How a baby led to SnoozeShade million-pound business, selling on Amazon

Category: Data & Insights
How a baby led to a million-pound business, selling on Amazon

Today we speak to Cara Sayer and discover how SnoozeShade, her best-selling range of baby sleep and sunshades, turned into a million-pound business, and how it’s leveraged Amazon to expand overseas.

Who are you and what is the background of your business?

I’m Cara Sayer, the Chief Sleep Officer (or CEO) of SnoozeShade, a baby brand specialising in a range of blackout sunshades for prams, car seats, and more so babies can sleep without being disturbed by the sun.

My shades are the safest on the market because they are designed to meet the same specifications as a toy for newborns, which is not the norm! I wanted to reduce as many risks as possible so every product is safety tested, from the fabric we use down to the zippers.

How did your business initially get started?

I faced a challenging six months in a wheelchair following a difficult pregnancy. I gave birth to my daughter, Holly, in October 2007 and around February 2008, I began regaining my mobility. I took Holly for daily walks in her pram as part of my rehabilitation. When she was tiny, a walk to the shops in her buggy was easy as she slept deeply and often. As she got older and became more alert, it became harder for her to switch off and she’d fight her nap when we were out. Like many parents, I made makeshift solutions by hanging blankets, coats and muslins to the pram’s hood to hide the distracting world away from her.

I grew tired of these makeshift efforts as they often fell onto the road or became a distraction as my daughter could see through them. I needed something better. I used blackout blinds in Holly’s nursery which helped her relax and get ready for sleep even on a sunny day and I realised what I needed was a blackout blind for her pram.

I’d had the idea for a while but didn’t do anything about it at first. I remember sitting with a group of friends and I was trying to put a blanket over my pram to get my daughter to go to sleep. I just remember thinking that was the final straw. My friends all encouraged me to take matters into my own hands and create one myself, and from there SnoozeShade was born in 2010.

What is the current size or scale of your business today?

Initially, it started as a hobby but I didn’t realise how busy I’d get as demand for my product grew. In 2015, I decided to make the transition to Amazon as selling to stores in a wholesale capacity meant my margins were too small. Now, Amazon accounts for almost 80% of sales and SnoozeShade has a turnover of £1.6 million. We have also expanded globally, exporting to countries like Australia, Canada, and the U.S.

In what ways has Amazon played a role in helping your business grow?

Selling on Amazon has massively impacted our business growth and it’s opened up doors when it comes to exporting overseas. We now help parents worldwide as Amazon has made it easy for us to test the waters in different markets. We also use Fulfilment by Amazon which has been very beneficial as it takes care of packaging and processing, resulting in speedier deliveries for our customers.

If you’re a small business, Amazon is a great place to get your products and your brand out there. I encourage brands to be on Amazon because if you’re not on there, you’re missing out. It’s as simple as that.

What is your advice to other business owners?

You’ve got to look at your numbers. Always ensure that you have A) a product that people actually want and B) that it will generate revenue. Many people make the mistake of not examining their numbers in enough detail and not focusing on whether other people need the product. I’m fortunate as people do want and need my products, but it’s always something that every business owner must consider.

What do you envision for the future of your business?

We hope to continue expanding and increasing our presence in different markets like Japan and the UAE. We are keen to expand our product range and will continue to seek feedback from customers to ensure we know where we can improve while remaining customer-centric.  

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