Among the myriad challenges of looking after a little human, bedtime is undoubtedly one of the greatest. So imagine a product that effortlessly enables babies and small children to sleep safely and soundly, that can be used anywhere, and which looks ultra-stylish, as well. It may sound too good to be true, but don’t worry – you’re not dreaming.
By Liz Longden | Main image: Aristot. Photo: Eleftherios Michalinos
Sleepyhead® sleep pods have been garnering rave reviews since they first appeared on the market. From Vogue to Mumsnet, from The Independent to Hello! magazine, the plaudits have been unanimous, with reviewers and parents alike wowed by their quality, style and, above all, their effectiveness in helping to settle, soothe and lull little ones to sleep.
The pods are the brainchild of Swedish mother and entrepreneur Lisa Furuland Kotsianis, who now lives with her family in Athens, and who is also the visionary behind the DockATot® baby dock and Aristot® —a range of handmade, customisable heirloom-style bassinets, which has received the Red Dot Design Award and launched exclusively with Harrods in the UK.
When her first child was born, in 2006, Furuland Kotsianis felt that there was nothing on the market to meet the needs of today’s busy, multitasking parents. She therefore set out to design a product that would help babies and small children to settle and sleep safely, and which could also be easily transported, both between rooms and when travelling. As a passionate advocate of co-sleeping and attachment parenting, she was adamant that the product must make it easier and safer for parents to share a bed with their little ones. The result was the Sleepyhead, which provides a snug, comforting and sleep-friendly environment for babies by mimicking the experience of being held securely in the womb.
This in itself would be enough to make the pods a godsend for many a sleep-deprived parent, but Sleepyhead also stands out from the crowd with its aesthetic appeal. Drawing on her background in art, architecture and photography, led by her Scandinavian sensibility for design, and inspired by the stunning natural beauty of her adopted home, Furuland Kotsianis has developed a wide range of beautiful cover designs to complement every aesthetic sensibility and décor. “All parents these days know that, regardless of how much effort goes into creating a beautiful nursery, the reality is that everyday life takes place in the communal portions of the house,” Furuland Kotsianis says. “This is why our products are not eyesores, but instead complement your front room décor and can be embraced even by style aficionados.” She adds: “I truly believe in function paired with fashion; not function at the expense of style.”
Peace of mind for parents
There is more to Sleepyhead pods than just good looks, however. In an increasingly crowded market, rigorous testing and quality assurance ensure that the product remains a cut above the rest. In particular, the brand prides itself on its focus on safety. “We put exhaustive research into the practices, materials and labour that go into the making of our products,” Furuland Kotsianis explains. “There are very few product standards within this segment, but we have gone above and beyond any legal obligations globally to dig out tests, for example for air-permeability, and voluntarily making sure that we adhere.”
The docks and pods are made from 100 per cent breathable and OEKO-TEX certified cotton, are non-heat harbouring and have child-safe zips. A testament to the brand’s reputation for safety and quality is evident in its recently initiated partnership with hospitals, which has seen the Deluxe + model introduced to a number of neonatal units to help make babies feel more secure and less anxious during treatment, scans and examinations.
At the end of the day, however, arguably the best way to judge the product’s performance is to see what parents themselves have to say, and here there is a clear consensus. Sleepyhead, combined with DockATot and Aristot, represent the world’s largest social media following within juvenile products – a globally unprecedented achievement. And, in addition to rave reviews in the media and a number of high-profile celebrity fans, the brand has acquired a legion of loyal fans made up of ordinary mums and dads. It is word-of-mouth endorsements from these parents above all, Furuland Kotsianis says, that have helped fuel Sleepyhead’s stratospheric rise to must-have accessory.
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate that much of our marketing success comes from the mums who use and love Sleepyhead and DockATot,” she says. “They are so passionate about the product and how their family has benefited from it, that they literally can’t keep it to themselves. The number of people sharing their sleep success stories with us is nothing short of amazing.”