Sweet dreams prove a winner for small business owner Hana-Lia Krawchuk

Sending babies off to sleep is all in a day’s work for small business owner Hana-Lia Krawchuk, whose product the Swaddle UP has revolutionised the infant garment market.

Inspired by her own experiences as a mother, Krawchuk’s sleeping bags, sleep suits and swaddles have soothed 1000s of Aussie kids, delivering a restful night’s sleep to stressed parents and their newborns.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and Krawchuk tells Kocchie’s Business Builders (KBB) she was inspired to create the Swaddle UP after suffering countless months of limited sleep whilst caring for her newborn son. Whilst the midwives and baby books recommended swaddling a baby with its arms tightly by its side, Krawchuck found this technique proved a failure with her baby boy.

“97% of babies when placed on their back for sleep, sleep with their arms up by their faces. I noticed that he slept like this and whenever I swaddled him with his arms down he would eventually work their way out and wake himself up and therefore me too.

“I realised there had to be a better way to keep him swaddled but also allow him to have his arms up where he wanted them,” Krawchuk said.

The canny mumpreneur immediately set about making a prototype that would allow babies to sleep in their natural position with their hands up by their face for easy self-soothing.

 [image] Hana-Lia’s mood board for the latest Love to Dream products.

“I sewed two samples and gave them to two friends to try on their babies. Both friends rang the next day and said, ‘you won’t believe this but my baby slept through the night, for the first time!’. Eight years on we still get this feedback every day from our customers,” she smiles.

Born of a family of entrepreneurs, Krawchuk immediately knew she was onto something and set about the process of turning her idea into a small business.

“I come from an immigrant family who arrived in New Zealand from Russia in 1976 with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back. My father is an amazing entrepreneur who has built a number of businesses from scratch in his lifetime. My parents were always talking about business while I was growing up. I used to sit under the dining table listening to their conversations. So, I have been exposed to business and all of its ups and downs from an early age.”

Krawchuk says this early exposure to the world of entrepreneurship has been a key influencer for her as a business woman.

“My parents always created their own products, something new, something no one else did. From this, I learned for a product/business to have longevity it needs to be different, have relevance and truly live up to its promises.”

And the Swaddle Up has this in spades. Since starting her business eight years ago from the family garage, Love to Dream and the Swaddle UP have grown exponentially.

Image: The Swaddle UP is giving 1000s of families the gift of more sleep.

“Our business has grown rapidly,’ says Krawchuk.  “But the growth has been really well managed and controlled. We only started our international expansion two years after starting the brand. This meant we were able to get through any initial teething problems before we went out internationally. This was critical to our success and to our international customers being able to rely on the consistency and quality of the brand.”

Krawchuk is also continually refining her product and testing the market. Her loyal customers are also always happy to provide feedback.

“We have just completed a consumer survey of 1242 mums, 94% of those mums said that the Swaddle UP DOUBLED their babies sleep each night. Every new parent needs more sleep to restore sanity in their day. Our products do this. 100% of these mums would recommend our products to their friends. We don’t say you should buy our products our customers do.”

In August 2017, Krawchuk’s business, Love to Dream, picked up the prestigious Telstra Small Business Award. Krawchuk tells KBB the award is an incredible achievement for the brand.

“We started this business from our garage and eight years on employ 20+ people and export to 45 countries around the world. The Telstra Award has given my husband and I and my amazing team a huge pat on the back. The Telstra award carries such authority and we are very honoured to wear this badge.”

Krawchuk’s top tips anyone wanting to start a small business

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is there a real need for what you are offering
  2. Can you protect its intellectual property
  3. How many people need your product and how often will they buy it
  4. Use the above to do a swot analysis and a feasibility plan
  5. Read the above with scrutiny and then if the idea is financially viable and a lot of people need it the DO IT!
  6. If you do not know how to do it, put funds aside and find a mentor. A good mentor will accelerate your growth.

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