Meet Hana-Lia Krawchuk. She’s using her experiences to help make future generations dealing with newborns (a lot) easier. Hana-Lia is the founder of Love To Dream and inventor of all the products in their newborn to toddler sleep system. She’s also wife to Gavin and mama to Elijah (10) and Isla (6).
Tell us about your business/current role?
I am the very proud founder of Love To Dream and inventor of all the products in our newborn to toddler sleep system.
We design and manufacture garments that help improve babies sleep, namely Swaddles, Transition Swaddles and Sleep Suits. Our newest products cater for infants being treated with hip dysplasia and are based on the award-winning and patented ARMS UP™ design for self-soothing of our traditional swaddles proven to improve babies sleep. A recent survey showed that 83% of our customers believe that Swaddle UP has doubled their baby’s sleep.
I primarily look after the product development and legal matters side of the business and share the strategic and sales management responsibility with my husband Gavin. Gavin additionally manages the marketing and finance team.
Where did the concept for this come from?
When our first child was born, my husband’s and my life was transformed forever. It was a time of immense joy and immense sleeplessness. Elijah did not sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time for 18 months! I was desperate for a solution to get more sleep. I noticed that he slept better while swaddled but would always unravel the swaddling cloth during sleep time and his hands would end up out of the wrap and above his head. He slept better in this arms up position. Coming from a fashion design background I knew there could be a better way to design a swaddle garment that was snug but would still allow him to sleep in his natural position with his arms comfortably up by his face.
Arms up meant that he could suck on his hands or rub on his cheeks to comfort himself. We now call this self-soothing. Self-soothing is what a baby does to calm down, fall asleep and stay asleep for longer. No other swaddle in the market place allowed babies to do that. Many other swaddle makers promote that babies sleep with their arms strapped to their bodies. Now I do not know any human beings who wants to sleep with their arms strapped to their body. To me it seems so unnatural. So I knew there had to be a better way!
What’s your business background?
I studied Fashion and Textile Design and then went to work for a company called Aboud Apparel. Here I had an incredible boss who let me use my intuition and design skills to run his womenswear division. It was through his trust and mentorship that I learnt many aspects of running a manufacturing business.
Who were your mentors along the way?
My first boss of seven years Barry Aboud from Aboud Apparel – Barry hired me as a green 21 year old straight out of uni and believed in me. I was tasked with the National Sales Manager role for Womenswear. I worked with everyone from your tiny country stores to David Jones and Best & Less. This role gave me great exposure to the low and high end of the apparel market.
My husband is also a wonderful mentor. He has successfully worked for himself and organisations such at Arnotts and Unilever and he brought a lot of his knowledge across to Love To Dream and this has been instrumental in our success.
Lastly my parents have been a huge inspiration to me, also business people they always saw the world through rose coloured glasses, never fearful of risk. It is that positivity that has helped shape my optimism for the present and future.
What time does a typical day start for you?
7am wake up. Thank goodness my kids are old enough now not to wake me at crazy o’clock.
Who does the cooking and cleaning at your house?
My husband and I love to cook so we share that responsibility. But most nights I would not call it cooking though, we slap together a 3 minute steak and a salad and that is dinner!
I finally made the decision to employ a cleaner. It’s been my biggest saviour and number one indulgence. It’s helped me to balance running a small business but most importantly gives me more time with my family. I know it’s a fortunate position to be in, but if you can get some extra help it’s definitely worth it.
If you have 10 minutes to yourself, what do you like to do?
I love to watch Dragons Den the UK version of Shark Tank.
What do you do for childcare?
My kids are at school full time so this makes childcare much easier than in the early days.
Do your kids do many extracurricular activities?
Two nights a week is our limit!
What do you do for fun as a family?
We really love the beach, my son and husband surf so we are usually chasing waves somewhere.
What is your favourite thing to do for date night with your partner?
We love finding cheap and cheerful holes in the wall to eat dinner and then go for a relaxing Thai foot massage!
What is your favourite local place to visit?
I really love the very South End of Maroubra beach. It feels like you’re on a holiday on the South Coast somewhere, no buildings in sight and it is never crowded.
How about favourite place to eat out as a family?
We love Korean barbeque, Madang in the City is great. It is fun for the kids to cook their own food and we love introducing them to new flavours and cultures.
Where do you head to when you get time for a girls’ night out?
Blanca in Bondi. Sublime food and great relaxed atmosphere.
What is your best beauty tip for mums?
Nu Skin, I know it’s an MLM scheme which I usually don’t go near but the skin products are life changing.
Favourite place to shop (locally and online)?
I love combining budget pieces of jewellery from Lovisa with special wardrobe pieces from Sass and Bide. The inexpensive jewellery makes me feel better about the expensive clothing!
Must-have parenting tip or tool?
Make a time in the week where you spend one on one time walking with each of your kids. Walking is mindless and the kids have your full attention so they tell you what is on their mind and going on in their life. This is the most special time of my week.
Can you share any tips on finding the right work/life balance?
I think we’re all always searching for the perfect work/life balance. It’s the ultimate life goal! But at the end of the day, life goes in peaks and troughs. Outsourcing the cleaning and grocery shopping online definitely helps my husband and I. Managing the number of events and weekend activities the kids go to also helps a lot and gives us more time to connect as a family. Really savour your spare time rather than spending it in the car running from activity to activity.
How do you stay motivated in your career?
Every year we help millions of families around the world get more sleep. Every day we receive consumer feedback and testimonials that tell us we have transformed their families’ life for the better. There is nothing more motivating than helping others through some of life’s toughest moments. This is what drives me and our entire team.