Lisa Furuland, the founder of Sleepyhead of Sweden, talks motherhood, business and an exciting new project launching this year
What inspired you to set up Sleepyhead of Sweden?
When my first son, Ilias, was born in 2006, I searched unsuccessfully for an alternative to a blanket, a cot and a baby lounger. I wanted something that essentially mimicked the womb, something cosy and completely safe. We were (and sometimes still are!) a co-sleeping family, so I wanted something that would enable us to do this with confidence. That’s when I was inspired to create something new in the baby and children’s industry – Sleepyhead.
What did you do before you set up the business?
I studied art history at Stockholm University, and professional photography and architecture education at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Alongside academia I freelanced in subtitling, and became a founder of an international localisation company that provides dubbing, subtitling and media solutions in any language.
Were your children an inspiration for the brand?
I have two boys, Illias and Troy, who are not just the inspiration behind the brand, but my inspiration for most things. I think it’s important for my sons to have a strong feminine role model, and I enjoy sharing my successes with them, especially since they have been my muse and motivation. Their father, my husband Costa is another significant pillar on which my universe rests.
Describe a typical day for you.
After sending my kids off to school, I head to the office and am at my desk for the entire day taking calls, approving designs, answering emails and making sure operations run smoothly. At some point during the day I try to make time for a workout, whether that be some simple stretches, hiking or swimming.
What is your advice for anyone wanting to start a business?
You’ve got to make sure you have a service or product that fulfils a purpose and fits a gap in the market. Sleepyhead created a new genre of product for the nursery industry. Setting up a business that works is incredibly rewarding and has some amazing benefits, but there is a lot more work involved than meets the eye. There is no such thing as a whole day off, or holidays without work. So be prepared to work hard, but also try to enjoy what you do.
What has been your proudest moment since setting up?
I knew we had made it big when our social media started growing fast, with mums and celebrities recommending the product to one another. And we have won numerous awards for innovation, functionality and design.
What are your plans for 2018?
Last year we unveiled our latest invention, the CloudTot, at the ABC Kids Expo and CES in Las Vegas, and it will be launching later this year. It allows you to track baby’s movement and breathing with two revolutionary patent-pending features. The first, the Pep Pegs device, gently nudges baby awake and alerts parents if no movement (meaning no breathing) is detected for 12 seconds. The second offers moisture detection via special conductive fabric and an app that tells you when baby has wet the bed. This smart accessory will also check on baby’s room temperature and play white noise tracks. We are very excited for CloudTot’s release!