From the beginning of time, exhausted new parents have struggled to find ways to lull their babies to sleep. So when Love to Dream founder Hana Lia- Krawchuk had her son in 2008, she was determined to find a solution and developed a sleep swaddle. Since then, the Australian brand has grown into an award-winning business and attracted investment from Quadrant in 2019. Here Lia-Krawchuk discusses the growth of her business and its product innovation. Inside Retail: How did Covid impact Love t
e to Dream? Hana-Lia Krawchuk: The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, particularly expectant and new parents. Our e-commerce site and digital platforms experienced spikes during lockdown as parents and parents-to-be sought out information and support to help their babies and children sleep, and to buy the swaddles and sleepwear they needed for their little ones. IR: What are some of the ways that the business has evolved since last year? HK: We’ve always strived to be best in class relevant for everything: processes, systems, design, people and, of course, technology. When Covid hit, we were pretty well set up to work from home but it was untested at that point. The switch wasn’t perfect but it worked really well and we fine-tuned quickly. Like all businesses, we have learnt a lot and our team has been incredible at pivoting fast when needed. We have evolved in many ways, especially around our processes, which are now paperless, we have more customer-centric platforms and we put a microscope over our entire e-commerce ecosystem to ensure we are always where we need to be tomorrow rather than today. IR: What have been some of the interesting things that you’ve gathered about your customers, who are often first-time parents? HK: New parents are grappling with so many things when a newborn comes into their world. Brands really need to take the time to care for each individual customer and support them during what can be a really rewarding but complex time. If there is one thing that has changed for customers, it’s that they expect great customer service on the spot — this is the same for all industries but especially true for parents who are sleep-deprived and have zero free time. IR: Love to Dream is known for its product innovation and its sleep swaddles. Can you tell me about your product development process and what your plans are to continue evolving? HK: Love To Dream continues its global expansion, providing more families with sleepwear solutions to help their babies and toddlers sleep safer, better and longer. All of our products are designed around the purest goal of helping babies and toddlers get more sleep. Virtually everyone in the team has kids between the ages of one and 15, so if we’re not in the thick of it, we’ve all been there! We draw on our own experiences when designing for innovation. IR: Love to Dream received some funding recently. How has that been tracking and what are your plans for that investment? HK: The funding has really enabled us to essentially accelerate our overall brand strategy, which has been the same since day one: bring better, safer, longer sleep to more parents all over the world. To do this, it requires investment in systems, people, process and product development. Our goal at Love To Dream is to really make a difference by delivering more sleep to as many families around the globe. With the considered investment we’re able to better deliver on that each and everyday. IR: Tell me about the new Love to Dream series, what’s it involved and why you decided to launch it? HK: Since we launched Love To Dream, we’ve helped millions of sleep-deprived parents around the world achieve safer, better, longer sleep for their babies and toddlers. However, I wanted to find a way to help more. I didn’t want other parents feeling lost or not knowing where to turn when their baby wasn’t sleeping. I knew that parents need easy-to-read advice in the one spot. And we’ve done just that with our new free, digital resource, the Love To Dream Sleep Series. We know all babies are different, so the Love To Dream Sleep Series is designed to help parents find what works best for their baby and family. The Love To Dream Sleep Series has been developed in conjunction with qualified paediatric health and sleep experts including infant sleep expert Genevieve Titov, sleep angel and ICU nurse Courtney Halavaka, midwife and registered nurse Edwina Sharrock, and specialist paediatrician Dr Jonny Taitz. As part of liaising with these sleep experts, Dr Jonny Taitz, shared with us that every week he saw new parents who are struggling with their newborn’s sleep and in a lot of cases they don’t know where to go for the right information to help. Through the resource, parents learn about how babies sleep, tips for settling their baby and practical information for laying the foundations for healthy sleep patterns. The Love To Dream Sleep Series gives parents the knowledge and tools all in the one place to give them the confidence to help their baby sleep. It includes advice on establishing a daytime rhythm, setting up the ideal sleep environment, how to respond to tired signs and what to do when it all goes pear shaped. IR: Love to Dream has created a community of hardcore fans. What are some of the ways that you nurture that community? HK: Our number one company value is sharing the love, it’s that simple. This starts with high-quality, innovative products and flows right through to customer service. We really listen to our customers and take all feedback on board to constantly deliver above expectations. Though I think the X-factor for us is having the most amazing people on our team across the company. We’re all parents; we get it and we really care. There’s almost nothing we won’t do to help a parent out. IR: It’s interesting how sleep has become an industry in itself within the baby category. How would you describe it at the moment? HK: Everybody knows that when a new baby comes, your sleep goes! I have experienced extreme sleep deprivation and the detrimental effects first hand. I think new parents have always focused on sleep and how to preserve it as much as they can. Though I think what has happened in the past few years is that we’ve just started to understand more about the science of our own sleep, what happens when we sleep, how important it is and how to get better sleep. There is so much more information readily available to parents today than there was even two years ago. It can be quite overwhelming so we do our best to distil the important elements into simple, clear communications that new parents can relate to. IR: What are your plans for the business, including local and international expansion in 2021? HK: We want Love To Dream to be as successful in all international markets as we are in Australia. We’re investing heavily in growing our incredibly talented Australian team, systems and processes to deliver the Love To Dream ‘secret sauce’ to parents around the world.