I love chatting to fellow small-biz owners about what gets them going and what grinds their gears about being your own boss. I have created a series of Q&As with some of my fave small brand owners in the hope we can share some behind the scenes insight into our lives as women in business.
I met the lovely ladies of Sleep Thief at a pop-up market in London - their range of organic sleepsuits are ethically made in the UK and designed to last, just like Dinki Human. Hooray!
Who are ya?
We are Sophie and Effie, two mums on a mission to shake up the baby clothing world and bring ease, innovation and sustainability to the forefront of parents' choices!
How and when did you come up with the idea for Sleep Thief?
We met at antenatal classes in our local area when we were pregnant at the end of 2016. Forced friendship quickly blossomed into true friendship, and many a coffee session ensued which often ended with a moan about how annoying poppers on baby clothes are! So, we decided to take matters into our own hands!
Neither of us had any background in fashion (Sophie was in Sports Hospitality and Effie in Corporate Law), so we set to researching and learning about the fashion industry straight away. It was during this research that we recognised the need for innovation in baby clothing (it seemed to be an untouched area) and we were also shocked by the environmental impact that fashion was having on the world in which we were bringing up our Sleep Thieves.
So it was from this period of testing and researching that Sleep Thief was truly born. Our Mischiefsuit was the product of our first endeavours and we are really proud of it: we have created a 100% organic cotton baby grow with an ankle-to-ankle zip placement for super easy changing - innovation and care for the environment wrapped into one little babysuit.
What 3 things do you enjoy most in your job as Sleep Thief Boss Ladies?
1. The best thing for me is that I can work with my bestie but also get to watch my daughters grow up.
2. I love how much I've already learnt and am learning as the company expands.
3. Seeing our product in the news really gets me smiling!
1. The flexibility around looking after my daughter and being my own boss, I do not do well from being micromanaged!
2. Working with one of my best friends every day, so far we haven't had any major bust ups (famous last words...!)
3. I feel like I have learned so much in the last couple of years, it's been really good to use my brain, which was definitely turning to mush!
What 3 things do you enjoy least?
1. Whilst I get to watch my daughters grow up, it also means I struggle with allocating proper time to working! There never seems to be enough time in the day.
2. How secretive the fashion industry is - it took us so long to find a factory we love because people don't like to share their sources (another thing we're looking to change!).
3. Our constant battle with social media - gaining followers, losing followers, likes, unlikes... It's never-ending!
1. Realising that not everyone thinks like you when trying to explain things, stuff definitely gets lost in translation sometimes!
2. I'm very impatient so waiting to see our Mischiefsuits come to life was torturous!
3. I couldn't agree with Effie more about the secretiveness of the fashion world, some people are lovely and super helpful, whereas others are..... less so....
Any advice for anyone starting out in the world of small biz ownership?
Effie: Go for it. If you really and truly believe in the product/service that you are supplying, then it can only succeed. Make sure you have some mentors/friends on hand to tell you if things are great/shit and tell it like it is. Reality checks are hard but really important. Also, be prepared to take the rough with the smooth: we are now prepared for our crap days because we know that they'll soon be followed by great days!
Sophie: As long as you aren't going to plunge yourself in to total poverty then definitely just take the leap. You will never ever be ready to but take the plunge and just go for it, you will learn and make mistakes a long the way. We have definitely made a few! Also, always confirm everything in writing, I have definitely learnt that the hard way!
What are your hopes and dreams for the future of Sleep Thief? Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?
Effie: We want to be the household name for innovative and fun baby clothing! We want to be stocked in stores all over the world with lots of fun collections and products!
In 3 years' time I can see myself shacked up in a little beach house in Greece where I work from in the summer, watching my girls running around on the sand and seeing my work baby expanding into the big, wide world! With Sophie on video call of course or, even better, sitting next to me drinking a cocktail!
Sophie: I would love to see Sleep Thief as a household name, with lots of fun designs and patterns. We are building up our key products at the moment but want to make sure that they are always a bit different to everything else on the market. Once we have them I am going to let me pattern designing imagination run wild! I will also have a dog by then I hope!
What’s your favourite breakfast?
Effie: I've just given birth and when I was pregnant it was just a bowl of Weetos with ice cold milk. I think it still is for the moment! Wish I could say something trendy like smashed avo but give me the chocolate cereal any day!
Sophie: My favourite breakfast has to be a fry-up with fresh coffee and orange juice on the side, I am very greedy and can't help myself when it comes to bacon!
Where can we find you?
Online at www.sleepthiefbaby.com and Instagram @sleepthiefbaby
Click here to read other posts from this Q&A Series.
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