How sleepless mum strikes success with award-winning sleep remedy business

Northshore naturopath and mum Kirsten Taylor drew inspiration from her sleepless nights to build a range of herbal remedies, SleepDrops, that has wowed clients in a way she didn’t imagine possible, giving her an award-winning business in the process.

A sleep and stress specialist, Taylor had no need for such a product until financial stress coupled with a heavy load of responsibilities caused her to lose sleep.

“Being a single parent I needed to ask myself how I was going to support my son and myself, I was under a lot of stress and nothing was helping me go to sleep, I couldn’t turn off my mind. 

“I told myself ‘for goodness sake Kirsten go and make that (sleep) remedy. I had been a naturopath for many years and whenever I had clients with certain issues I would make remedies for them, each case would be different and would require different ingredients of special herbs and flower essences, I was providing products that no one else was making”.    

Her company SleepDrops has recently taken away the North Shore Westpac Auckland Business Award for Best Emerging Business.  The win is in recognition of the phenomenal growth SleepDrops has had since its establishment in 2012. 

The Kiwi-owned and operated company produces naturopathic sleep and stress products that provide effective relief to people who suffer from sleep deprivation and insomnia. 

Telling the body how to sleep

Kirsten attributes the company’s success to an over whelming demand from people wanting to combat insomnia and other sleep related issues. 

SleepDrops, along with the other products such as DayDrops and the Essential Sleep and Stress Nutrients powder all have carefully selected herbs, homeopathics, nutritionals and flower essences in specific doses to restore a person’s nervous system, perfect for those who are on other medications or do not wish to take dependency inducing drugs. 

The original product, 'SleepDrops for Adults' contains 13 herbal remedies that are among the most scientifically researched, studied and recognised solutions for sleep problems, she says.  The recipe also contains 11 homeopathic sleep remedies that support normal sleep patterns, with a blend of flower essences that enable your body to remember how to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Taylor recalls the impact of her product on herself, as the guinea pig. “I had never experienced SleepDrops for myself because I never needed it until that point, so when I finally tried it, I woke up nine hours later having had the best sleep of my life, I thought wow this stuff is awesome! It had turned off my mind, I thought it was fantastic!

“Then I started thinking gosh I can’t be alone, there must be people everywhere not sleeping, lying in bed at night with numerous life worries, I thought I have both an opportunity to make something for myself and an obligation to share this product with others and help them,” says Taylor. 

$120 dollar ad and hitting the right chord

From what started as a 6x2 ad in the Aucklander newspaper that Taylor describes as a ‘make it or break it’ moment, turned into what would be the boom she needed for her startup company. 

“I tried every marketing trick in the book, you name it I did it, from limited time offers, money back guarantee, a personal message from me.  I didn’t even have the $120 to pay for the ad completely, that’s how much pressure I was under. 

“Once I did that, the phone rang 16 times that day.  It was a huge ray of hope, and now it’s five products; it has its own line,” says Taylor.    

Despite that ray of hope though, Taylor says she deliberately kept the company as ‘online only’ in order to examine the market and make sure the product would thrive. 

“When you place your products in store, they take 75% of what you earn from the products, and with a new start up company, that’s a lot! You have to invest just about everything you earn right back into the company to build the brand”. 

The way to a healthstore's heart

Since it’s initial launch in 2012 the company has been thriving and expanding year by year. Taylor’s strategic move enabled the products to be picked up by 80 stores in Auckland due to its brand awareness. 

Within its first eight months SleepDrops was available at over 900 stock lists across the country, growing from a one-man band to a team of six. 

 

Sample of SleepDrops, and Kirsten Taylor with her products

Its success lead to an approach from renown health and supplement store Health 2000, “we were the first ever company Health 2000 had invited to go directly into their head office warehouse and straight into all of their stores,” says Taylor.  

Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Barnett says SleepDrops is a prime example of a business that has “identified a niche product, worked closely with its customers to enhance its offering and who fully deserves the success that has come from managing their rapid growth into larger markets”. 

Future plans for the company is to expand into different countries, especially that of the American markets as half the population suffers from either insomnia or other sleep related issues. 

“Our underlining goal from day one has been to help people get a better nights sleep, now they have that and other products that enable them to have all the nutrients they need throughout the day as well. 

“No one does SleepDrops as well as SleepDrops does, there’s nothing like it, so to expand we’re looking for a rock-star company that can really help us in the US market.  Someone who really understands the opportunity of what SleepDrops can do, they need to go for gold,” says Taylor.