We spoke to Sinead and Adam Murphy about how they launched their sleep brand, Shnuggle
The Shnuggle ideas started soon after we became parents. I can vividly remember my husband Adam and I bringing our little girl Rose home from the hospital. Not only were we trying to figure out how to be parents for the first time, but we were also caring for a very sick little baby.
As we started to use various baby products, like lots of parents, we began having ideas about how to make them better. At this stage we were purely focused on looking after Rose with so many hospital appointments…but the ideas were brewing in the background and the first Shnuggle product, the Classic Moses, launched about a year after Rose was born.
Adam and I were working full time and began assembling our Moses baskets and packing orders in our garage when the kids had gone to bed. We even had Granny helping when she could. When I look back at those early days, I think we must have been mad. We had two children under two and a small business to grow, as well as our day jobs. Not knowing what care and support Rose might need in the future changed our outlook on our future. We wanted to create our own business which could give us flexibility to work around Rose while also trying to design products that would make parenting easier.
Adam explains what particularly frustrated him in nursery stores
Our first product idea was for a hypo allergenic Moses basket. Our little girl had a small dose of chemotherapy and her immune system was very weak. Our traditional basket couldn’t be cleaned easily, it creaked and rustled whenever she moved around, and the hood would never stay up. We tried to find a more up-to-date Moses basket but they didn’t exist. So, the Shnuggle Moses Basket idea was born; a super strong, easy to clean, large Moses basket with a hood that actually stayed put. My background in design and manufacturing meant we could create the designs on computer and start talking to factories to have them made.
Sinead talks about what most excites her about her work
There have been so many exciting moments, it’s really hard to pick just one but the very first review we received from a really happy Mum who loved our Moses basket was amazing and gave us the confidence to carry on. The first time we saw our Shnuggle baths in a John Lewis store was exciting and of course we had to take selfies to share with family.
Being able to grow the business and expand the team has also made us very proud. It is a huge responsibility to employ others and we’ve been very lucky to find dedicated people who are as passionate about Shnuggle as we are. Every time we get a message or a photo from a parent who said their baby loves their Shnuggle product we feel proud. I don’t think that feeling will ever get old!
How do Sinead and Adam combine work and family life?
Balancing family life and work is a constant juggle. Mummy guilt is never far away. We still try to travel separately as much as possible but if both of us need to, then we keep our visits as short as we can. Now that all of the kids (aged 11, nine and four) are in school and we have a bigger team at Shnuggle, I feel as though we have more of a balance than we did in the early days. We’re lucky to be able to drop them off and pick them up every day from school and getting time off for nativity plays and concerts isn’t too tricky…the bosses are pretty reasonable!
The couple shares their top tip for ensuring working parents get the best of both worlds
Accept help, delegate where possible and remember to create the balance. It’s all too easy when running your own business to be ‘constantly working’ but creating down time to spend with family with any work distractions is important.
What does the future look like for Shnuggle?
We now have a range of over twenty-five products in sleep time, bath time and changing and we’ve just launched the Shnuggle Air – our most exciting product yet.
“We are still full of ideas for new and innovative designs, Sinead concludes. As long as we continue to keep safety at our core and design products that will make life easier, hopefully we’ll continue being a brand that is loved for all the right reasons.”