The team at Ausmumpreneur had the privilege of interviewing Eileen Calodoukas, mumpreneur at Sleepy Bub and the creator of an innovative baby sleepsuit. Eileen is also one of the recipients of the 2016 St George Kickstart Grant worth $25,000.
Be inspired by Eileen’s story below :-
Tell us about yourself and your family?
Hi, I’m Eileen Calodoukas, a Sydney based entrepreneur and passionate mother of two beautiful girls, aged 4 and 3. My husband and I live on the Northern Beaches and both of us work predominately from home, which is an absolute blessing! My husband runs his own boutique recruitment agency and I’m about to launch my new business called Sleepy Bub.
Tell us about your business
I initially came up with the SLEEPY BUB innovation while struggling to settle my own babies to sleep (and stay asleep). No matter how well my husband or I our wrapped our babies in a blanket, they kept breaking out and waking up throughout the night and during nap times – a problem so many parents face. That’s when I took it upon myself to design a sleep suit to resolve our dilemma and our patent pending, Australian and USA design registered ZIP-DOWN ARMS worked!
My youngest daughter, Kyra was the first baby to trial the Sleepy Bub prototype. She slept so well in the garment, that I dreaded washing days – standing at the clothes dryer impatiently waiting for the sleep suit to dry.
When other sleep deprived mummies complained about their little ones breaking out of their swaddle blankets, I loaned them the Sleepy Bub prototype and it worked for them too. That’s when I knew I was on to something good. I felt motivated to refine this product, driven by the understanding that, sleeping babies equals sleeping mothers.
Needless to say, I’m incredibly excited about launching Sleepy Bub in June/July 2016!
Our goal is to help mums and their babies get more sleep by keeping their precious ones safely swaddled all night long with one layer of lightweight fabric.
Swaddling is a proven method to help encourage sleep, which is why parents have been swaddling for thousands of years. SLEEPY BUB mimics traditional swaddling by gently holding a baby’s arms down towards their body (bending at the elbow), positioned comfortably away from the face without the use of wraps or blankets that may cause overheating or become unraveled with the risk of suffocation. The sleep suit has also been designed with healthy hip development in mind – super stretchy-fabric that widens at the hips so a baby’s legs can bend up and out at the hips.
It’s awesome knowing that our sleep suit will make sleep-time easier. Parents do not have to be an expert to swaddle their baby to perfection. The zip down arms means a baby can go from playtime to sleep time without having to change – just zip the arms down. When it’s time for swaddle-loving babies to transition to sleeping with arms free, simply unzip the arms according to your baby’s progress for slow or fast transition – 1cm at a time.
Most importantly, experts believe that correct swaddling, along with other safe sleeping techniques, may help reduce the risk of SIDS!
We all know how much of a toll a tired, restless baby has upon the whole family. We trust the Sleepy Bub innovation will help bring sleep back into the family home.
What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always been an ‘ideas person.’ I even have an ideas book where I keep a record of my innovations / inventions. Sometimes I look through the book and laugh, other times I think, ‘wow – these ideas are pretty good!’
I was inspired to start the Sleepy Bub business because the zip-down arms innovation solved a problem I had experienced firsthand, so I knew it worked. When I saw the sleep suit helping other mums, it inspired me to setup our business. It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but through being resolute, patient and taking it one step at a time, I’ve finally made it to launch.
What do you love about being a mumpreneur?
I love being a mumpreneur because I feel like I can have everything I love at once without missing out – motherhood, creativity, business and product development. Yes, it’s hard work trying to have it all, especially when I just want to relax in the evenings (my usual work time). But having all of these things in my life simultaneously makes me feel fulfilled.
Sleep deprivation was the hardest thing I had to face as a mother. It brings tears to my eyes knowing what I’m doing right now may help other mothers avoid those torturous night-time wake-up cries, as their babies breakout of their swaddle blankets. It may not be the answer to all, but it maybe the answer to some.
What are your successes over the past 12 months and what lessons have you learned?
It’s been nearly 5 years since I had the swaddle innovation idea, but I’ve really done all the hard yards in the last 12 months – patents, trademarks, testing, manufacturing, branding, website, business mentoring etc. Each stage has been a learning experience.
The most encouraging success so far is winning the St George Bank Kickstart Awards 2016! It’s the first grant I’ve ever applied for and I felt incredibly honoured to not only pitch at TEDx Sydney, but also win one of the $25K business grants! This is a huge boost to Sleepy Bub and my confidence going forward and we are incredibly thankful to St George Bank for creating this opportunity to help startup businesses succeed.
Any advice to other mums who would like to start a business?
The best advice I received was to ‘think about it’. There is no hurdle that you can’t think your way around. I spent years making up excuses and saying, “I can’t do this because I don’t know how,” instead of using my mind and just thinking, “ Who can I ask? Who do I know? What can I Google?”
Being a business owner means you need to be a good problem solver.
Let’s be honest, we’re only in business because we have solved a problem for our customers e.g. inventing a sleep suit to help babies remain safely swaddled all night long! Let your business purpose drive you to overcome any hurdle that presents itself.
To learn more about Sleepy Bub and how this clever sleep suit can save your sanity, please visit Sleepy Bub below :-
- Website : www.sleepybub.com.au (website launching soon!)
- Facebook : www.facebook.com/sleepybub
- Instagram : www.instagram.com/sleepy_bub
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/hellosleepybub
If you’re looking for someone to walk beside you through the highs and lows of the business journey we’ve just launched the Women’s Business School. A dedicated first of its kind school especially for women in business.
Register your expression of interest here: