Tara’s founding story can only be described as tragedy to triumph. There are a lot of things that parents worry about before the birth of their 4th child, one of them most don’t think too much about is being laid off from their job of 15 years the day before baby arrives. But that is exactly what happened to Tara’s husband, Rob. Then, the unthinkable, just two months after baby Luke arrived, while still on maternity leave, Tara was also laid off from her job.
Tara was overwhelmed with 4 children, 5 and under, a baby that just wouldn’t sleep, her husband being laid off and she too being laid off, while still on maternity leave.
Sleep deprived and panic stricken (they had just nearly drained their bank account, renovating their forever home), the budgeting began. Tara and Rob knew a similar position for Rob was rare and he would be out of work for 9-12 months, so they paired down their spending to gas and groceries only.
Rob began urging Tara to cut her maternity leave short and get back to work. She had received a few good job offers that also had insurance, which would ease their financial burden in a big way – their Cobra bill was now reaching almost $5k a month!! But Tara wouldn’t budge. She felt in her heart and gut there was something better out there for her, which became harder and harder to explain to her husband as their savings dwindled and she had no clear concept of what “something better” was.
One day, Tara, delirious from 6 moths of sleepless nights (Luke was still waking up every hour and a half), was driving her four kids and almost got into a car accident. She pulled over and just burst into tears. Between the financial stress, arguing with Rob about getting back to work, and Luke’s sleep issues, that was the final straw. She did not even feel safe driving her own children. That night, she prayed for help. As is typical in these types of situations, the idea that was delivered would be more than Tara could have ever dreamed of.
That very night, in an effort to calm the ever-crying Luke, Tara placed a heavy throw blanket over his body while sitting on their couch. "I noticed as soon as the weight was on him, he instantly calmed down. A lightbulb went off in my head: he needs a weighted blanket!" said Tara. She dashed to order said weighted sleep sack online but nothing wearable existed! She knew this was the answer so called her mother-in-law to sew her idea; a weighted blanket her baby could safely wear. The first night wearing the prototype Luke slept 12 hours! "We couldn’t believe how immediately his sleep was improved." They tried it again for naptime and the following night and could not believe the consistency and success. Luke is now 27 months (still sleeps in his Dreamland Baby) and has slept through the night ever since.
At this point, Tara was amazed, and her mother’s intuition told her this was a gamechanger. Rob still needed some convincing as he was hell bent on Tara getting back to work and having some income again (understandably with 4 kids, a massive Cobra bill, and a big mortgage!). Tara, on the other hand, was all-in on what is now known as Dreamland Baby.
The big question though: How was she going to fund her new venture?
Tara had a maternity leave stipend… which she mayyyyy have neglected to tell Rob about. Although, she did have to come clean once she started paying for professional samples and expensive patents, etc. With just $14k – and a lot of heart and determination to succeed – Tara bootstrapped her startup. In May 2019 Tara launched a Kickstarter that was successfully funded at nearly 200%. In September 2019 she launched her ecommerce store and has sold out every single month since.
As of July 2020, this full-time mom of 4 was able to bring her family from the brink of bankruptcy to surpassing the $1M mark and put Dreamland Baby on track to help 25,000 babies and families get a better night's sleep this year.