It was just a typical sleepless night for Love To Dream™ founder, Hana-Lia Krawchuk, when she discovered the perfect solution for every mother’s nightmare. She realised that her baby son couldn’t have a good night’s sleep unless he slept with his arms up. “He somehow would work his arms out of a swaddle and sleep with his arms up,” she says. That’s when Hana thought – why not swaddle him in that position?
It had been a deeply unsettling period for Hana and her husband, Gavin, who were struggling to find a swaddle that would secure him properly. But they had no luck. After thorough research on swaddling with the arms reaching upwards, Hana was surprised by her findings. “I found that babies actually need their hands to rub their cheeks when they are sleeping and when they are awake,” she explains. “It’s a sort of self-soothing process.”
Hana began stitching up a few samples of her own. “I handed it to some of my friends as a trial and amazingly their babies slept right through the night. I thought, I can actually help other people out,” she adds happily. “It was an exciting time for me.”
“Babies need access to their hands to self-sooth”
Launched in 2009, Love to Dream became the best-selling swaddle within 12 months. “It was incredible,” Hana reflects. “We just couldn’t keep up with the demand. We sold out every single time. Mother’s knew that their babies loved being swaddled but needed something that would suit their baby’s needs.”
The flood of support for her product left Hana astounded. “It was just an incredible acceptance amongst the mums in the community. When something works for one mum, word tends to spread.”
Based in Waterloo, Sydney, the business supplies to over 350 bricks and mortar stores around Australia and 44 countries globally.
Growing the business internationally has been a crucial step towards Love to Dream’s expansion.
“Research has been the most important part of our growth”
However, achieving global reach wasn’t as simple as Hana initially anticipated. She quickly learnt the importance of spending considerable time researching requirements for entering an international market.
“Research has been the most important part of growing the business internationally,” she advises. “Extensive research [went into] identifying who the best partners were for Love to Dream. There are international safety standards that we have to comply with.”
The key for the business to succeed on an international scale is the flexibility to market wherever it goes. “We had to understand who our distributors are,” Hana explains. “We’re having to fly overseas to meet with them and determine whether they are the right fit for us.”
“Baby safety varies from country to country”
During this process, Hana also realised that Australians tend to be more conscious about infant safety in contrast to countries who aren’t so aware of its significance. “Different countries have different cultural influences when it comes to baby safety,” she says. “These were some of the factors we had to consider when contemplating our international expansion.”
Another contributing factor to their expansion came unexpectedly; Hana was lucky enough to attend one of the biggest business trade shows in Europe. While there, she met some appealing distributors and retailers. “I managed to pick up a few distributors,” she says. “But I had to really research who my potential partners would be.” Hana has since produced a partner pack which illustrated the steps taken to implement Love to Dream in Australia with the hope of the same thing occurring globally.
Being a mum, wife, small business owner and employer meant Hana was faced with another challenge: time. “There just wasn’t enough time to juggle everything,” she reflects. “I learnt early on that employing the right people can be crucial for your business. Once I started doing that, I was able to get time back in my life.”
Looking back on her experience, Hana stresses the importance of outsourcing tasks. “I’m not scared of having people do things for me,” she says. “I have trust in people automatically. I think that has been a big part of my success. I let people do what they are great at.”