It can feel like torture for a new mother and her baby...
Sleep deprivation, which has the potential to be so debilitating that terrorists have used it to break their enemies, is an issue that can jeopardize the crucial bond that naturally wants to form and flourish between mom and baby.
“It’s like being locked up in a prison cell only worse,” says Elina Furman, a mother whose first son was born with colic and couldn’t sleep without being constantly rocked. “You have so much anxiety when your baby doesn’t sleep because you never know when he or she is going to wake you up. It can happen any minute- you just never know which can be maddening.”
It can also lead to depression.
Sleep-deprived mothers, especially first-time mothers, often begin to wonder what they’re doing wrong when their baby isn’t sleeping.
Furman experienced this hell first hand.
But right before her second son was born Furman, who operates a digital media property catering to mothers, received an unsolicited package in the mail. “I thought what is this big fluffy pillow for,” she recalls.
It turns out it wasn’t a pillow at all.
“It was a miracle,” Furman says. “I’d pay triple whatever it cost because it worked. It helped my baby sleep which means I got to sleep and there’s no price a mother won’t pay for sleep.”
So what was this miracle that helped Furman’s little miracle rest so soundly?
It was actually an innovative category creating product that would ultimately earn such rave reviews.
Even sleep deprived mothers dying to believe initially couldn’t.
Moms See Through Hype
If a dock is known as a safe harbor for boats…
Doesn’t a baby deserve its own type of dock to protect and keep it safe?
That’s the metaphor that came to Lisa Furuland’s mind after giving birth to her first child and not being able to find the perfect lounging product to meet his needs. “When my son Ilias was born I searched unsuccessfully for an alternative to the blanket, the cot, and the baby lounger. I am passionate about co-sleeping and wanted to create something that would help moms who are too,” Furuland says. “I craved something more snug and at the same time more versatile.”
So Furuland created it herself.
It’s called the DockATot, a multi-functional lounging, playing, resting and snuggling dock mothers can take anywhere to feed, soothe, and bond with their baby.
“Lisa is a perfectionist and wanted to create the perfect product, and that’s exactly what she did. She spent an inordinate amount of time perfecting and honing the product, making sure every zipper pull, hang tag, and material was the right one and safety testing it above and beyond any required standards. During my time running a website for Moms, I reviewed probably 2,000 products and this was the only one I could honestly say I would have purchased three times over.” says Furman, who loved the DockATot she received from Furuland so much when Furuland was looking to launch in the US, she agreed to work with Furuland to market it.
“Immediately after a baby is born is the fourth trimester which is the first time the baby has been outside the womb. The DockATot is designed to create a womb-like experience because babies don’t like to be separated from their mothers.”
The first year is crucial for babies and mothers.
The company, which spent large sums of money testing and ensuring DockATot is safe and breathable, suggests when a baby sleeps soundly its first year it also:
- Eats betters
- Grows better
- Develops better overall
“There’s a symbiotic relationship between mother and baby,” Furman says. “When one hurts the other feels it but when one is happy we know the other is happy as well.”
The DockATot may be a category creating baby product company, but its mission is to help both babies and mothers. “When I put my little one in it he just slept for hours,” Furman says. “I knew I couldn’t go through the sleep deprivation I experienced with my first son so I felt obligated to tell other mothers about it because it changed my life.”
The influencer marketing in which Furman initially engaged yielded the type of reviews for which a startup dreams:
Customers called the DockATot magic for the way it helped their babies sleep for hours on end. “Mothers would write to us and say DockATot saved their lives or even their marriages,” Furman says.
“Using social media has been a huge strategy for us,” notes Furuland. “Once one mom falls in love with DockATot and she shares it, then it’s like a domino effect. Getting your baby to sleep for long periods of time is no easy task and that’s something moms want to share.”
But that actually became a bit of a problem when DockATot, which initially launched in Europe, eventually launched in the U.S..
“You can’t make empty promises to moms,” Furman says. “They don’t believe the media or marketing and in some cases, they actually thought the reviews were too good to be true.”
The matter required a platform with the flexibility to both educate and allow wary mothers to easily and safely purchase DockATot.
It would also result in a success of such magnitude that DockATot worried key partners would wind up angry at the company for causing them to work so hard to meet demand.
Helping Mothers & Profiting
When you’ve created a brand new category…
And the reviews are so good that skeptical mothers in the U.S. aren’t sure if the reviews are authentic…
The only person who can earn a mother’s trust is another mother.
“We were victims of our own success but thankfully new mothers are willing to dig deep for the truth,” Furman says. “They believe other mothers who say they sleep eight hours a night.”
Hence it was DockATot’s influencer marketing, evangelist mothers in love with the product and its results, who began to convince mothers in the U.S. the product really was as multi-functional as the company promises.
“Our biggest challenge with a new product category is education,” Furman says. “Mothers can put their babies in a DockATot and co-sleep with it, use it to transport a baby to the beach or grandma’s house, or use it as a safe way to cuddle with their baby.”
“I knew that as soon as mothers would get this product in their hands, feel and touch the quality of the materials that are all handmade in Europe, and finally gain peace of mind knowing that their babies were resting comfortably, they would want to spread the word and it would catch on,” explains Furuland.
Fifteen months after launching on Shopify, DockATot was experiencing accelerated revenue growth and needed a platform that could scale on demand to handle the volume. So in September of 2016, it upgraded to Shopify Plus, an enterprise-level ecommerce solution for high volume merchants.
“We love Shopify,” Furman says. “The themes are beautiful, it’s so easy to use, and we can provide the content and multimedia necessary to educate mothers about a new category while simultaneously offering a fantastic customer experience.”
The company describes its growth as insane:
- Month over month revenue has quadrupled
- Sales have grown 2,000% since the company launched in the U.S.
- It’s first ever sale resulted in 1,200-orders in one day
“The sale was phenomenal,” Furman says. “It was such a success our fulfillment partner probably hates us because it had to scramble and work overtime to meet demand.”
The ease with which third party applications and vendors can integrate with Shopify Plus is also generating massive ROI. For instance, DockATot partners with Referral Candy, which provides software that powers rewards programs for ecommerce merchants, to customize its rewards program so moms benefit a variety of ways.
“Moms who become DockATot evangelists often become obsessed with the product and want to tell other moms about it just like I did,” Furman says.
Each referral that results in a DockATot purchase earns the referring mothers five dollars. Some of the top evangelists, according to Furman, are responsible for two hundred DockATot sales and have earned five times the amount of their own DockATot purchase.
“They’re helping other moms and profiting,” Furman says. “It’s like having our own massive salesforce that’s significantly more credible than anyone else.”
Is My Baby Still Breathing?
Unfortunately, it’s a question new mothers often ask themselves.
However, it’s one mothers all over the world may soon be able to immediately answer even if their babies are sleeping in another room or spending the night with relatives. DockATot, fresh off earning top product of the year honors and taking calls from big box retailers dying to carry the product, is planning to launch four new products in the next six months including these two:
- The DockATot Toy Arch- a product that fits over existing DockATots and builds on the product’s functionality by transforming it into a play area
- The CloudTot™- A smart monitor system that works with existing docks and revolutionizes the product in two ways; a) a movement monitor alerts a mother’s smartphone if a baby goes 12-seconds without moving and proactively nudges the baby in an effort to alert them b) conductive fabric that can detect when a baby is wet and immediately alerts a mother via smartphone
It means the gift of sleep...
Will now be accompanied by peace of mind for mothers desperate for both.
“It’s inspiring to market this product and work alongside Lisa,” Furman says. “This has changed the course of my life, and I’m excited to change the lives of other mothers as well.”