Nightmares can be scary at all ages, but when Sarina Galu’s son, Tucker, at age 3, woke up for the fourth night in a row from bad dreams, she needed a solution and her son was looking for security. His blankie had long since disintegrated and was reduced to a few scraps of fabric kept in a Ziplock bag. Doing some research on what might help Tucker sleep through the night, Sarina decided to sew him a special sleep pillow and then took it one step further.
She wanted to incorporate a journal into her son’s bedtime routine. So she fashioned the pillow with a small pocket to hold a nighttime dream journal. Talking with Tucker about what he wanted to dream about, instead of the scary things that kept waking him up, she wrote his thoughts in the small paper book. Through his newly named, dream keeper journal, he was able to cleanse his mind of the negative scenarios that might show up later. With his thoughts tucked into the pillow, Sarina tucked him in with the motto, “Positive thoughts, positive dreams.”
Suddenly, her son’s nightmares were replaced with sweet dreams, and he woke up refreshed and energetic. In Sarina’s mind, this process she had created helped steer her child’s nighttime thoughts in the right direction. Tucker found assurance by sleeping with the pillow and his thoughts safely written down. And the pocket on the pillow became a place, for not only his dream keeper journal but also for things like birthday lists, prayers, letters to Santa and the Tooth Fairy.
Sharing her story with her neighbors, Deborah and John DeAcutis, they were intrigued by the pillow and their own kids0 reaction to it. Playing off of Tucker’s name, the journal being tucked in to the pillow, and being tucked into bed at night, the name TuckaDream was a perfect fit. Sarina created a few more pillows for friends and family and the response was overwhelming, this was a great idea, something Sarina could sell.
Her neighbors offered to support Sarina build a cottage venture. John happened to be in the business of fabricating items like pillows for large promotions and he was in a position to help Sarina produce her new product. Choosing designs and fabrics the two moms, became the creative team, and Sarina’s husband ran the numbers and drafted contracts. With Sarina at the helm, the business went from the idea in April of this year, to producing 100 pillows on her first production run in August. The Galus and DeAcutis’ say, “The partnership is based on a friendship – years in the making – between two sets of neighbors raising young children, it was a natural fit.”
Sarina created a website herself and began to market the TuckaDream pillow through emails to friends and at small fairs in the area. The Children’s Hospital in New York even ordered 20 pillows to use with their patients looking for positive dreams for healthy outcomes. “It makes me happy to see that my idea to help my son, is helping others,” says Sarina. As TuckaDream became a part of the bedtime routine for more children and parents, she saw how others were using the pillow. The dream keeper journal became not only about sleeping dreams, but also waking dreams where the journal can be used to write down reminders and goals for the next day or even the future. It’s a great way to teach children the virtues of goal setting.
“It was my family and friends who motivated me to share my creation to help other kids who were facing the same issues that Tucker had been dealing with. I never thought I’d it would turn into a business.” Wanting her venture to grow organically, and almost making a profit after just 6 months, Sarina is happy selling the product in specialty toy stores, hospitals, hotel gift shops, and at local fairs for now.
With two boys ages 6 and 4, Sarina says, “The pillow helps our family end the day on a positive note and I hope it will help other families to have thoughtful bedtime discussions about what their children want to dream about, wish for, or be when they grow up,” she says. Perhaps, we as parents should end our day by writing in our own journals – we might sleep better too.
Contact: www.tuckadream.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
When you create something others find useful, take it to market.