else. I like some of the ways that you run your company. How did you discover that? How’d you come across management techniques that work for you and actually get things done?

Hana: That’s such a good question. Yeah. So I’m not formally trained. You know, I look at people who go through FMCG companies. They’re formally trained and as, you know . . .

Andrew: FMCG?

Hana: Fast-moving consumer goods companies.

Andrew: Okay, really? All right. Never heard that.

Hana: Oh, right FMCG, yeah. So big corporations train their staff leadership skills, financial acumen, etc. I’ve never had that. So I always felt that as a leader, am I really a leader? Like, who made me a leader? And so, you know, I try to study as much as I can. And actually I enrolled into a mentoring course. It’s called The Fortune Institute. And I did that for two years and that was life-changing. That changed my business.

Andrew: Really? What did you learn?

Hana: Planning. The biggest thing I learned was if you can’t measure it, how do you know it even happened? So that is where we get together as . . . the management team gets together every 90 days and we write a plan of all the major things that have to happen within the next 90 days to get us to our 12-month goal. Then those major things, it’s only five. You’re only allowed five. We break them down into step by step.

Like, literally step-by-step. Who has to do what, by when, and what has to be done.

Andrew: Full-on checklist with assignments and deadlines and all that.

Hana: Yes. And then, those Monday morning meetings that I explained before, they keep us accountable to that 90-day plan. So our three big things we’ve got to do to keep the business moving forward fall out of that 90-day plan. Does that make sense?

Andrew: It does. And then everyone has something to do. And so, what I’m trying to understand then is, what are the steps to get to where you are? Feels like it’s go and talk to your local stores, get this product in the stores, and do that over and over again. Then go to online retailers, get the products on the online sites, do that over and over again, but that’s overly simplifying it. Let’s talk in a moment about what else you need to get done. Like, what are the different milestones that allowed you to grow to the level where you are today? Does that make sense?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. I’m trying to read you. And first, I’ll talk about my second sponsor. We’re trying to read you as I said that to say, is this . . . ? You’re with me, good. All right. The second sponsor is a company called Toptal. Now, I’ve talked about Toptal is a place to go when you’re looking for developers. Like, for example, if you decided, “I need a mobile app. And I have a clear idea. It’s going to be a sleep-training app or it’s going to play music for babies to help them go to sleep.” You know, the white noise, actually. Did you do white noise?

Hana: Yes, I did.

Andrew: You did, right. Imagine if you said, “Our version of the app is going to be a white noise maker. There are a bunch the charge money. I’m going to offer the same features, but for free with the idea that within this app, we can explain to people why they should buy our swaddle.” I like that you’re actually buying into this idea. I’m just riffing here. So if you came up with that idea, what you could do is go to Toptal and say, “I need people who built this app before. Something like this with all the features I’m looking for. I’m not looking to train new people. I want someone who’s done this. I want them to get on board, build it for me, then pass this on to our team who are going to manage it and maybe from time to time, we’ll go back to the person who . . . one of the people on the team.”

Toptal will say, “Okay, great.” They’ll go out and they’ll find people who work the way that you work, the hours that you work. The same kind of techniques that you have for managing your people, you want to use to manage them. And so they’re part of the company. They’ll produce it for you. If you’re happy, you can move on and take the product or maybe you’ll decide, “You know what? That one guy who’s working on the team, I want him working part-time.” And you keep on working with that person part-time. That’s the idea behind Toptal. Top developers, best of the best talent, reasonable prices, but not super cheap. Reasonable, not super cheap. If you or anyone else’s looking for them, go to toptal.com/mixergy. Now, I’m from New York. I talk very fast. Did the name of the company stand out or did I muff it? Screw it up. Can you understand what . . . ?

Hana: What was it again?

Andrew: All right. I’ll say it. Top as in top of the mountain, tal as in talent. toptal.com/mixergy. The reason it’s /mixergy is you get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours. So they’re giving you a bunch of free time because it’s created by two Mixergy fans who raised a bunch of money, doing well. I was going to say how much revenue they made, but I don’t think they want me to talk about that.

So what else goes into this? I understand knocking on doors, getting those first orders. Take me through the different milestones to build up to where you are today?

Hana: Okay. In 2011, we started exporting. So it took me two years to get everything right. Foundations, marketing, messaging, packaging, standards, safety standards very important. So the UK was our first market. And I thought English-speaking, good fit, they . . . you know, so that was a big milestone. And to date, we are now exporting to over 45 countries around the world.

Andrew: Okay. And when you say export to the UK, before you went online . . . I mean, beyond your first website. You went to local stores in the UK? That’s it?

Hana: No, no, no. Okay. So starting from the beginning, 2009, October 1st, invoice was invoiced out to stores. One store in Australia.

Andrew: The 400-product order?

Hana: The 400 order went out to store.

Andrew: Okay. So the first sale was 400 swaddles from a store, not an online purchase.

Hana: Correct. Then I realized very quickly that we needed to get speed to market. If I was going to be first with this idea, I needed to be quick. So I hired sales reps. And they went nuts selling into every store around Australia. We were within 18 months, I think it was, we were in 300 and something stores. And there are no more stores in Australia. That’s it. Baby stores.

Andrew: That’s it. And did you hire people who’d been selling to the stores already?

Hana: I hired the best sales reps who already service the nursery industry that I could find.

Andrew: And again, this is you going back to headhunters.

Hana: No. This is me flying from state-to-state interviewing these guys.

Andrew: And how did you find them?

Hana: I rang the stores.

Andrew: You said, “Who’s the best person you’re selling to?”

Hana: Who is the best person.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yes, and they would give me like . . .

Andrew: And then you pitch them?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. And you close those sales individually?

Hana: Yes. I secured the sales rep and then the sales rep would go into store and sell into the store. I did some of my own selling, but then I realized quickly I couldn’t get Australian-wide, you know how big Australia is, on my own. And I had a little baby at home.

Andrew: What is it? Twenty two million people?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: A country about the size of the U.S. which has 300 million people?

Hana: Correct.

Andrew: It’s unreal. Okay. So it is a lot of traveling. You did find salespeople that way and that’s how you went to stores before you went online. Why didn’t you go online? Why didn’t you say, “You know what? There’s internet riches. We’ll go all over the world faster with a good website, good marketing.” Why didn’t you do it that way?

Hana: I did open an online store.

Andrew: Yes, very early on.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: But you were thinking first retail, bricks and mortars before selling your own?

Hana: Yes. Because 10 years ago, online selling was not as prevalent as it is now. It would be very different if I was starting the business now. We still have 300 and something stores in Australia, by the way. So it’s a different market to the U.S. where you have very few retailers, actual real storefront retailers left.

Andrew: Yeah. From what I am hearing, like, from the Showpo’s interview that I did, I discovered that Australia was slower to embrace online ordering than the U.S. Wait, let me just make sure that your mic is a little bit further up. Okay. And so you went to stores and then did you go online or did you go to the UK next?

Hana: So we had already had an online store, an Australian one. And that’s always been a good store for us. We still have an online store here.

Andrew: But hardly any sales. Look, I’m looking at it in SimilarWeb. You get some traffic. I can see the people are, for example, coming to your site. I don’t know why it’s not showing up right now. But I saw people, for example, one of the big search terms is one that I was thinking of too, Love To Dream hips. And I know what people are trying to figure out. Is this good for hips? Which it is. And so I can see it’s just not huge for you.

Hana: Yeah. It’s not bad. But because we still have such a strong retailer base in Australia, we don’t want to directly compete with them.

Andrew: Okay. And then online retailers are not that big either because it’s only one, it’s Amazon.

Hana: Yeah. We don’t sell on Amazon here, actually.

Hana: You don’t. Why not? It’s too new.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yeah. Amazon just started up in Australia maybe, I don’t know, 12 months ago. And it’s not where people are shopping.

Andrew: Where are they shopping online?

Hana: Directly from the brand stores.

Andrew: Oh, really?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: So they’ll go to the individual stores . . .

Hana: Yes. Do you believe it? Still.

Andrew: I’m shocked by that. But you know what? The whole Amazon thing does explain to me why . . . I wanted to buy books. I said, “I’m coming to this country. Like, I want to get to know the country and the way I get to know the country is by reading biographies of the important people that I get excited about.” So I’ll go to Amazon, to the bookstore. They’re known as like the people who started as a bookstore. I start looking for biographies. There is no biography section. Not to say that there are no biographies, but it’s such an undeveloped site that there no biography sections in there.

It’s kind of shocking.

Hana: Yes. There’s very few products on there. Amazon plays a long-term game. We know that.

Andrew: Yeah. Okay. And so that’s why you did it here and then you went to the UK. I’m imagining you did the same thing. You said, “I’m going to go to the stores. I’m going to find out who their top sales reps are and I’ll hire them.” And that’s what you did?

Hana: Yeah. I didn’t hire sales rep. So with our international business, we work through distribution partners. We don’t hire our own people.

Andrew: Why? That’s just the way it works?

Hana: That’s the way it works because . . . don’t forget I’m a mum and I love being with my kids and my husband. And I really value being able to spend some quality time with them, even though we’re really busy. So if we’re to set up offices, our own offices all over the world, we just couldn’t see how that was going to help with our lifestyle.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And so how did you find the right company to work with?

Hana: We do extensive research. We have references from brands that we already work with. We look at their marketing plans, we look at their marketing spend, we look at how they manage inventory. You know, it’s an extensive I guess vetting process.

Andrew: I guess what I would do if I were in a similar business is just reach out to you and hopefully, as I talk to you about what my product is and ask you who I should be working with, you might refer me to a few people. And then I might take references from you and start working with the people that you like and trust. Is that what you did?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: You did?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: What’s a brand that you trusted the way that I’m now trusting you?

Hana: Good question. There’s lots, actually, of Australian baby brands who’ve done really well internationally. So b.box would be one of them.

Andrew: Okay. And so you just reached out to the founder and you said, “I like your product.” How do you start networking with them?

Hana: Because we go to similar events, trade shows, consumer shows. So you get to know people.

Andrew: Speaking of getting to know people, [Ilana 00:50:38], this is the email that she used to introduce me to you. How do you know her? I met her at a conference. I rented the nicest suite I could get at the conference at the Fairmont. And I invited people who I thought were interesting. She did ads for the conference and other places. And we spent 40 minutes talking and she told me about your story. How do you know her? What’s the connection to her?

Hana: We went to school together.

Andrew: Oh, you did.

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: Oh, wow. Okay.

Hana: Clever girl.

Andrew: Has she done online ads for you?

Hana: No. She won’t mix business and pleasure.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: I get that. Okay. And so, how did you get to Target? How did you get to some of the bigger retailers?

Hana: So our distributor in the U.S. is a very long established distributor. They’ve established brands like Baby Bjorn. And they have been in the industry for 30 years. And they know a lot of people and they were the ones with the Target connection actually. So they presented the range, took a little while and Target said, “Okay, let’s do a trial in 120 stores.” And that trial went on for six months and then they rang us and they said, “Right, you’re in all stores, did well, let’s go.”

Andrew: And it’s your packaging that’s explaining to people what the swaddle does?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Like this. This is very blurry what I’m showing you my iPad, but that’s it. And it seems like the big thing is . . . Well, I don’t know kind of looks like wings. But what is it that can help you explain to parents why the swaddle that they were given at the hospital is not the one to try. The one that their friends used to use is not the one to try. Here’s something that makes sense. How do you communicate that in the package?

Hana: When you see the package and you see the baby putting their hand to their mouth, it’s really friendly. Actually, babies suck on everything and that sucking helps them learn about the world. It helps them understand texture and shape and it’s a natural thing that all babies do. And they do that when they’re awake and when they’re asleep. And I think parents innately know this. I think they just . . .

Andrew: How did you know that? I’m looking at . . . so here I found one. Look at this, this is a Google search. This is what your product looks like right now, right?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: We’re looking at a baby with a swaddle and the swaddle . . . he or she has got the swaddle up to their mouth and immediately I see that it’s a swaddle and immediately I see that my baby can put his fingers up to his mouth and that’s it.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: How did you figure out that this is the way to do it? Did you create a bunch of different versions and then watch people interact with it?

Hana: Of the garment or of the packaging?

Andrew: Of the packaging. I’m just shocked that you could communicate all this so fast.

Hana: Yeah. This was, you know, when the heavens open and the angels start singing. The designer who put this together saw it. She really understood how to communicate. First of all, the logo is beautiful. I think the logo says a lot about kindness and love and that.

Andrew: The heart on its side.

Hana: Yeah, the heart on its side. And the photography, we did that on my friend’s floor.

Andrew: Okay. Really? With the friend’s baby?

Hana: Yeah, friend’s baby. But my husband is the marketer actually. He’s really, really good. And he wrote all of the copy. So she saw what he wrote and his vision and put that into the packaging design.

Andrew: All right. Yeah. I like that is also stage one. This swaddle is the stage one swaddle, more natural sleep position, arms up for self-soothing. Self-soothing equals more sleep, like, immediately. Here’s the punch line that a parent is going to care about. New products. How did you know what else to go to?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: By the way, I’m sorry to interrupt you. I’m fascinated by this business. And I think my enthusiasm for it sometimes causes me to interrupt people. I saw you were about to answer. Because here’s what I was thinking. The swaddles that were around before you didn’t have a level up.

You finish this swaddle by a certain time, I think it’s like nine months. You feel bad because this thing worked for you and you’re worried that if you get rid of the swaddle now, will you ruin the sleep that you spent too long working on?

Hana: You’re so clever. That’s exactly right.

Andrew: I experienced this. “Well, Olivia, can we spend another few days? Well, how about if we work on it on the weekend?” And then, “Okay, what we’ll do is we’ll take one arm up and then another arm up,” or something like that. You go through your transition because you don’t want to ruin this thing.

Hana: Correct.

Andrew: And then it’s done. Your competitors, the people who were around before you never thought to say, “Relax, we got you. We’re going to take it to the next step.”

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: You did. How did you know that there needed to be a next step and how’d you figure out what that new product would be?

Hana: Okay. We are fanatical about baby safety because it’s just really, really . . .

Andrew: But the way, Elon Musk, I don’t think people know about this, Elon Musk lost a baby to sleep suffocation.

Hana: Whoa? Yeah.

Andrew: Like you think about people who have done really well in their lives who are smart. There’s no doubt for whom this is a real danger. So it’s not the type of thing where you think, “Well, we’re just parents, we’re all nervous, we’re all scared.” No, you want to make sure that you get the right stuff because it’s not easy when you’re exhausted.

Hana: Yes, correct. So I’ve forgotten the question now.

Andrew: The question was, how did you know what the next products would be?

Hana: Yeah. So you need to stop swaddling your baby when they show signs of rolling.

Andrew: Because then they can’t roll back over if they’re swaddled.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Right. Because if their arms are in a thing, they can’t unroll.

Hana: Yeah. So traditional swaddles 100%. That baby, if their arms are strapped to their body and they roll from their back onto their tummy, it’s really not a good scenario. In our swaddle, if that happens accidentally, at least older babies have got access to their hands to push up off the mattress so it is much safer. But we found parents, because of what you said, because we’d created this amazing sleep routine, we’re petrified of getting their babies out of the swaddle and would swaddle their babies for way too long. So it’s actually a reaction to, “Let’s make sure that our customers are always doing the right thing and what’s safe by their baby.”

Andrew: How did you know that they were doing this?

Hana: I’d get email saying, “My 12-month-old just loves your product.”

Andrew: And you’re thinking, “Wait, 12 months? This is dangerous.”

Hana: Yes. And they’re asking for the next size up. And I’m like, “No, we can’t make the next size up. You’ve got to get your baby out.” So how do we get the baby out?

Andrew: Let me pause this, I’m sorry. So in most cases, people would then say, “Okay, we’re going to create a macro for our customer service team as soon as we see that someone says 12 months or whatever months and over, we’re going to have this macro trigger, do not do this. It’s time to switch.” How did you know to not do that? What was the process that you go through to recognize that this is not just a problem to be addressed quickly but an opportunity to create the next product?

Hana: That’s my genius. You know, we all have this thing that we all have to work in our genius. And my genius is actually understanding where the gap is. I could see a gap in the market. I could see an opportunity to extend their awesome sleep.

Andrew: And you’re reading email too?

Hana: Oh, yeah, I was doing everything.

Andrew: You sat and you would do . . . do you still do email today?

Hana: Like reading consumers’ comments?

Andrew: Customer service email? You do?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: What’s your process for doing customer service email? Someone assigns stuff to you?

Hana: We have Zendesk that captures everything. And I want to know are there major complaints? Are there anything new that I should know about. And then I’ll tell you a great one, my customer service person recently just sent me one from the U.S. A lady with a new baby, her baby was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and we make a swaddle perfect for babies with hip dysplasia.

Andrew: I saw that. It’s on the inside there. There it is. Look, this is it, right?

Hana: That’s it.

Andrew: Yeah. What we’re looking at is . . . a hip dysplasia is what?

Hana: It’s when a baby is born with dislocated hips.

Andrew: Okay. And what you do is within your swaddle, you position the hips properly.

Hana: No. So the babies go to special orthopedic pediatricians and they are fitted with a brace. And this brace looks pretty intense and the baby’s legs have to be in a certain position, etc. And normal swaddles don’t accommodate for these braces.

Andrew: Because the legs are spread outward to the side.

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. And it doesn’t fit into a swaddle.

Hana: Yes. So we made a swaddle that would fit babies who have these braces on.

Andrew: And so how did you know that? How did you know that this is something that’s necessary?

Hana: Again, feedback from social media or feedback from customer service saying . . .

Andrew: And it’s your customer service people who are looking for this for you and they’re sending it over to you. They will email it to you?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Okay. So here’s a problem, somebody had this problem.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: And are they expecting you to respond to it at the moment or just like, “Be aware, this is going on.”

Hana: I respond.

Andrew: You do?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: And so you’ll hear that someone has hip dysplasia, you will say, “I’m sorry to hear that. I feel bad. What are you doing for sleep?”

Hana: Yes. I will.

Andrew: You do? You literally then will say, “Okay, how is the baby sleeping? What are you doing to sleep? What are you doing for clothes? Tell me about . . . ” And you’ll do that?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Via email?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Okay. And so that’s amazing.

Hana: Sometimes I’ll ask to speak to them because I’ll need to really, like, drill down and get into what is it that they meant or what do they really need? Yeah. So this woman with the baby with hip dysplasia just wrote to Zendesk to say, “Thanks for creating a product.” And I personally responded to her saying, “This is exactly why we want every baby, no matter the ability or disability or whatever, to get better sleep and help their families.”

Andrew: And then you just kept leveling up as the baby gets older. We go to SleepSacks.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: SleepSacks, I guess are big because the kids don’t know how to . . . if they knock their blanket off, how to get the blanket back on and be comfortable. So you put them in a SleepSack and then the blanket just goes anywhere with them.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: So that makes sense and forever people had sleep sacks. Your twist on it was what?

Hana: So ours actually has a built-in blanket. So instead of making the whole thing really warm, which is an overheating hazard, ours is warmer from the chest down.

Andrew: I thought that was just a design. Okay. From the chest down. Why? They don’t want to be warm on the chest?

Hana: So when you’re in bed, you bring your blanket up to kind of under your underarms, generally. That’s how you sleep. So that’s how we designed the product so that the baby would have a diminished risk of overheating. Also, sleep sacks as you call them, we call them sleeping bags, they are inherently unsafe for toddlers because toddlers are walking around. And so imagine walking around . . . it’s a trip hazard. So what we did is we actually put feet on the sleep bag or the sleep sack.

Andrew: Yeah. Which is like the feet will come out of it on the very bottom. At that point, then why not just make warm pants and top?

Hana: Because pajamas also ride, like, they open up and they ride, you know, like at the waist, for example. So this is a proper wearable blanket that is a sleep trigger as well because you put on your pajamas and you go, “Okay. It’s sleep time. Let’s get into your sleep bag.” And so the child starts to associate that garment with sleep time rather than their pajamas that they’re running all over the house with.

Andrew: And so is your focus going to be on sleep clothes?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: That’s going to be it?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: So maybe a night light, but not a nice shirt for going to kindergarten.

Hana: Correct.

Andrew: Got it. That’s your whole thing, sleep is back.

Hana: That’s our thing.

Andrew: What do you think about the crib that includes a swaddle with it, that vibrates the baby back to sleep. What do you think of that whole thing?

Hana: I think it’s really important for a baby to learn to get itself to sleep because if it always needs an aide, the parent is just prolonging their sleep issue.

Andrew: Because at some point, they’re not supposed to be in that machine. And by the way, the machine that cost $1,000 is only for three months.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Makes no sense. I mean not to buy it, though it has become a big rental thing on something called Omni in San Francisco.

Hana: You know, I really understand why a parent would be interested in that product. I mean, I would have probably been the first in line for that when I was going through my sleep troubles. But now I know if you follow the right way, most babies, unless there’s a medical issue, will sleep.

Andrew: What do you think of sleep training where you leave the baby in a room, when the baby is crying, you let them cry it out for a bit and then you go in.

Hana: Not a huge fan of cry it out. I really hate that, actually. I think that if a parent can establish a routine for their child and not be out of the house all the time, and this is a bit controversial. But imagine trying to sleep in 50 different sleep environments. Like for you, you need to go to your bed, you need to close your curtains. You have your sheets. It’s the same place every night almost. So when you go to a hotel, usually the first night of sleep is a bit, “Mm, not in my own home.” So it’s the same for a baby, really. So they need consistency and routine and they need, you know, a whole set of factors set up for them to have good sleep. So I believe every baby can actually learn good sleep and it doesn’t involve being rocked to sleep for every sleep time.

Andrew: Is there a book that you recommend on this?

Hana: There’s a really great online course.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: What is it?

Hana: “Dream Start Baby.”

Andrew: I don’t know that one.

Hana: It’s an Australian one.

Andrew: “Dream Start Baby?”

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: I’m a huge believer in spending time and effort on getting babies to sleep. They’re happier, which makes us happier. And the more sleep we get, the more functional we are during the day and I will invest . . . it doesn’t say anything. I’m not buying a $1,000 crib. Someone is a fan who works at that company. He said, “Well, Andrew, I think you should get this. We can send it to you.” I said, “This is a $1,000 crib for three months. I don’t think it’s a good idea.” All right. Any business books you recommend?

Hana: I really love “The 4-Hour Workweek.”

Andrew: Really?

Hana: I love it.

Andrew: Have you told Tim?

Hana: No.

Andrew: You know, the number one . . . Tim does not respond to a lot of email.

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: He actually has this, like, stop-emailing-me thing. The one set of emails that he’s responded to were ones where my guests have said, “‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ had an influence on me.” And I think that that’s worth you sending a message to him about.

Hana: I’ll do it.

Andrew: Here’s my business. I think you should also confess up why you’re not living up to his 4-hour work week.

Hana: Yeah. It’s not working out so well.

Andrew: What else? What other books?

Hana: What other books? You know what? No books, but actually I’m really into Dr. Joe Dispenza right now. Have you heard of him?

Andrew: Who’s that now? Joe Dispenza.

Hana: He’s a meditation teacher and he is transformative actually in . . . He kind of advocates creating what you want now instead of waiting for it to happen. So, for example, you know, you may say, “In 10 years’ time, I’m going to be a millionaire.” So during your meditation, what you need to do is feel how you would feel if you became a millionaire. So create that feeling within your body. And what then happens is you actually start to manifest right now instead of waiting 10 years by creating the emotional feeling.

Andrew: Full meditation, it’s interesting. Looks like he’s doing a workshop here.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: He just did one a few days ago. Were you there?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: You were?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: So what’s one of the things that you . . . Well, I saw you light up as you talked about it. What’s one of the things that you were feeling as you did the meditation with him?

Hana: I resolved to be more connected with my kids and put the phone away.

Andrew: Because that’s what you wanted to do and so you sat there and you felt what as you did?

Hana: I felt really joyous.

Andrew: About being with the kids and not with the technology.

Hana: Yes, not being distracted.

Andrew: Because your instinct, there’s a part of you that associates not having the phone with pain. With, “What if something happens?” With, “What if I’m exhausted and I need that quick recharge or checking . . . ” That’s what it is.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: And so to counteract that, you need to have an equally forceful feeling in your body of happiness and presence and got it.

Hana: That’s it. So good. It’s really, really powerful.

Andrew: I don’t ever hear about this guy. I’m totally with the plan on this thing, Joe Dispenza. I’m looking him up. I don’t actually see that he’s got any books coming up or that he has any books on this. I’m going to look it up right now.

Hana: There was probably 5,000 people at this thing listening to him for a whole day.

Andrew: Wow. He does have a few different books, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself,” “Becoming Supernatural” and I like this one, “You are the Placebo.” He’s got a bunch of different books, actually. Those are interesting. That’s a really good suggestion.

Hana: Yeah. Enjoy that.

Andrew: You know, by the way what I’ve done with my phone when I get home, I just plug it into a charger in my drawer and I’m an Apple Watch guy, and it’s just very reassuring. Just have my Apple Watch on if I need to, like, call someone or text Olivia, I could do it from the Apple Watch but I can never get too sucked in.

Hana: Yes. Okay.

Andrew: Otherwise, I’m getting really sucked into this freaking thing with the kids around. And now that my kids are getting older, I don’t want them to see me with my phone all the time because then they could be with their phones and say, “Well, that’s what we grew up with.”

Hana: Correct.

Andrew: We’re just reliving you.

Hana: Yes. Get rid of those damn phones.

Andrew: Yeah. Right. One of the things, I’m going to close it out with is this one last question. Just because Tim Ferriss does this. He asks, “What have you bought . . . ?” I think as a gift, “For, like, $50 or under?” I forget what it is. Have you bought anything for under $50 for yourself or for someone else that you especially like?

Hana: You know what? I actually have, Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules of Life.”

Andrew: What’s that, a book?

Hana: It’s a book. But I haven’t actually read it. But I’ve been told I really need to read it and it’s really life-changing. But I haven’t had time, so I give it to everybody else. So they’ll change their life first.

Andrew: Really? Jordan Peterson’s “12 rules of Life.” I see right here. It’s on Amazon. Look at this, on Amazon U.S., Canada, UK, but not here. Oh, no. There it is in Australia.

Hana: I can tell you, though, the most useless thing I bought lately.

Andrew: Yeah. What’s that?

Hana: An air fryer?

Andrew: Really? I am actually kind of drawn to that because I love French fries.

Hana: I’ll give you mine. You could have mine.

Andrew: Why can’t you use it? It lets you fry without the oil, without as much oil.

Hana: Yeah. But I think oil is good.

Andrew: Really?

Hana: Yeah.

Andrew: I do like a little bit of oil that makes me feel full and so I don’t keep snacking. But does the air fryer actually fry?

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: Does it give you potato chips that feel like potato chips without the oil?

Hana: No.

Andrew: It doesn’t, okay.

Hana: You can just put them in the oven.

Andrew: Okay. I’d rather do that. All right, never mind. I don’t need that. But, man, their ads are so good, right?

Hana: Yes. I was sucked in.

Andrew: They just make so much sense. Why didn’t I ever think of this before? I’m brilliant for being able to do it. I’m trying not to buy too much stuff. I did buy . . . What is it called? An instant pot. You know about these things.

Hana: Yes.

Andrew: They’re huge. Actually, my wife bought it and usually I would just . . . She feels bad about buying it and I’d say, “Okay, let’s see what you can do with it.” So let me see if I can figure it out. I think if I could put a couple of things in there, I’ll eat healthier. It does help. Like, toss a bunch of quinoa in there and a couple of other things, like, I heat it up. It’s fantastic.

Hana: Is it one of those slow cookers? Is that what that is?

Andrew: Yeah. A pressure cooker, but it’s an electric pressure cooker.

Hana: All right.

Andrew: What they do really impressively is, they’ve got this community of people who are sharing recipes online and they’ve got this cult-like following and I’m fascinated by that. So there are these YouTube people who’ve got the instant pot. There are these bloggers who blog about it. And it’s this thing that just keeps going and going and going. You know, where you see other people try it, you try to a couple of your own. All right.

Hana: Yeah. I hear you.

Andrew: All right. Thanks so much for being in here. If anyone who wants to go check you out, I think the ideal place is to go see all the freaking reviews on Amazon or whatever website you’re into. I cannot believe that I missed this on Amazon. I wish that this was around when my kids were born. I guess when the first one was born. Kind of sad for the second one because you’re just following along with what worked for the first one. And they don’t get to really experience any trial and error.

All right. More than $30 million in sales? You’re not going to say. All right. Go check out Love To Dream. Swaddle Up is what we’ve been talking about, but there are other products on there. And it’s lovetodream.com.au and just .com.

Hana: Or .com. Yep.

Andrew: All right. I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. And the second will help you hire phenomenal developers. It’s called Toptal. All right. Thanks so much.

Hana: Thank you.

Andrew: Bye, everyone.

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