When Tara Williams and her husband were both laid off, they had 4 kids under 5. Needless to say, it was a difficult situation. They were very stressed and, with several small children, very sleep-deprived.
But Tara had an idea for a product, and thought it might work. She created the first weighted sleep sack, and not only did she help her own children sleep better, today she’s helped over 500,000 families sleep better. Her company, Dreamland Baby, is on track to do $25 million in revenue this year.
Keep reading to find out:
- How she got the idea in the first place
- How she created the first prototype
- What happened after she made a few samples
- What happened when she went on Shark Tank
- Her top marketing strategies
- Her opinion on SEO
- How she grows her email list
- What the content creation process looks like
- How long it took her to achieve her current revenue
- Her favorite resources and tools
- The biggest challenge she’s faced
- Her greatest accomplishment
- Her main mistake
- Her advice for other entrepreneurs
Meet Tara Williams
My name is Tara Williams, and I’m the founder and CEO of Dreamland Baby.
In 2018, when I couldn’t find a weighted blanket for my 6-month-old son to safely wear to help him sleep, I decided to create my own. The result revolutionized the baby sleep industry and became the first doctor-approved, evenly-weighted wearable sleep sack.
After an appearance on Shark Tank, my weighted sleep solutions quickly became a new parent must-have. Dreamland products are now available at top retailers, Nordstroms, Target, Amazon, Babylist, and more, helping hundreds of thousands of babies (and their families) worldwide get the sleep they need!
Before taking on this entrepreneurial endeavor, I spent 10+ years in the medical device industry in business development, marketing and sales. I currently live in Danville, CA, with my husband and 4 children, and I consider the company my 5th baby.
Why She Created Dreamland Baby
My lightbulb moment came when my fourth child, Luke, was nearly 6 months old and still waking up every 1.5 hours.
One night, I placed a heavy throw blanket over his body while sitting on the couch. As soon as the weight was on him, I noticed that he instantly calmed down. A lightbulb went off in my head: “He needs a weighted blanket!”
I immediately went online to try and order a weighted sleep sack, but nothing wearable existed! I knew that I needed to create my own! I called my mother-in-law to sew my idea, a weighted blanket my baby could safely wear. The first night wearing the prototype, Luke slept 12 hours!
We couldn’t believe how quickly his sleep improved. Word quickly spread, and I was flooded with requests from friends and family for my mother-in-law to make a weighted sack for them.
Because it took her 15 hours to complete, she said, “absolutely not”! But it was so clear there was a need for this product. My next step was to hire a local seamstress to make 10 gently weighted sacks.
I gave them out to parents struggling with their baby’s sleep. The feedback was amazing: 9 out of 10 babies had the same incredible sleep success we had in just 1 to 7 nights.
From here, I knew I had to bring this to market. I remembered the desperate, sleepless nights I experienced and didn’t want other parents to go through the same thing. I’m still in awe that our doctor-approved, safety-certified, gently weighted sacks are helping families worldwide achieve better sleep.
How Much Tara Williams is Earning
We cannot share our monthly revenue, but we can tell you we’re on track to hit $25 million in 2022. We sell our products on Dreamland Baby and at retailers such as Nordstrom, Target, Buy Buy Baby, Pottery Barn, and many more!
We have an amazing sales team that pitches our products to retailers. The key is always following up and keeping them in the loop on new products, PR hits, and other retail placements.
Tara Williams’ Top Marketing Strategy
Our best strategy is to use Facebook ads to reach our audience of sleep-deprived parents.
One unique thing about our business in terms of marketing is the high percentage of word-of-mouth marketing, where parents tell other parents about their sleep success.
The Importance of SEO for Tara Williams
SEO is important for parents who are searching for a sleep solution. We utilize it to reach our audience, particularly through informative blog posts.
We appreciate the benefits of link building and want to lean into it more in 2023.
Her Email List
We grow our email list mostly from existing customers, social media, and strategic collaborations with other brands in our industry. The number of emails we send depends on the week and what type of promotions we have going on, but it’s usually around 3.
Tara Williams’ Content Creation Process
We work with a team of amazing designers and copywriters to create our content and utilize social media and paid ads to amplify it. We post on social media several times a day.
Achieving Current Revenue Levels
Our company has grown 250% year-over-year since launch, so every month is our highest revenue month. Dreamland Baby was originally created in 2019.
Tara Williams’ Favorite Resources
I love listening to podcasts and learning from people who have already done it!
One of my favorites is “How I Built This” with Guy Raz. It’s inspirational to hear how multimillion-dollar brands got their start.
I also watched all the Shark Tank episodes to inspire and hear other entrepreneurs’ stories.
When I first started, I read books on social media, SEO, business finance, etc. I also recommend taking some of the Shopify masterclasses. And, of course, I’d recommend the Dreamland Baby podcast that I host called The Mom Manual. It’s full of actionable tips for moms and entrepreneurs.
Her 3 Most Useful Tools
The tools we use the most are Slack, Gusto, and bill.com. These help us run our business efficiently and communicate effectively. Gusto is a payroll software that we utilize to pay full-time and contract employees. It also manages our healthcare and employee benefits program.
We use bill.com to automate our company finances and to ensure we’re paying people on time and staying on top of our spending, payables, etc.
Her Greatest Challenge
We launched at the end of 2019, so by far, our biggest challenge was shipping and logistics. The global shipping crisis hit us hard but provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about inventory management and production.
We also learned the importance of forecasting to ensure that you always have stock. The worst thing for an e-commerce company like ours is to be in a low-stock position and waiting on shipments to arrive.
Her Proudest Accomplishment
Without a doubt, it’s helping over 500,000 families (and counting) achieve a better night’s sleep. Nothing makes me prouder than to know our brand gives parents their lives back. We get so much feedback from our customers that our products have changed their lives. Our work is extremely rewarding!
What Tara Wishes She Knew When She Started
I quickly learned that, when running your own business, there will always be a “crisis,” from a shipping delay to a change in the production schedule to a partner canceling an email collaboration at the last minute.
I wish I had known early on that these “bumps” are just part of building a business, and it’s important not to sweat the small stuff!
Her Biggest Mistake
When things go wrong, and trust me, they will, I look to the vision board sitting in my office and cling to this quote by Walt Disney: “The difference in winning and losing is most often…. not quitting.”
With my first round of manufacturing, our weighted sacks were critically short. At the time, those 1,000 units seemed like the end of the world. I cried so many nights, trying to figure out how we could fix them or manage customer expectations. But now, I’m ordering 20,000 units in one order. Imagine if I hadn’t made that mistake early on?
Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
My advice is only to do something you truly believe in.
After that, it’s about surrounding yourself with people who share your passion and bring different perspectives and expertise to the company. These people will be your guideposts and help you make the decisions that will impact the company’s success.