Michelle is the founder of Sleep Tight Babies Australia. She is a mum of four beautiful children who believes sleep is not just important for baby but also for mums and the whole family. Her business specialises in sleep products and stocks some of the most popular products such as Lulla Doll.
What was your biggest challenge when starting up your own business?
Learning everything at once, sales, accounting, advertising and product acquisition.
What business advice would you give to a mamma starting out?
Start off small so you can learn from any mistakes you make without jeopardising your entire business. It also helps to get your expenditure and cash flow in check.
What has been your greatest business achievement so far?
Television appearances right across Australia for the Lulla Doll. We appeared on the Today Show on Sunday morning which is one of the highest ranked TV shows. The response and sales were incredible.
Why did you begin Sleep Tight Babies?
I have 4 children and my last two were only 16 months apart. I had already experienced juggling 2 between day care and school drop off and pickups I wasn’t interested in doing that with 4 children.
What would be your first sleep tip for a new mum?
Watch the video (5 steps to a happy baby) by Dr Harvey Karp … it’s priceless and make sure you swaddle your baby if you can! Two of my four were swaddled and by far out slept my unswaddled babies.
What are some myths about baby/toddler sleep you often get asked about?
Mums are told not to introduce a sleep aid as the child will always need it to sleep. Dummies, swaddles, comforters and white noise are all sleep aids that are often life savers for mum and are not a requirement for a 16 year old to go to sleep LOL.
A positive sleep association is anything that helps your baby sleep. It becomes a negative sleep association when it no longer suits mum and dad e.g. a dummy falling out of a baby’s mouth and waking the baby all through the night is no longer positive and then it is time to ditch the dummy or teach baby to find it on their own.
What is your most popular sleep question?
Am I too late to introduce a comforter? No, comforters are perfect from 6-7 months (following safe sleep guidelines) onward which coincides with the time that most babies start experiencing separation anxiety. Many babies will grow up with their comforter, needed for security until they are 5.
What age did you find most challenging (sleep related) with your own children?
Many mums say, I ordered a product but now my baby is sleeping fine. My own experience with my children is that sleep is up and down until the age of 6 years! Of course, there are more difficult times in that period and if I had to pinpoint a time I would say the 8 month regression.
Why is Lulla such a popular sleep aid?
The Lulla Doll is the ONLY comforter on the market that plays sounds for 12 hours non stop. It is not a machine that has to be plugged into the wall and it is not cry-activated (we all know that once the crying starts, the chance of resettling is very slim!) All babies sleep in cycles of approx. 40 minutes which is when most other sound making devices or comforters turn off! It’s actually a very simple scientific fact that most manufacturers tend to miss.
Mum life questions
What is your number 1 piece of advice for a new mum?
RELAX and enjoy every moment, you have 18 summers with this baby.
What was the worst advice you received as a mum?
All of my children were in the lower percentile for their weight. The health nurses made me so paranoid about whether my babies were getting enough breast milk. I decided for number 3 and 4 that I wasn’t going to a health nurse other than for the milestone checks. My eldest is now 17 years old and 6ft 7.
How have you changed as a mum/business owner?
As a mum, even though my 3rd and 4th never went to daycare, I do have more guilt about whether my time with the children is focussed, as the business is very time consuming. As a business owner, the growth in my knowledge on all aspects of this business, even blows my mind.
What was your most challenging mum moment?
It’s weird, my mind flashes to my own mum. She endured the loss of a child (I was 5 at the time) and my sister had a stroke when she was 8. When I had my first child, I grieved for my lost brother and grieved for what my parents went through when my sister was ill and woke with a disability. Anything that has happened with my own children or as a mother, pales in comparison.
What does a day in the life of Sleep Tight Babies look like?
5.45am UP and make 4 kids lunches. Big kids do the ironing and the little kids unload the dishwasher
7.00am Drive to school (it’s my 17 year old’s driving lesson and I’m pretty proud about how far he has come in a manual car)
8.30am at the Office
8.40am Have a coffee with my right hand lady and work work work
12pm Australia Post Pick up
12.15 My right hand lady and I bike around the block (it’s a beach and it’s beautiful, our 15 min highlight) eat lunch, usually at the desk.
2.30pm drive and pick up the kids - basketball, tutors and swimming quite often
4pm Homework and reading and get more work done!
5.30pm Make dinner
7.30pm Youngest two are asleep and I do another hour of social media
8.30 watching Netflix with hubby and 17 year old - he leaves this year :(
What is the next step for Sleep Tight Babies?
Focus on the distribution side of Sleep Tight Babies. Grow our new business (Sleepytot) with my best school buddy of 36 years. We have just bought the Sleepytot brand and we have created two new characters and just completed our first production … very proud! The UK has sold out already!
What is you next life goal?
I want to walk the Camino De Santiago with my husband as soon as I can! He is walking the PCT (5 months walking from Mexico to Canada) with my son in his gap year next year!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Liquorice, chocolate and anything else with sugar. I don’t have time for beauticians and I have never had my eyebrows, or eyelashes done. Might be on the treat list for my right-hand lady and I this Christmas!
Anything else you would love to share?
I worked as a Detector Drug Dog handler for Australian Customs for 13 years! A far cry from what I do now but gees …. I loved that job too!
Check out her products below