Calling all parents or parents-to-be! Riff Raff & Co sleep toys are everything you need and want in a comforter. The modern and minimal designs will keep you on trend. Plus, these stunning blankies are the secret to success in trying to get your bub to sleep.
This clever sound box style comforter is designed to creating a calming atmosphere for your child. In addition, they help to create a necessary positive sleep association. Today we chat to Emma Kruger, Founder and Chief of Sleepy Ops to find out more!
Tell us about Riff Raff & Co Sleep Toys?
‘Riff Raff & Co Sleep Toys are a sleep aid. The are designed to comfort and support little ones in falling asleep and resettling from birth all the way up to kinder. They take on the appearance of ‘blankie’ style comforter but a bit larger. The sleep toys contain a sound box in their head. It is triggered for play by pressing the ears. You can remove this for washing. You can choose between white noise or our ‘sleepy lullaby’ which has been specially designed by us. It is very effective for creating that necessary positive sleep association. In addition, the last but not least feature is the safety tether/dummy strap. Once little ones are old enough to have their toy freely in their bed with them – put your dummy on the tether and no more lost dummies!’
Who is the team behind Riff Raff & Co? Can you tell us a little bit about each area of the business and who is behind it?
- ‘Emma – (me!) Founder and Chief of Sleepy Ops. My time is now mainly dedicated to our strategic plan, marketing, sales, product development and improvement.
- Carmz – our Social Media Maven running our Facebook and Instagram pages as well as lead on Customer Service.
- Skye & Erika – our key Customer Service gurus, always on the look out to assist our customers both pre and post-purchase.
- Kianna, Chelsea & Marg – the crew running the show at our Brunswick factory – assembly, wrapping, quality, personalisation and distribution.
One interesting thing about our team is that is we almost all have young children (or grandchildren in Margs case!). We all remember all too well how hard those few first years are and it helps understand and relate to our customers.
After the initial startup, what were the biggest challenges you faced as a business owner?
‘Initial Sales. Without a doubt! In hindsight, it is quite interesting to reflect and see how much time and energy goes into pre-launch details. For instance, you can spend a year just doing the business plan, the logo, the name etc. But, after you launch really nothing prepares you for how difficult and trying it can be to stay focussed and positive while trying to get that first 50-100 sales when you have a new-to-market product.
Can you tell us what the most rewarding part of owning your own business is?
‘The most rewarding part of creating Riff Raff is when I take a moment and appreciate that something I created has become such a special part of a babies and families life. Families send us pictures of their little one’s clutching their Riff Raffs for their first holiday, wedding days, christenings, first day of care. Such special times for families and we get to feel that we are part of it. However, It is something that I was not expecting and when we get together as a team we like to take the time and reflect on this – it has the most profound effect on our whole team.
Secondly, I think the most rewarding part of owning my own business is the way I can manipulate my working hours around the needs of my family. This means I can still be there for them when they need me. Most importantly, we try and extend this flexibility to all of our team members. We never want to be a company where someone misses their child’s sport day because they ‘had to work’.’
Are there any exciting plans for Riff Raff & Co on the horizon that we should be keeping eyes out for?
‘We are very excited to confirm that we will be introducing a new character (or two?) to the Riff Raff gang in the second half of the year. Launching the matching books last year was an intense and exciting thing to do. It has been received wonderfully! So, while we are not ruling out expanding our product line, our focus will always be on the toys.’
SOME QUESTIONS FROM OUR INSTA FOLLOWERS
What is the inspiration behind your brand and the comforters you design?
‘My inspiration for our sleep toys came from the fact that I could not find what I needed when my two little ones were babes. I needed something that I could wash, that was snuggly and would act as a comforter. I needed a sleep aid and something I could attach Evie’s dummy to so she would not lose it in the middle of the night…. My maternity leave was coming to an end and so in a moment of madness I decided if I couldn’t find it – I would design it!’
When should you use the white noise versus the lullaby?
‘It really is personal preference. For instance, we do find a lot of people use the white noise from birth to 4-6 months and then change to the lullaby. Personally, I recommend the lullaby from birth. Playing it for every calm nap and sleep, be it independent or assisted (with feeding, patting or rocking). The key really is to build up good sleep baby vibes and at the start it doesn’t matter how you get them! Once the positive association is established then you can calmly start to reduce your undesired assistance and encourage independent settling.’
How have you overcome any production challenges?
‘As a small and growing business one of our biggest challenges has always been finding the balance between production lead times, stock on hand and sales. At times this has lead to some small ‘sell out’ periods but we are getting better at our sales predictions as time goes on!’
How often do you need to change the batteries?
‘Battery use is a great question! As with all battery operated appliances it really does depend on the amount of use. For a newborn, with the toy being triggered every nap and several times post-feed at night you would expect to need to change the batteries every 10 days which is around 4+hours a day. This heavy use does decline naturally as they start to drop naps. Older toddlers and kids with only one or two triggers a day, you literally go months without changing!’