Dropping off to a good night's sleep
SleepDrops owner and founder Kirsten Taylor believes if everybody simply followed advice on her website about good sleep hygiene, she would go out of business.
Fortunately for her, the pace of modern life isn’t always conductive to following good sleep practices and, for many, it is easier to buy Ms Taylor’s SleepDrops and supercharging the sleep they do get, than changing their lives.
For other people, she says the drops can help hit sleeping problems on the head, before they develop into long-term bad sleeping patterns. Others use it to help with sleep when nerves prior to a one-off big event, like a wedding or work presentation, are keeping them awake.
Fortunately for customers, SleepDrops seem to really work.
If they didn’t, Ms Taylor says, they wouldn’t be stocked in almost all New Zealand pharmacies and at Watsons and Guardian pharmacies in Singapore. She also wouldn’t have sold over $1 million worth of wholesale product in New Zealand last year and have 70,000-plus customers each year.
The genesis of the company was a mix of Ms Taylor coming across sleep issues again and again in her naturopath business, and sheer financial desperation.
While treating the whole gamut of health issues in her role a naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist in 2003, she noticed while many of her patients also had sleep issues, none of them were seeking sleep support.
“Thirteen years ago on one was talking about sleep, now everyone is…These people literally didn’t realise the impact of sleep on their health,” she says.
However, Ms Taylor quickly saw if she sorted out her patient’s sleep problems, all her other treatments worked much faster and she began mixing individual sleep formulas for each patient.
After seven years of tinkering, she developed a remedy that worked for everyone.
The drops, sleep hygiene advice and Essential Sleep and Stress Nutrients with Tart Cherry, work because they act on most of the factors preventing sleep, with the drops combining herbs, flower essences and homeopathy to provide physical, nutritional, emotional and mental support, she says.
The problem was, Ms Taylor was ordering in lots of different powdered products from suppliers, and her clients would leave with a big basket of supplies and a big bill, but it was the manufactures who were making all the money.
When she took over the manufacturing, prices went down from over $200 to about $70.
Desperate and broke
If wanting to change people’s lives by bestowing sleep was the trigger for concocting SleepDrops, then Ms Taylor’s motivation for launching the business in 2009 was being desperate and broke, and needing to find a way of supporting herself and young son during the world financial crisis.
It was lean times on a benefit and she didn’t have any spare cash to hire a marketing manager or to throw away on dud campaigns.
She simply dug out her old notes from a Chamber of Commerce course and came up with a mostly radio-based campaign- so compelling that people would walk into stores asking for her product and the pharmacies would want to stock them.
Ms Taylor used every technique from her course to test each step of the campaign. Forcing every customer on her website to fill in a brief survey saying where they heard about SleepDrops gave her real negotiating tools when dealing with radio station, she says.
Despite fantastic support from pharmacies, being the underdog going up against big industry players has not been easy. She’s faced difficulties, including people she formerly worked with copying and undercutting her products.
This year Ms Taylor is trying to move into the US market, starting with an Amazon campaign. She also hopes to run some watertight clinical trials in either America or China.
She also wants to push her Daytime Revive stress-support product although it is not designed to help with sleep.
Her advice to anyone wanting start their own product line is: don’t just create something to fill a gap on the shelf; make something really good that will help people.